I previously shared my journey into venture capital. On that journey, I had an unexpected insight. As I was networking with venture capitalists on the coasts, I noticed a strong interest in Atlanta. Not just startups in Atlanta, but the city. I was peppered with questions about housing prices, social events, sports, schools, and the diversity of neighborhoods. I asked about their cities, too. Most of the people I chatted with were in coastal cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York.
When I described Atlanta and the quality of life here, many people said something like “man, I wish.” I was surprised. Many of them (not all) didn’t necessarily see their current coastal city as their long-term home. The reasons varied, but the pattern was clear. My impression was that they’re where they are because these coastal cities provide the best professional opportunities in venture capital. Not because they feel like home.
Outlander Labs focuses on investing in founders who operate in the Southeast. We view the Southeast as a region with amazing talent and great founders. And something else, too: home. It’s a place where founders can have amazing entrepreneurial success and also the quality of life they want. It’s a place they see themselves being in for the long haul.
The Southeast has some great venture capitalists, but not nearly enough of them (as compared to the coasts). I hope that Outlander and other firms can lead by example and change this. Through our performance and our diverse team, I hope we can show that the Southeast offers not only amazing professional opportunities for all in venture capital, but also a place to call home!