Before selling his company, marketing automation platform Pardot, for roughly $95 million in 2012, David Cummings says he used to play a game he called Real Estate Roulette. “I would try to find the coolest sublease possible that had the shortest lease term.” Traditional commercial leases last five to seven years, and startups’ needs can change drastically during that much time, leading to disruptive moves. Cummings’s experience, coupled with his desire to kickstart a tech community, led him to found Atlanta Tech Village.
At ATV, companies have access to advisers, month-to-month scalable office leasing, special events, educational seminars, and, most importantly, community. “When I first moved to Atlanta in 2002, I had a really hard time finding other tech entrepreneurs to connect with,” says Cummings. “A lot of entrepreneurship is driven by serendipitous interaction with people who are good with one thing helping other people that are good at something else.”
As one of Atlanta’s early tech leaders, he consistently shares his wisdom on social media, in his blog, through interviews, and via personal appearances throughout the ever-growing community he helped launch. He’s invested in various local startups, launching Atlanta Ventures in 2012 to carry on investment in the industry. Recently, Cummings committed $20 million to Atlanta Ventures’ Fund II, which will invest in early-stage software as a service (or subscription model) for companies throughout the Southeast. “We need more big-time success stories,” says Cummings. “That’s the next phase for Atlanta.”
This article originally appeared in our November 2018 issue.