The Boulder Thesis and the Village

January 20, 2016

At the Village, we spent a lot of time thinking about Brad Feld's blueprint for startup communities called The Boulder Thesis when we started in 2013. You could sum it up in three words: "more is better." As we renovated our 103,000 square foot building, just as much time was spent on the intention and culture of our community around these ideas as the physical build out.  In fact, we were even lucky enough to have a meet up with Brad through a video chat to learn more.Here are the core tenants of The Boulder Thesis:

Entrepreneurs must lead the startup community: the public sector and universities and people like you and me are important to the ecosystem, but the entrepreneurs must be the leaders.

David Cummings is a serial entrepreneur in Atlanta who founded the Village as a way to give back to the startup community that was home to his success. His large exit from Pardot was used to buy a building that would bring together and house early stage startups. We are led by an entrepreneur who builds companies and desires to give back. His vision, his leadership, and his personal investment is what helps make us great.

The leaders must have a long-term commitment: a successful startup community is filled with people who are in it for the long haul to weather the ups and downs.

You don't personally invest $30M into Atlanta Tech Village if you aren't in it for the long haul. The Village team keeps our long term goals and strategies in mind and works to bring in and retain some of Atlanta's best entrepreneurs. We are committed, and the Village is here to stay. When startups have success that equals our success. We are a family, and we are entrepreneurs biggest fans.

The startup community must be inclusive of anyone who wants to participate in it: Again, more is better. More people, more ideas, more talent; everyone wins. Another way we say it is "more at bats = more wins."

While we are a private, members only community of 900+ people - we are not a closed community. Take meetings in our coffee shop, rent a conference room, and attend one of our many events. In 2015, we hosted 433 events. 90% of them were free and open to the public. Join us for workshops, lunch and learns, networking, and pitch events. If it is on our events calendar, please consider yourself personally invited. More is better.

The startup community must have continual activities that engage the entire entrepreneurial stack: this one is less about awards dinners or cocktail parties and more about hackathons and startup weekends.

This is important. In the noise of all the great events there are, we must make sure we are creating value. The Village hosted four weekend long hackathons this year, and the more events we can host that create forward movement and strong take aways, the better.Atlanta is becoming a great startup city, most notably with successful entrepreneurs creating funds to invest in location companies or buying buildings to house early stage startups. The public sector voices support of those projects and there is a growing desire from F500 companies to get involved and leverage the talents of the startup community. There's an event to pitch your business at at least once a month, and an overall attitude of "more is better." The Boulder Thesis. It is happening in Atlanta.

January 20, 2016
Karen Houghton