January 29, 2020

“So, what happens when a company outgrows the Village?” This may be one of the most frequently asked questions on a Village tour and the answer is definitely the most exciting – graduation!

Graduation is the ultimate achievement as a Villager. There comes a point when a startup begins to outgrow our space and isn’t as reliant on our resources. When this time comes for a Village company,  we ask them to spread their wings and fly by throwing them a big party...and kicking them out!

Last week, we had the pleasure of celebrating Engaged Media as they leave us to continue their journey.  Engaged Media Founder, Hoss Sooudi, joined the Village in January of 2016. In the three years they were in Atlanta Tech Village, they grew to a team of 20+, got on the monument sign, and were acquired TWICE, most recently by WebMD.

Graduations are bittersweet celebrations for the Village team. We truly feel a part of each startups’ story, as we exist for them to succeed.  When startups graduate, they have achieved ultimate success at the Village and we have served our purpose! Our graduates tend to stay local, so the connection is not lost. 

Village VP, Karen Houghton, hits the nail on the head when talking about EngagedMedia and their Founder, Hoss Soudi. “Hoss is a flashy guy. He loves cars and if you’ve ever seen the two matching Bentley’s in our deck? Those are his! So, talk about dude goals. He’s smart, bold, and not the most PC guy. My favorite Hoss moment was when they were starting to scale and needed more space quickly for their growing team. The office they wanted was taken. Hoss comes to our office and demands…’Tell those little f**ers to move so we can have their space!’ Our response: “Hoss, you can’t call other members little f**ers. 🤦🏼‍♀️” But when you look behind the language and get to know him, it is easy to see that Hoss has a huge heart for his team, his people, and his family. He is good people and we are proud to know him and thankful to be a small part of the EngagedMedia story.”

And Hoss’ response could not have been more on brand for the Hoss we have come to know and love, “To correct you once more, Atlanta Tech Village has not been a small part of our journey, it’s been a BIG part. We started in my basement and worked from my living room table before we moved to Atlanta Tech Village. It’s been a hard three years, but ATV is so important to us and community here.  Tthe place that you guys have created is special. After we got acquired by Meerk about 18 months ago, we stayed here. And that’s because of what the team here does. Not just to make this a great place with parties and free beer and sh** but also because of how they help startups, founders, and our teams get through every day. How they create a community, which is so much more than a building & free sh**, it is beyond what most people think about when they think about where they are going to start their business. I have spent more time here than with our families at home. To us, this is home not an office. ”

You can watch their full speeches here. 

So, we raised a glass last Friday to Hoss and the EngagedMedia team for being great members of the Village family and for chasing your biggest dreams!  May you always work hard and play hard, may you remember to pay it forward and always be kind. We are behind you 100% and you will always be part of this family.

January 29, 2020
Hilton Thompson