David Cummings, the Founder of Atlanta Tech Village, also known as the Village, recently announced his plan to start a $1 million fund specifically for Tech student startups. This fund, otherwise known as the Atlanta Student Fund, allows Tech student startups to not only receive memberships and desks at the Village, but to also receive investments of $5,000 to $10,000.
“We are willing to give each individual startup between $5,000 and $10,000. We chose this amount because the idea is to give them enough to do some marketing and get a little bit of traction. Once they show us they can make it, they can come back for more,” said Johnson Cook, Managing Director of the Village.
The Atlanta Student Fund was geared towards Tech student startups because of Tech’s emphasis on innovative technology.
“First of all, the startups that we’ve already invested in come from Georgia Tech. So we want to go upstream and get to them sooner. We really like technology and want companies to be tech-focused,” Cook said.
The Atlanta Student Fund is geared towards Tech students already interested in building startups.
“The main goal of the Atlanta Student Fund is not to encourage people that aren’t planning on starting a company already. We want the people who are already thinking of starting a company while in school to have a better chance of starting a company,” Cook said.
Although the Atlanta Student Fund has no formal connections to Tech’s on-campus startup resources, such as Venture Lab or Startup Competition, Tech students are still encouraged to use the resources.
“There are no formal agreements with Tech’s on-campus resources other than we will try to make sure that any student startup understands that they have those resources available. Ultimately, we want the best for the companies and we want them to know about the resources,” Cook said.
By taking advantage of Tech’s on-campus resources and the Atlanta Student Fund, students can easily get involved with startups.
“I see the Atlanta Student Fund greatly helping those Tech students who are looking into creating a startup. The fund along with Tech’s vast on-campus startup resources make student startups that much more achievable and that fact has definitely influenced my decision to get more involved in potential startups,” said Eric Xu, a first-year CE major.
Over time, the fund may expand to other metro Atlanta schools.
“We will probably expand the fund to other metro Atlanta schools like Emory, Georgia State University and Kennesaw State University because we are all about the metro Atlanta area,” Cook said.
Before beginning a new startup, Cook recommends that students work with existing startups to gain experience.
“If you are really thinking about startups, the best thing is to join a startup and work as an intern. Get some mentors and see how it operates before you try to do it yourself,” Cook said.
The Village also hosts lunch chow-downs where members can meet with one another to discuss startups and upcoming projects.
“Every Friday, there is a startup lunch chow-down which is $10 for non-villagers and free for all villagers. Also Friday, Nov. 8, there is a student day lunch chow-down where students can come meet startup workers for free,” Cook said.