The Atlanta Tech Village is a startup incubator in the bustling business center of Buckhead’s Lenox neighborhood. Created and founded by entrepreneur David Cummings, this electric 103,000 sq ft office community is home to over 170 startups and entrepreneurs (affectionately referred to as “Villagers”). Cummings co-founded Pardot in 2007, and in 2012 sold the company for $120 million. That same year, he purchased the tech village for $12.5 million and invested over $16 million in renovations. Named one of the 100 Most Influential Atlantans by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and dubbed one of the 55 Most Powerful Atlantans by Atlanta Magazine, Cummings proves to be a huge asset to Buckhead’s economy.
By continually investing in startups and, through the tech village, nurturing the entrepreneurial success of Buckhead, Cummings predicted to Neighbor Newspapers that,
“Over the next 10 years, the village will create over 10,000 high-paying jobs in metro Atlanta by increasing the number of entrepreneurs here.”
An entrepreneur himself, Cummings has always had an insider understanding of what other individuals on similar business paths need to succeed. Cummings’ idea for the tech village was inspired by the very thing he was lacking while starting his first business, an environment that would facilitate and nurture the mindset of a startup company. As he told Creative Loafing Atlanta, “When I was building Pardot, I wanted to be around other startups and entrepreneurs. I couldn’t find them, let alone work in the same building with them.”Cummings fulfilled that need with the Atlanta Tech Village, now the Southeast’s largest technology entrepreneur center. The community of over 170 startups consistently operates at 100% occupancy and maintains around 20-30 hopeful villagers on a waiting list. This popularity is attributed to Cummings ensuring that the village facilitates a positive entrepreneurial environment, with programs designed to grow the startups that fill the floors and enrich the sense of community among villagers. These programs and events encourage introductions to potential employees, partners, and customers while villagers enjoy group activities like a yoga club, running groups, or enjoying a coffee in the lobby’s hit cafe, Octane. Cummings explained that his goal is to help more startups reach $1 million in revenue. Once a new business makes it to this benchmark, it is easier for the company to grow organically from there. As Cummings told Creative Loafing, “The best thing we can do is to create more successful startups. The more successful businesses we have, the more jobs created, the more buildings occupied, the more exits created that generate wealth. I think a focus on building real businesses is what we need right now.”
An open environment, entrepreneurs at the Tech Village come and go, filtering through the common area with beer on tap to the lobby where a local favorite coffee bar, Octane, serves their go-juice.
And why Buckhead? According to Cummings, it fit the bill perfectly for his “scrappy startup,” which he defines as, “one that makes every dollar reach as far as possible and is minimalistic and efficient with its funds.” As the financial district of Atlanta, Buckhead proves to be extremely beneficial when startups are looking for venture capitalists and funding. The Atlanta Tech Village is strategically located on the corner of Lenox and Piedmont because of easy access to the highway and public transportation along with walkability for easy access to food and shopping.
Cummings is confident that over the years, Buckhead will continue to grow with an entrepreneurial force propelling it forward. As Cummings told the Atlanta Business Chronicle, “the continued emphasis on entrepreneurship, especially the idea that the majority of new jobs come from companies that are less than ten years old, will continue to shape Buckhead and Atlanta over the next year. Look for new entrepreneurship initiatives, new entrepreneurial office space, and more success stories from cultivating our own home-grown companies.” We will keep an eye out for more jobs and more inspired entrepreneurs as a result of the efforts put forth by Cummings and the Atlanta Tech Village team.