Today or tomorrow, the Georgia House Rules Committee will decide the fate of SB80, a bill that will open-up state pension funds to more investment opportunities. Passing this bill would help fund technology start-ups in Georgia. Lemme tell you, there’s nothing sadder than the CEO of a technology start-up in Georgia. From the Academic VC:
Georgia is a fabulous place to call home, but trying to grow high-tech businesses in the Deep South has a few challenges that you just don’t encounter elsewhere in the country. One is the lack of local venture capital, which has been discussed ad nauseum elsewhere on the Web.
What did Deep Throat say? “Follow the money.” Why don’t we have a lot of venture investors locally? Several reasons, but one is that we don’t have a lot of institutions locally who invest in venture funds.
Why don’t local institutions invest in venture capital funds? Well, for some of the very biggest, it’s illegal. Not “against their policy.” Not “doesn’t meet their current investment objectives.” Not “something they’ve tried and didn’t like.” Illegal. Requiring a change to state law.
Full blog post here. Not only is it illegal to fund technology, it’s virtually impossible to get media attention on anything related to technology in Georgia. I’ve heard the lament time and time again, from CEOs to VCs to developers.
Heck, the Atlanta Business Chronicle doesn’t even bother to fund a Technology reporter! Scott Burkett, serial entrepreneur and CEO of PlayMotion has a few choice words on that matter:
Atlanta is the most “wired” city in the world, according to Forbes Magazine (for the second year in a row). Money Magazine was quoted as saying that Atlanta has “a bustling community of Internet-related start-ups.” So why then does the Atlanta Business Chronicle forego technology coverage in order to continue to fill my driveway with piles of dead trees containing in-depth coverage of the real estate market (which we all know is tanking)?
Come on guys … this is embarrassing. There is a whole new wave of technology players in Atlanta, and you are missing the boat. Then again, since most of us get our news online these days, maybe it doesn’t even really matter.
Burkett’s full blog post is here. I suppose if we just ignore technology and the future it will just, like, go away. Since we can barely graduate our students in this state anyway, technological innovation would just be way too much for our pea-brains to handle.
BONUS FEATURE: the teachers’ union opposes it!