Atlanta Tech Village has a coveted group of Advisors and Mentors available to Village startup Founders. They are a highly vetted community of people who have a wealth of experience, insight, and a pay it forward mentality. We strongly believe that every Founder should have at least one Mentor.
offering advice and support for your entrepreneurial journey
About: Dave’s been locked into startups since the earliest days of the consumer internet. Going back to the early 90s, he was helping businesses spend their newly minted VC raises on go-to-market programs, product positioning, customer acquisition and buying millions of dollars of servers (AWS who?). He’s spent the last 20+ years in almost perfectly equal segments of Top 5 digital agencies, Fortune 100 companies, fast-growth software companies and startups. In 2015, Dave wrote the first-ever book on Behavioral Marketing for Wiley & Sons. Today, he’s a digital marketing evangelist for IBM and travels the world speaking, mentoring, and capturing product requirements from world-class marketers. He actually flies more than 150,000 miles a year. Dave’s a man with style, owning a blue patent leather Steve Madden wingtips. To go with his cool vibe, his music tastes run from Pavarotti to Kendrick Lamar to Crowded House, so don’t forget to get two new music recommendations during your first meeting.
Company: Endeavor Atlanta
About: Aaron is the founding Managing Director of Endeavor Atlanta, part of the global Endeavor network that supports high impact entrepreneurs in 28 countries. He’s worn many hats in his career including company founder, early stage investor, GM, innovator, product manager, and consultant. His favorite career achievement was launching an award winning software module Dayforce ConnectedPay, while turning around a failing business unit at Ceridian. Their team created a modern user experience in an antiquated industry, global payroll, and helped customers pay their employees in over 60 countries. Above all, he enjoys playing with his three children when he’s not working. He loves cooking and at one point considered going back to culinary school. He has a risk-taking streak (beyond starting companies) as he’s been hang-gliding in Brazil (off of a mountain) and skydiving in West Georgia.
Company: Stoney River Capital
About: Alan is an experienced mentor and executive who is currently on faculty at Georgia State (Go, Panthers!). Alan’s experience has ranged from supporting a startup health IT company that expanded from a trailer in Peoria, Illinois to an eventual sale of $13.8B to McKesson in 1998, to leading a team that grew from a 2,000 square foot building with 2 programs to a 20,000 square foot building with over 8 programs. Being the world traveler he is, Alan also worked at the Vatican in Rome for 4 years to leverage the internet in the Roman Catholic Church. He honorably served our country in the Army during the Vietnam era, and he loves to volunteer with different Vet organizations. Although he’s seen the world and accomplished much, the pride and joy of his life are right at home with his wife of 47 years as well as their 2 children and 3 grandchildren, some of whom live right next door to him in Roswell.
Mentor Lead and Advocate
About: Anand enjoys empowering and enabling marketing and growth leaders. He has over 15 years of experience working with MarTech startups to growth-driven groups at F500 companies in marketing & sales technology, strategy, operations, talent, and innovation. His expertise extends into data management, decision support and intelligent systems across the marketing, finance, government and energy industries.
Accounting and Finance
About: Ben is the the accounting wizard who claims to have been a tax accountant in a prior life. He loves a solidly built spreadsheet – especially one helping with financial modeling and forecasting. Ben has experience working on Seed through Series A funding deals on both sides of the table. When he doesn’t have his nose in the books, he’s cheering on the Georgia Dawgs in a calm, non-obnoxious way (self-proclaimed). He’s a strong believer in “the early bird gets the worm,” and he loves to try new restaurants and eat great food.
SEO and Pay Per Click
Company: Relevance Advisors
About: Benjamin Rudolph is the President and CEO of Relevance Advisors, an interactive advertising agency specializing in search engine marketing and search engine optimization. Being the passionate SEO man that he is, he started the Atlanta Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) Chapter. Benjamin also brought his world class knowledge of SEO to the younger generation by teaching a Senior Seminar at Emory University called The Search Marketing Revolution. Fun fact: As a now lover of the Atlanta marketing scene, he actually started his career at Showtime Networks in New York in a Sales role. Even more fun fact: While in New York, he appeared as an extra in an episode of Seinfeld. When Benjamin’s not saving the world through SEO, he’s saving the world as the President of the Junior Board of the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. A man of many talents and passions, he even wrote for a national sports collectibles magazine in high school and college. Pretty great guy to know, am I right?
Company: Assurant Solutions
About: Carey has 20 years of experience in human resources, leadership and executive development, and communication with a master’s degree in executive coaching. Carey is passionate about helping others be their best through development, coaching, and mentoring. She’s equally passionate about staying relevant, personally and professionally, through curiosity and learning. An avid football fan, her Wisconsin roots show as she cheers on her favorite teams – the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin Badgers. Her Northern ties continue to show as her daughter, Kendall, is transitioning to live and work in New York City, but don’t worry – Carey’s proud to have made her way down South, living in Atlanta for the past 5 years. 🙂
Carl R. Johnston
Legal Needs of Start-Ups
Company: FisherBroyles LLP
About: Carl’s extensive experience includes mergers and acquisitions work with law firms in Washington, DC, two in-house General Counsel positions with large Japanese-owned companies, and before law school he worked as a CPA (HOLY COW!). He has provided legal services to start-ups since 1999 when he starting his own practice, and since 2009 he has been a partner with FisherBroyles, the country’s largest and oldest cloud-based law firm…now that’s impressive! With his range of experience that includes in-house work and accounting expertise, he is that rare lawyer who is also practical and understands the underlying businesses of his clients. So whether you need help with customer agreements, raising equity funds, or just about any other legal need, Carl is your man. When he’s not gettin’ stuff done at work, Carl loves to watch basketball – as a native of San Antonio, he is a rabid Spurs fan. He’s a proud father of “a smart, funny, good looking son” (okay, he’s a little biased) majoring in CS at Georgia Tech, and he also loves to travel.
PR and Digital Marketing
About: Brenda is a PR and marketing professional with 13+ years experience. She supports the technology, green and corporate practices for Trevelino/Keller, an Atlanta-based digital public relations and marketing firm. In her role, Brenda works with a wide range of emerging and established companies. Through Trevelino/Keller, she has an active presence in the startup ecosystem throughout Atlanta, working with Atlanta Tech Village, Atlanta Technology Angels, among other organizations in the ecosystem.
About: For over 20 years, Charlie’s been an professional angel investor and co-founder to 12 different startups. Yep – you read that right. Furthermore, he’s had five exits which netted a 50% IRR (internal return rate)! Charlie has a God-given passion for helping entrepreneurs, and his mission is to help them take the next steps both in business and life. As a sports enthusiast (he is a Harley-riding, golf-playing guy, after all), he believes angel investing is a contact sport in that it’s not about investing in companies; it’s all about investing in people and their families. When Charlie’s not investing in entrepreneurs, he’s spending time with his wife of 39 years, his 4 children, and 2 grandchildren. Looking for a good read on entrepreneurship and life? Check out his blog for new publishings every week.
Sales Messaging Consultant
About: David’s an engineer by education but took a different path and entered into a career in sales. He has 25 years of experience leading sales teams with companies like BellSouth, CareerBuilder and Yodle. David’s current company is based off the premise that in order to sell, you must understand human behavior, so of course, he loves reading anything having to do with human behavior. He’s an introvert while also being an awesome public speaker. He enjoys spending time running outdoors and actually runs completely barefoot on roads and sidewalks. And while he’s not related to Tim Kurkjian, the ESPN baseball sports analyst, he’s the guy you see walking around that looks pretty similar to Bruce Willis.
Company: Atlanta Tech Village, Village Realty/Clickscape
About: David Lightburn leads the Atlanta Tech Village team, setting the culture while communicating and implementing the Village’s vision, mission, and strategic goals. As co-founder and President, David has been intimately involved with the creation and growth of Atlanta Tech Village – from the closing table in December 2012 through concept, design, and construction to facilities and programming – transforming a run-down 1980s office building into the 4th largest startup hub in the nation. David’s also the Founder of Village Realty/Clickscape, but his most important startups are his 3 kids who are seeing some real traction lately. Oh, and chances are he’s taller than you.
Company: 352 Inc.
About: Named one of Inc.’s Top 30 Young Entrepreneurs, Geoff is a builder of all good and modern things (read: websites). His team at 352 Inc. has built the technology for highly successful startups such as YouCaring.com and MakeMyDeal.com (a Cox-owned company). Currently, Geoff’s team is building the technology for Atlanta-based MyLumper – a graduate of Georgia Tech’s Flashpoint program. The entrepreneurial spirit certainly doesn’t stop there in his family; his wife, Kim, started Social News Desk, a startup in the news media space that was acquired by a Fortune 500 company in 2014. Geoff’s team at 352 Inc. built Social News Desk’s technology and helped to scale the product. Although he’s fairly new to the city and hails from the Swamp (Go, Gators!), he’s already a huge fan and avid supporter of Atlanta and the local tech community – so much so that he was a part of the 2016 #ChooseATL campaign at SXSW in Austin. Geoff and Kim are proud parents to their three children: two boys and girl that’s due in August!
Microsoft Cloud Expert
About: Ian has been working in cloud development and deployment with multiple Fortune 100 company for the past 5 years. As a Software Engineer with ten years of experience in full life-cycle development, including analysis, design, development, testing, implementation, and maintenance of application software in web-based environment, he hopes to be able to provide technical expertise across a wide range of technologies.
Specialties: Windows Azure, Windows Azure Media Services
Company: Amazon Web Services
About: John Pignata is a Startup Solutions Architect with Amazon Web Services based in New York City. He is a software developer with 20 years of experience building consumer Internet products and operating high scale systems. Prior to joining AWS, John led the engineering team at GroupMe, a top 10 social app on iTunes and Google Play, which was acquired by Skype. John was the CTO of HowAboutWe, a unique dating property acquired by IAC, and a software consultant at Pivotal Labs where he coached teams on agile engineering practices such as test-driven development and continuous delivery. His focus at Amazon Web Services is working with early stage companies and helping them succeed in their product development efforts by guiding them in the architecture and design of flexible, highly available, and scalable solutions.
About: Entrepreneurs, Katherine is the marketing lady boss you want to know. Not only was Katherine one of the first employees to experience the modern entrepreneurial craze (she worked for KnowledgeStorm, now TechTarget, during the first startup revolution 20 years ago), she also started her career on a DOS-based system and worked on the first ever Internet ads for BBDO for Realestate.com. Oh, and did we mention she’s worked on Superbowl commercials for Coca-Cola?! Like we said, this is a woman you definitely want to know. When Katherine isn’t making waves in the business world, she enjoys fishing and is proud to say she can tie a perfect Palomar knot. She’s a proud Atlanta native, and her family has left its mark on the city for generations; Riverdale is named for her great-grandfather Rivers, and her grandfather was the Mayor for 16 years. After all she’s accomplished, two of her greatest are her sons who keep her busy in her “downtime.”
Telling Your Story
Company: The Combine
About: Kevin Sandlin is the serial entrepreneur you want in your corner. Having founded 8 companies, 5 of which have failed, he’s learned all about the ups and downs of startups. Kevin runs both Pitch Practice and Atlanta Tech Blogs, AND he’s written over 1000 blogs in the last two years. Yep, if there were a Ph. D in Startup Language, he’d have it. Kevin is originally from the Congo, and he’s adopted two kids from Kazakhstan. Oh, and his wife? A girl put a tack in his seat in 6th grade… and he married her 15 years later. Like we said, this guy is one you definitely want to know.
About: Mandira is a B2B marketing leader with 15+ years of experience in the Technology, Media, and Telecom sectors. After beginning her career as a strategy consultant, Mandira has led marketing teams in both private and public company environments, from startups to global Fortune 500 companies. She’s a passionate, results-oriented marketer and a firm believer in the power of words and ideas to change hearts and minds. A native Bostonian, Mandira has worked at technology startups in Boston and Los Angeles and now calls Atlanta home. As a self-proclaimed health-obsessed foodie, she loves exploring the thriving Atlanta restaurant scene. In her down time, she enjoys traveling with her husband and two children, working out, and curling up with a good, old fashioned paperback book.
More Info: LinkedIn
About: Michael is an entrepreneur and early-stage technology angel investor. As the previous co-founder and CMO of Cloud Sherpas, which exited to Accenture in the fall of 2015, he now spends his time as the Managing Director of Techstars Atlanta, opening in August of 2016. When he’s not off saving the world during the day (seriously, he does big things), he loves to come home to his 2 awesome kids and his wonderful wife. He enjoys staying active no matter the season, spending his summers hiking and his winters skiing. And while he is originally from New York, he’s been won over by our southern charm and is now proud to call Atlanta “home.”
VC Financing and Angel Investing
Company: Atlanta Technology Angels, Horten CC
About: Michael is a US and European educated lawyer with 40 years’ experience as a practicing attorney, including 25 years with King & Spalding. He launched Horten CC in 2000 with the aim of providing entrepreneurial growth companies with big firm caliber services without the “marble and mahogany.” Michael is also a long-standing angel investor and is active in several angel groups, including serving on the board of ATA. Michael is an avid sportsman — snowboarding, skiing (former member of the Danish ski team), windsurfing, mountain biking, hiking and white water kayaking. He’s also a fan of classical music and opera, in particular. These days, he enjoys spending time with his grandchildren in Atlanta and New York.
Enterprise Sales and Growth Strategies
Company: Allegro Consulting
About: Mike is a growth strategies and complex sales expert whose firm has been providing growth strategy advice to established businesses and startups in Georgia for over 14 years. In fact, his firm was presented with the Metro Atlanta Global Impact Award by Mayor Kasim Reed. Speaking of being a sales expert, Mike sold BILLIONS in military jet fighters to our foreign allies for Boeing and Lockheed. His favorite two hobbies mirror his approach to consulting: he cooks (follow the rules) and he buys old houses and remodels them (discover and unleash the potential). One of his projects was even a featured half-hour show on HGTV! In his free time, Mike’s enjoys seeking adventures – aircraft and helicopter piloting, sky diving, scuba diving, wake surfing, mountain biking, running marathons… you get the picture – one of those guys!
Company: Square 1 Bank
About: Technologist, entrepreneur, and venture capitalist are all words to describe Ned. He was an early employee of Broadband Technologies, a startup that had a successful IPO in 1993. He has spent 15 years as a seed/early-stage VC with investments ranging from Navini Networks (acquired by Cisco) to RLX Technologies (acquired by HP) to Boingo Wireless (IPO).With a BS in Electrical Engineering from NC State and an MBA from Dartmouth, Ned clearly has a wide depth of knowledge across many subjects. Ned’s appetite for knowledge started from a young age; he co-founded the Computer Club in high school, but he still hasn’t fully embraced his inner geek! In fact, he aspired to be a stand-up comic until he says he came to the painful realization that he just wasn’t that funny. On top of all of those smarts, Ned has an adventurous side, too. He once traveled by RV from Nicaragua to Texas with his wife and three kids.
About: Nick is an investor and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in building and growing companies. He built a bootstrapped business and sold it to a strategic. When it comes down to it, he’s a Metrics and Numbers geek at heart! With dreams of traveling and addicted to football (i.e., soccer), he has a longer-term goal to port/run a business to Europe. In fact, he’s getting married in Austria this summer and is currently working to Deutsch lernen (that’s “learn German” for you English-speaking folks). When he’s not off adventuring, you can find Nick relaxing and fly fishing on the lake.
More Info: LinkedIn
Mobile Software Development & Technologist
Company: AppZoro Technologies
About: Get ready to meet your tech hero, Sam. With a BS and MS in Computer Science from Georgia Tech (I know, impressive, right?!), this techie is most well known for being a Full Stack Developer. He is well networked with investors in Atlanta for investment in startups, so he has great connections for you entrepreneurs. Born in India (but happy to call Atlanta home for the last 15 years), Sam loves to travel the world. Be sure to learn some coding tricks over a game of golf with Sam as he’s an avid golfer.
Sales, Value Proposition, and Angel Investor
Company: Hi Tech Partners
About: Steve has 35+ years of experience selling and leading sales teams, closing over $1B in sale. He has closed or helped close the first 10 deals for more than a dozen startups since bailing from his chemical engineering program after a class trip to the sewage treatment plant. He even closed the first 10 deals for his band in college! Speaking of music, did you know he loves to listen to jazz and classical music? When not selling, Steve is CEO Partner at Hi Tech Partners, a rehabilitated angel investor, and always engineering solutions to increase shareholder value. Although he loves sales, he’d rather be sailing… anytime, anywhere. Steve has wonderful children that he loves so much, but he thinks grandchildren are even better since you can “give them back.” 😉
Company: Specialdocs Consultants & Bauer Health
About: Terry always knew he wanted to lead a company. He started his venture into entrepreneurship at the ripe age of 13 to a business that’s still operating today. After graduating from the University of Arizona, Terry’s goal was to become a CEO by the age of 35. As a big-picture kind of guy with the ability to get things done along the way, he met his goal by becoming CEO of the #8 company on INC 500 when he was 35 and 3 months. Now, Terry is the CEO to two companies with over three decades of experience introducing strategies to drive growth within intensely competitive US healthcare markets and has a proven record of productivity, profit, integrity and excellence. He’s adroit in articulating long-term vision, identifying unique opportunities, and positioning startups and existing enterprises for sustainable and profitable growth. Outside of his incredible professional history, Terry’s been happily married for over 34 years, has two very successful daughters and one son-in-law. As someone who’s been fortunate to have many terrific mentors in his life, he likes nothing better than helping people reach beyond their potential.
Taxes and Accounting
Company: Smith & Howard
About: Tyler is a Senior in the Tax Group at Smith & Howard, a public accounting and advisory firm located in midtown Atlanta. Tyler provides consulting, tax planning, and accounting services to businesses and individuals in a wide variety of industries with a focus on the technology, real estate, hospitality, and transportation markets. Prior to joining Smith & Howard Tyler spent almost two years working in a business development/consulting role with a medical device start-up based out of the ATDC. Tyler obtained an undergraduate degree from Georgia Tech in Business Management with a dual concentration in Operations & Supply Chain and Accounting. While at Georgia Tech Tyler served as the Public and Corporate Relations chair on the executive board of H.E.R.O. (Hearts Everywhere Reaching Out), a non-profit based out of Atlanta, GA. He is currently enrolled at Georgia State University in pursuit of a Masters of Accounting degree and is a member of TAG and GSCPA.
Company: Techstars Atlanta
About: Tyler is an entrepreneur and investor based in Atlanta, GA. Previously he lived in Palo Alto, CA and was Co-Founder and COO of ThinAir Labs, a Y Combinator-backed data security startup. Prior to founding ThinAir, Tyler served as Chief of Staff & Head of Corporate Development at Palantir Technologies, a leading Silicon Valley technology company. At Palantir, Tyler was broadly responsible for scaling the operations of the business. During his 6 year tenure, he built and led human resources, recruiting, corporate development, internal technology, and a variety of smaller business units. Prior to joining Palantir in 2009, Tyler lived in New York City and worked in the fields of private equity and investment banking, having begun his career at J.P Morgan. He serves on the board of The Level Playing Field Institute and is a graduate of the University of Virginia.
Patents, Trademarks, and Software Licensing
Company: Founders Legal
About: All little kids have heroes; Yuri’s was Albert Einstein. He started modeling his life after Einstein back when he was in middle school, and his passion for science led him follow Einstein’s path to work as a patent clerk for an international patent firm while studying Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech. During his study, he became intrigued with hardware and software and served as a Assistant Lab instructor at Georgia Tech, teaching students how to program robots. Yuri continued his involvement in the hi-tech scene while earning a law degree with a focus on patents. After a decade of experience with Patents and Technology, Yuri founded his own IP Firm and Technology company here at the Village! He counsels technology companies in all matters related to IP. When he’s not building robots or counseling other startups, Yuri enjoys travel, mountain biking, and the composition of music in all of its forms.