But this year, fund managers are jumping back in, Flickinger said. Many of the startups are addressing challenges created by the pandemic, such as employees working from home.
“Everybody’s daily workflow was gone overnight,” he said. “It blew all of that up.”
A number of startups already were working on improving communications and logistics and making work more mobile. Some of those companies accelerated projects that would have otherwise taken years, Flickinger said.
“People are saying, ‘OK, that worked. What else can I replace with technology to make my team better, more efficient, more effective?’” he said.
He expects that trend to continue. That’s good news for second-tier tech hubs like Atlanta, which attract fewer investment dollars than the big three — Silicon Valley, New York and Boston. Just as the pandemic forced companies to recognize that their workforces can be located just about anywhere in a state or country, it forced investors to recognize that top companies and talent can be found outside of the big three regions, Flickinger said.
Atlanta was recently ranked the top city for tech talent in the Southeast.
Some highlights of the Panoramic Ventures report include:
- Georgia ranks third among Southeast states in capital investment made since 2016, with $9.86 billion. Florida drew $12.9 billion and North Carolina, $12 billion, though about one-third of North Carolina’s investments were in one very large company.
- Georgia ranked first in mega-deals — investments of $80 million-plus — with 22.
- Georgia has the most “unicorns” — startups that have reached valuations of $1 billion or more — with seven, compared to Florida’s six and North Carolina’s five.
- Georgia’s three strongest sectors are financial technology, such as payments, banking and purchases; software as a service, such as logistics and sales; and biotech.
- Companies in the Southeast are attracting larger investments. The average amount in 2016 was $3.6 million. So far in 2021, it is $10.5 million.