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There’s a superhighway heading out of Atlanta and it’s got our biggest tech export on it. What is that?

It’s people. This graph is by LinkedIn and shows the cities Atlanta’s talented tech workforce moves to, as a percentage of our active workforce. Chicago and New York: no game. But out West, the call of tech companies is creating a definite migration pattern.

So first, the good news we know: Atlanta’s tech talent is world class.

In fact, it’s not just highly technical, it’s also highly informed by that other master talent: sales. The most abundant skills in Atlanta are enterprise tech and sales, according to LinkedIn. That’s a rare and lucrative combo.

The opportunity: putting this talent to work in Atlanta.

A significant fraction of our tech and sales talent is pulled West, to tech hubs like Denver, Seattle and San Francisco. When you look at the LinkedIn workforce report card for San Francisco, you can see this western current doesn’t return to Atlanta. But it could. In fact, these talented people never have to leave, and you might assume many don’t want to.

The financial glue that is underwriting the jobs out West is investment dollars. Foundations, pensions, and family offices invest in fund strategies, many of them out west, and those dollars go to work in tech firms and become fodder for job offers.

What would we need to export less of Atlanta’s tech talent?

Two things:

  1. A stronger local venture capital economy to channel investor dollars into local firms. (Great time to say thank you to the visionary investors that backed Valor’s first fund and to any investor investing in one of the South’s local venture capital firms.)
  2. More tech companies built and grown in this region. See #1. We have the people. Let’s make sure they have the infrastructure.

Allright, let’s get back to it then.


Photo credit: Krog Street Tunnel near Valor Ventures offices, courtesy @panavasquez