Secret Cabal

I can’t tell you how ironic it was when someone create secretcabal on Twitter.  Ironic because there was one.  Some time ago the good folks at Noro-Moseley Partners had invited me to a dinner meeting at White Space Gallery.  The purpose of the dinner was an open discussion of what’s happening in the Atlanta startup community.  There was a request not to mention it online, which I respected.  As did everyone else.  Intriguing.

So last night the entire Noro team assembled along with about 16 people from the tech community.  We broke out via dinner tables and Mike Elliott and Alan Taetle opened the proceedings with an overview of Noro.  Essentially the firm focuses in a geographic area from Virginia to Texas.  They talked a bit about their investing criteria.  Noro plans to make about 20 investments across the region from Fund VI.  Since that fund closed in 2007 they have made 13 investments.  Not a bad pace.

Mike also spoke about the contraction of venture firms both locally and nationally.  There is tremendous pressure on the entire venture industry to deliver returns to limited partners.   Funding devoted to venture could shrink by another 40% in the future.  VCs, including Noro, are fighting for survival.

On to the meat of the matter.  All those assembled had two menus.  One with food and wine pairings.  And a second topic menu.

  • What’s the state of the early stage and growth startup community?
  • What is the best way for all those assembled to work together?
  • What are Atlanta’s strengths?
  • What needs to change to foster a stronger community?

There was some great discussion.  I was fortunate to sit at Mike’s table.  I did not know him well before.  He is smart and engaging.  The table and the assembled group reached some interesting conclusions.  Personally my biggest conclusion is this.  It’s great to see the Noro team creating conversation and showing community leadership.

Nothing sinister about that.

February 9, 2010  |  Comments  |  Tweet  |  Posted in Startups, Venture Capital