The continual self consternation of the Atlanta startup community borders on amusing. Dozens of well intentioned people associating and coming up with solutions to what supposedly ails starting a technology company in the South. The solution is really quite simple and straightforward. Atlanta needs more people with FU money.
FU money removes a lot of annoyances and provides a level of day to day autonomy that you just don't have without it. If you don't have to worry about money you can pretty much do what you want. Sure a bunch of people with FU money will buy a new Lexus and drive off to their new second home. But a bunch of folks will want to and have the means to start another company with a win under their belt, which creates a positive reinforcing spiral.
Let's take a recent example, Dell acquing SecureWorks. When the deal went down the infotech circle started buzzing. Lots of discussion on the value of the deal. My thought was it had to be more than $500 million otherwise they would not do the deal but I had a hard time seeing more than $750 million. Splitting the diff I told people that $600 million felt about right. Well it just so happens when Dell released its 10K it disclosed it paid $612 million for SecureWorks (page 112). The point being I have a feel for these things.
So who got the $612? Investors for sure. Employees as well.
If Mike Cote, the CEO of SecureWorks, had rights to the startup CEO median equity of 6% he pocketed $36 million or so. Mike Cote had seven members of his senior management team. The median equity holdings for these types of folks is 1%. Do the math. Eight members of the SecureWorks team have very serious FU money. If I were guessing, like I did with the sales price, I would venture that somewhere between 25 and 50 member of the SecureWorks team are now millionaires. Take the average and you get to 37 or 38.
Some of these folks will start new technology companies. Some will become angels. There are a few VC limited partner types in the bunch and perhaps a actual VC or two. Some will drive off into the sunset behind the wheel of a large self parking automobile. But you wait and see. FU money is the answer to jump starting the Atlanta startup scene. It's as simple as that.