Podcast Episode: Building a Top Five Innovation Economy in Atlanta


In this episode, Donnie Beamer, the Senior Technology Advisor for the City of Atlanta, discusses the ATL Tech Hub initiative and the city's efforts to become a top five innovation and technology investment ecosystem. The conversation highlights the importance of technology in creating a safe and effective city, as well as the need to provide opportunities for all residents. They also discuss the unique advantages of Atlanta, such as its diverse industries and accessible community. The episode concludes with a discussion on the city's plans to increase capital availability and support student entrepreneurs through a co-op program and pitch competition.


  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 01:21 ATL Tech Hub Initiative and Economic Priorities
  • 04:16 Atlanta's Unique Advantages for Entrepreneurs
  • 06:12 Increasing Capital Availability and Supporting Student Entrepreneurs
  • 25:56 Plans to Achieve Top Five Innovation Ecosystem Status

Points of Wisdom:

  • "To be a safe city, one that's a government that's effective, a place that's built for the future, all that is gonna require technology."
  • "Atlanta treats venture capital dollars very, very well in terms of batting average and then outcome, multiple of outcome, multiple of invested capital."
  • "Atlanta is a 10 times better city to raise a family and build and scale a business compared to San Francisco."  

About Donnie Beamer:

Donnie Beamer, CFA was appointed by Mayor Andre Dickens as Atlanta’s first-ever Senior Technology Advisor. He serves as the Mayor’s chief liaison with the tech sector and assists with shaping policy and programs to grow the ecosystem. Beamer also works with Invest Atlanta to attract new companies to the city, grow existing ones and advises the Administration on fostering Atlanta’s technology workforce.

Prior to joining the City, Beamer was the General Manager of LotVision Automotive at Cox2M, where he was responsible for the product roadmap and strategy for their flagship vehicle tracking and telematics platform. Beamer was also an Atlanta tech entrepreneur, leading the Monsieur team that created an automated bartending system that was deployed in movie theaters, hotels, and sports & entertainment venues. His first job was in investment management at BlackRock in NYC where he served institutional clients and earned his CFA charter.  

Beamer earned an MBA from The Wharton School at UPenn and studied Economics as a Division I student-athlete at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/donniebeamer/

About Mark Buffington:

Mark Buffington is the founder of BIP Capital and the Managing Partner of BIP Ventures. Since founding BIP Capital in 2006, Mark has led the venture capital firm to its position as one of the most active and recognized brands outside of Silicon Valley. Mark has led investment rounds in more than 80 companies in numerous industries (Healthcare, Digital Media, Ed Tech, Enterprise SaaS, FinTech, and Advanced Computing). Notable investments include Vendormate, Ingenious Med, QA Symphony/Tricentis, PlayOn! Sports, Huddle Tickets, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Cypress.io, ConnexPay, REACH Health, Trella Health, Shareholder InSite and Aspirion Health Resources. Mark earned an MBA from the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University and a B.S. from the Georgia Institute of Technology (where he lettered as a varsity baseball player). He serves on the board of directors of several companies, including the NFHS Network, AchieveIt, Trella Health, PlayOn! Sports, UserIQ and ConnexPay. He also serves on several nonprofit boards, including Buckhead Coalition, Inc. and the Georgia Tech College of Computing.

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