Chief Executive Officer
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Industry: Venture Capital/Technology
Allyson Eman had two job offers on the table, one with a solid company with good pay and benefits. It was the safe option. The other offer was to join an industry in which she had no experience or background and no guarantees that she would succeed. That unknown was exciting and full of risk, and she chose to take the gamble.
“I wanted to do something new, to learn something new, to accomplish something new,” she said.
Taking the risk to join Venture Atlanta has worked out for all involved. Eman leads the operation as CEO. Venture Atlanta is an annual technology conference with a primary mission to connect the Southeast’s most promising tech companies with sources of capital. “The conference has grown into much more than an annual two-day event held each fall in Atlanta,” the organization said. “The organization partners with accelerators, events and organizations throughout the year to fulfill the mission of connecting companies with all sources of capital. The organization was founded in 2007 as a Georgia-only event and has grown into the most well-known and most attended venture capital conference on the East Coast.”
Eman was hired by Venture Atlanta in 2007. She previously helped grow SouthStar Funding into one of the largest subprime mortgage companies in the country from 1998–2007 until the company went bankrupt due to the banking crisis.
Venture Atlanta’s first event was in October 2008, featuring 20 tech companies and about 400 people. Now, 15 years later, the nonprofit organization has helped more than 800 companies raise over $7.5 billion with over $15 billion in exits. Notable companies that were part of Venture Atlanta include ParkMobile, Roadie, Cloud Sherpas, JouleX and Kabbage.
Eman was eventually promoted to CEO, managing a team of 25 contractors who help with marketing, accounting and production. Venture Atlanta has gone from only servicing Georgia companies to supporting the greater Southeast, from Texas to Washington, D.C. The event’s keynote speakers have included Mark Cuban, Arianna Huffington, Steve Case and more. This year, Venture Atlanta had 100 sponsors and raised over $1 million in sponsorships.
“Fifteen years later, I love what I do and continue to have a passion to help entrepreneurs,” Eman said. “I’m a natural connector and spend my time making connections and introductions as well as serving on the board of Startup Atlanta and the Georgia Intellectual Property Alliance.”
Eman has served on many panels over the years and moderated panels for organizations like Atlanta Tech Village, ATDC and Tech Alpharetta. She served on the advisory board for Launchpad 2X for six years, helping female founders with education and sources of capital.
I fell off a ski lift when I was 13!