The Atlanta Hawks, Spencer Stuart, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Connetic Ventures, OnPay, and Write2Market Invest in Bridging the 30% Tech Innovation Gap

April — Atlanta — Nationally, 41% of tech startups pitching for venture capital are minority-led, according to the Kauffman Foundation. Yet only only about 10% of venture capital funding goes to minority-led startups. The Startup Runway Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit co-hosted by Atlanta venture capital firm Valor Ventures and local professional club The Gathering Spot, addresses this opportunity by connecting select minority-led tech startups with seed stage investors.

The Startup Runway Showcase features a $10,000 strings-free prize check to the top minority-led tech startup as selected by professional investors, including Village Capital and Seraph from San Francisco; Bull City Ventures from Raleigh, NC; Techstars Atlanta; Connetic from Cincinnati; Hyde Park Ventures from Chicago; ffVc from New York, The Jump Fund from Chattanooga, and others.

Sponsors of the pitch series provide cash donations that directly support the $10,000 prize check. The pitch series’ generous sponsors include The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club, Spencer Stuart, the national tech recruiter;  Write2Market,the Atlanta digital marketing agency focused on startups; the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce; Connectic Ventures, the early stage venture capital firm; and OnPay, a national payroll service focused on employers with less than 10 employees.

“Our brand promise is to entertain and unite the city,” said Melissa Proctor, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena. “In supporting great organizations like the Startup Runway Foundation, it ensures that we not only help foster the entrepreneurial spirit that is so prevalent in Atlanta, but that we embrace concepts and ideas from people of all walks of life that fully reflect our organization, fans, and neighbors as we strive daily to meet that goal.”

Connetic Ventures partners with Startup Runway as a returning sponsor because the program fits squarely within our core beliefs: that diversity is a good thing, whether in industry, geography, or founders,” said Brad Zapp, Managing Partner of Connetic Ventures in Cincinnati, a returning sponsor. “We know that the Startup Runway program is one more way that we can encourage and prepare diverse starting teams.”

The May 2 Startup Runway Showcase and networking reception is open to the public until tickets sell out. Startup applications are a rolling open application process and Fall applicants will begin the selection process this summer.

About Startup Runway

The Startup Runway Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit, is the first and largest pitch series in the Southeast that connects select minority-led tech startups to seed capital.  It holds two pitch series, Spring and Fall, that draw hundreds of applications from women and minority founders across the Southeast. Find out more and get involved at

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Emily Simpson