This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures
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One good thing about traveling by car is that you can get a handle on different perspectives. Often when we travel we go major hub airport to major hub. We hop in a rental car and go straight to our destination. That might be a hotel, a resort or something like that. You don’t get a real feel for the pace of life.
I have been in Chicago my entire life. I get the pace of the city and know my way around. Because Chicago is an older city with public transportation, it’s a bit edgier than more modern cities like Dallas and Atlanta. You find establishments that have been there for ages and they are timeless. Modern cities have the good fortune of having a blank canvas.
this trip, we stopped in Chattanooga to nose around. It was cold when we were there. It is breathtakingly beautiful. We parked by the aquarium and walked across the river. We drove up to the top of Lookout Mountain. The mountains around Chattanooga along with the river provide a lot of spectacular vistas. As radio signals go in and out, you remember why someone invented streaming. We don’t have that problem in the Midwest. Chattanooga has some of the best internet in the United States. There is a lot of building going on there. It’s small, less than 200,000 people. It’s not Boulder, but you could imagine if there was a flood of tech people exiting out of other states, Chattanooga might be appealing to the ones that love the outdoors.
I am in Atlanta today. The one thing that I have noticed so far is the volume of traffic. I have read about it but never experienced it. Fortunately, I won’t have to spend a lot of time in it but walking around yesterday we saw terribly choked expressways. Of course, that is also a sign that people are working and there is a lot of commerce. Better than the alternative.
I think if companies ever decide to move from high tax states to lower ones, they ought to get their heads together and move en masse. For example, Atlanta is already home to ICE. If Chicago or NYC exchanges were to move, Atlanta would be a good spot because you could form a gigantic network instantaneously. That network would attract a lot of people. HFT firms and hedge funds would automatically move to the same spot and so would clearing firms. This is why I was surprised to see Alliance Bernstein move from NYC to Nashville. Nashville has a great health tech ecosystem and a great quality of life. But, it’s not known for wealth tech. However, it will be now that a gorilla has moved there. If I was running a big wealth tech company, I’d take a hard look at Nashville because of network effects.
Atlanta has a burgeoning fin tech system. Two companies I am invested in have people on the ground in offices here; Riskalyze and FinMkt. I am angel invested in the former, and our fund is invested in the latter. We are looking for more B2B Fin Tech seed deals to invest in. We like platforms, that are valued at less than $8MM pre-money.
I got a random email from a person who gave me a list of restaurants to run down here. Very very nice o of them to do that and I appreciate it. We went to Rumi’s Kitchen last night on their recommendation. A old trader friend has a son that goes to Georgia Tech said I need to head over to Buttermilk Kitchen for breakfast and Vortex for a burger. Georgia Tech has a fin tech lab I will check out. Another buddy said the move was Taqueria Del Sol. It’s fun to get recommendations and then actually try them out. Especially when you don’t have a clue about where you are going.
It is very good to get out of your comfort zone.