When you look at the Southeast and Midwest, it has almost half of the population of the country, but receives less than 15% of venture capital funding; with many overlooked opportunities and amazing companies.

Managing Partners Mark Buffington and Paul Judge sat down with John Yates and Amie Singer of the Morris, Manning, Martin Technology Group to share insights of the state of tech in the Southeast.

Mark and Paul share what Panoramic is looking for in a seed company, what founders need to present, the product, and the scalability of the companies we evaluate.

Tune in below for the full interview and audio transcript.


Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Southeast tech podcast, hosted by Morris Manning and Martin tech law. Well, hello, this is John Gates and I share the technology practice at the law firm of Morris Manning and Martin. And it’s good to be here today for the MMM, Tech Law and Business Report.

Along with my colleague Amy Singer, Amy is a partner in our corporate tech practice and works with some of the fastest growing tech companies in the Southeast. We’re particularly honored today to be interviewing and be with Mark Buffington and Paul Judge. And these are two individuals that have been key leaders in this tech community, and they really have set the standard for excellence with regard to providing support to entrepreneurship entrepreneurs and innovation within Atlanta.

And now they have a very exciting venture. With Panoramic Ventures with the tagline, Take a Wider View. So I’m going to turn it over to Amy. Who’s going to enter into a fireside chat with Paul and Mark, and learn a little bit more about Panoramic and I’m sure they can tell you about the exciting developments they have in their new funds.

As John said, you guys have formed Panoramic Ventures, a new venture fund in Atlanta and your tagline is: Take a Wider View approach to investing.

What do you mean by that? Wider view.

The goal with venture is that you’re really searching for outliers. You’re searching for companies that are going to really change the world and deliver great returns and there are so many venture funds looking in all the same places.

What we realized is that a few places that are overlooked actually have really great entrepreneurs and great companies and the ability to deliver outsized returns. And it comes down to three things: geography – we’re based right here in Atlanta, which expands to the Southeast and to the Midwest. This region has been overlooked in terms of VC funds. When you look at the Southeast and the Midwest, it has almost half of the population of the country, but only receives less than 15% of the venture capital funding. And so there’s a lot of overlooked opportunities and amazing companies.

The second is diversity. We look at black founders, for example, who receive less than 1% of funding. Female founders receive less than 3% of funding. But there’s, there’s so much top talent and ideas we’re focused there.

The third are universities and looking at that technology ecosystem. So many of the great ideas that create the technology that we know today started off either as students at universities or in research labs. There’s over $80 billion a year of research that happens at universities in this country. And our focus is how do we help commercialize that and bring those two the life.

And if you look at those three areas of geography, diversity, and university, that’s what we mean by take a wider view. But it’s also exactly what we’ve been doing. Historically, we look at the investing that I’ve been doing, invest in that Mark and, and BIP Capital have been doing.

It’s exactly what we’ve been doing over the years, but now we’re able to do it in a unified approach and do it at greater scale.

What are you looking for in a seed company? So what would be your ideal seed company? What do the founders need to present? What kind of product? What scalability?

Interested in the full interview? Watch it here!