They Smell A Rat

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A most interesting scenario occurred within the Atlanta technology entrepreneur world. Scott Burkett and Jeff Haynie, two key players/serious serial entrepreneurs in that happening scene, called bs with the recent TAG/GRA Business Launch competition. From Scott’s blog:

ATM Direct won the 2008 TAG/GRA Business Launch Competition. On the one hand, I congratulate the ATM Direct team for their victory. They walked away with $100K in cash and $200K in services from various sponsors and partners. Not bad! My other hand, however, is left wondering why a company that at one point was a significant going-concern, and was eventually bought out of bankruptcy court was even allowed to enter a competition aimed at fostering “new” companies.

From Jeff’s blog:

OK, a “business launch” for a “new startup” doesn’t have 10 patent families. Ten fully prosecuted patents families would be worth at least a million or more dollars alone most likely.

Also, they seem to have violated clearly the investment criteria of less than $500K (at a minimum, not including their post purchase investment if any).

The comments on each post are very interesting, so be sure to scroll through those. Both Jeff and Scott call for more dialog, more discussion. A little more transparency up front, in any venture it seems, is always a good thing. Surely worth the cost of post-event chatter that, in this case, TAG/GRA never expected, indeed were “shocked” to have generated at all. There’s a lesson in all this for many — especially in terms of engaging the community you intend to mess around in. And how you go about, via social media, doing it.

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