Panic With Friends – Sean O’Brien Joins Me To Discuss Why Atlanta is absolutely positioned to be a top-tier venture city.

I am catching up on publishing some podcasts I had in the hopper. This one is with an old friend and great investor Sean O’Brien. I met Sean in Dallas when we were both getting trained to be brokers at The Principal, in Dallas. You can listen to the podcast here but please do read a bit about the podcast and Sean below.

Guest: Sean O’Brien

Profile: Managing Partner at Overline VC

Where to Find Him: LinkedIn, Twitter

Fun fact: Sean is an avid supporter of the arts. He has sat on the boards of the Atlanta Ballet, Nashville Ballet, and Ballet Arizona. He also supports various nonprofits such as Hands On Atlanta and Safe Haven Family Shelter.

What’s the Panic About:
Sean O’Brien panics slowly, if at all. In all honesty, I don’t think he’s really panicked since 2001. I’ve known Sean for 30 years now since we first started back as brokers together in the early 90s. Back then, I was rocking short-sleeved button downs and Sean still had his obnoxiously perfect hair. We’ve both moved around a bit since then, and I’ve upgraded to a long-sleeved button down (although recently it’s been t-shirts during COVID). But Sean is still the same level headed friend with perfect hair I can always count on to yell at me. It was great catching up with him on this episode and learning about his first foray into the venture capital world with his new Atlanta-based company Overline. We talked about why he believes Atlanta is the next hotspot for businesses, the backyard chicken market, bugs (both metaphorical and literal), and how investing has changed since Sean and I first met.

The Takeaway:
Sean is proof that even if you’ve been in the game for a while, you can always change your position and goals. It’s never too late to get more creative, challenge your perspective, and try new things with the work you’re doing.
And, if you’re looking for the next place where trends and businesses are growing – look to the Southeast region. As Sean mentions, it’s the up and coming place for new businesses, trends, and apparently backyard chickens.

Favorite Quotes‘:

“Your seed investor should be chosen by who is best positioned to help your business. You want to make sure they’re on the same side of the table as you.”

“The art of stock picking is fun, but it’s not fun when you know every company is overvalued.”

“Atlanta is absolutely positioned to be a top-tier venture city. There’s no doubt about it.”

While Sean had some great insights, one of my favorite and most data-driven points from this episode came from the host himself (me):

“Who doesn’t have backyard chickens? You ask 9 out of 10 Jewish people – they’ve got backyard chickens.”

Food for Thought:

Sean doesn’t just invest to make money; he invests in ideas and causes he truly cares about – whether it’s supporting the arts or investing in a sustainability-driven company. What companies come to mind when you think of this idea and are they worth investing in?

PS – I am now doing two ‘Panic With Friends’ podcasts per week. Thanks for listening and make sure you subscribe over on Spotify or Apple.