Introducing Startup Atlanta’s New Community Coordinator: Kylan Kester!

Startup Atlanta
4 min readApr 15, 2019
Kylan Kester (LinkedIn Image)

We’re pleased to be able to sit down with Startup Atlanta’s new Community Coordinator Kylan Kester. As a social entrepreneur, Kylan is passionate about ventures that accelerate policy in human rights, that promote access to technological education, and that connect resources to support entrepreneurship in emerging markets.

At any given time, you might find Kylan reading an article in Bloomberg or GQ; highlighting a novel on modern design in Apple Books; or practicing his Chinese calligraphy. Kylan is recognized for leadership and outstanding achievement by Forbes Under 30, Jopwell, The Gentlemen’s Foundation, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Apple, Coca Cola, GLAAD, and Proctor & Gamble.

Startup Atlanta’s founding sponsors include the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Invest Atlanta, Atlanta Technology Angels, and EO Atlanta The nonprofit holds several events throughout the year including the Atlanta Startup Crawl, Atlanta Startup Awards, and roundtable discussions with some of Atlanta’s most prominent entrepreneurs.

So Kylan, tell us a little about yourself!

I am a Floridian turned Georgian who moved to Atlanta in 2015 to attain a marketing degree from Morehouse College. I am a passionate marketing guy who would likely be reading a book or having a conversation in cafe across a diverse network of professionals in business, tech, fashion, and music. Some of my hobbies include going to cooking, concerts, and curating digital media.

How did you get into the startup world?

As an incredibly ambitious student throughout undergrad, I sought a global perspective on business and ended up working and visiting centers of innovation in technology hubs from Shanghai, to Hangzhou, China and Tokyo, Japan. These experiences landed me in Silicon Valley as a Corporate Marketing intern at Apple and most recently the European Innovation Academy in Italy. Having this exposure to hubs of innovation and seeing the potential and unique asset of diversity here in Atlanta, I wanted to find a way to contribute my perspective and support in connecting founders and teams who need that extra push to get to the next level whether they are ready to start, develop, or transform.

Why did you decide to take on this role at Startup Atlanta?

I took on this role because I found harmony in the mission of Startup Atlanta and my own personal values. As a creator, a connector, a fixer, and a believer, I saw this as huge opportunity to pursue my purpose in helping shape the future of Atlanta’s startup community. After reviewing 2018’s Atlanta Startup Ecosystem Guide, I was confident that I was in a step towards the right direction.

What are you most excited about in your new role as Community Coordinator?

Every day I meet people throughout the Atlanta startup ecosystem and every time I am impressed and inspired by the success stories of founders who make a dent in the impact they aspire to leave. I am very excited to meet and support community members and to find creative ways to help them achieve their goals!

What do you think makes Atlanta a great place to be an entrepreneur?

As an Atlanta-based founder, I can say that doing business in Atlanta is by far one of the best cities for a variety of reasons. From the diversity of the talent, to the resources provided to the startup ecosystem from both the public and private sectors, there are a countless set of opportunities for starting and scaling a business here.

What are some of the challenges that entrepreneurs face in Atlanta and other places?

This is a great question and I think that there is a major opportunity for discovery here. Depending on the industry, there are a number of different challenges and even barriers that give entrepreneurs in the community a hard time. My hunch would be that the number of resources in the community are so abundant that much like advertising in a digital age, it can get hard for founders to identify a curated set or resources aligned with helping them achieve whatever strategic or financial goals they set.

What does Startup Atlanta have planned for 2019?

We have a number of exciting events including the Annual Startup Crawl and the Atlanta Startup Awards. We are still working on other events and I am excited and open to collaboration with organizations throughout the community.

Who are some mentors and/or thought leaders for you?

Some of my mentors and meaningful thought leaders I admire in the community include Paul Judge, President David A. Thomas at Morehouse College, Porter Braswell CEO of Jopwell and Founder of “Let Them See You” and on LinkedIn thought leaders such as Paul Carrick Brunson and Tim Salau.

Name one thing on your bucket list.

To host Oprah, Barack and Michelle Obama, and Beyoncé and my dearest friends in one room.

You can follow Kylan here and connect with him here.

At Startup Atlanta we are striving to connect, support, and expand the local startup ecosystem. We do this in part through creating great events, like the Startup Crawl, but also by bringing startup and regional leaders together, supporting policies friendly to innovation and entrepreneurs and promoting our local community.

If you’re interested in helping us to grow and strengthen the community consider getting involved by: volunteering on one of our committees, becoming a member or sponsoring our efforts.

Drop us a line and let us know!

With ❤ for ATL Startups,
Kamel Adi