Ben Dyer of Cordova Intellimedia Ventures: Driving High-Tech Success Home

Not since General Longstreet has such a famous executive returned home to Gainesville. Ben Dyer, long recognized as a pioneer in the technology industry, spoke to several hundred of the eager, interested and downright envious on “How To Become a Millionaire in the High-Tech Growth Business.” The event, sponsored by the two-year-old Lake Lanier Technology Alliance, was held in Gainesville.

Naturally, I was among those who wanted to know. I first met Ben Dyer when MSA, one of Georgia’s first technology giants and my employer in the late 1970s and 1980s, acquired Peachtree Software in 1981. As founder and president of Peachtree, Ben was already a successful entrepreneur. His next contribution was in helping MSA become the first great applications software company in the world.

I’ve followed Ben’s career and contributions over the years, watching him add Chairman and CEO to his credentials like so many power ties on a rack. He is a member of Georgia’s Technology Hall of Fame and currently is a venture capitalist, a publisher and is a general partner of Cordova Intellimedia Ventures, a $42 million seed capital fund targeted for Internet infrastructure and technology companies. Ben has the savvy and the knack to turn ideas into reality ­ and revenues.

Speaking to his hometown crowd, Ben’s talking points ­ liberally sprinkled with off-the-wall humor ­had the crowd eager with questions afterward. He shared statistics that never cease to amaze me. Did you know there are 225 technology companies in Georgia, with $1.7 billion in investments? And that these companies currently employ 7,224 people? Are you familiar with the emerging Bioscience industry, and that it already has spawned more than 200 new companies in Georgia? Talk about investment opportunities. Indeed, our state is a hotbed of technological innovation. And, the scientific brilliance and entrepreneurial spirit isn’t limited just to Atlanta. Qualcon, Merial Select, Elan Pharmaceuticals and Theragenics are shining examples in Hall County alone.

Why? Georgia has the infrastructure needed to support entrepreneurial activities ­ the foundation to nurture and incubate the young companies. Management teams and entrepreneurs need the right climate to breed start-ups ­ great universities and diversities coming together. As for building a high value enterprise that stays on-shore ­ make it creative, make it culturally specific. Grow and protect intellectual property through Georgia Tech, Emory, UGA, GSU and turn it into the next MSA or ISS. Look for long-term, sustaining performance in an industry such as security. And, seek capital to grow at all stages.

Though I¹m not a native of Gainesville (it’s a lot closer to Atlanta, where my business is located, than Dubuque, Iowa, where I was born), I am a proud citizen. With 25 years in the Georgia high-tech industry behind me, I am pleased to join Ben as part of a growing outreach ­ beyond Atlanta ­ to bring all of Georgia into focus as a hotbed of technological innovation. Spearheading the PR initiative for the Georgia Technology Celebration last October, I saw an enormous resurgence of enthusiasm, excitement and energy for the future of technology in Georgia. It’s groups like the Lake Lanier Technology Alliance that bring the future into focus with a vital, growing membership and entrepreneurial mindset. And, its people like Ben Dyer that drive home the success.

For information on the Lake Lanier Technology Alliance, contact Shelley Davis, Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, 770-532-6206 or e-mail:

Char Baxter is CEO of Char Baxter Communications, an Atlanta-based branding consultancy providing integrated public relations/marketing services to the technology industry. She and her family reside in Gainesville.

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