The Seattle Startup Ecosystem: Reflections of a Community Manager (Year 1).

I’ve got a front row seat to one of the best startup ecosystems in the country. Because I’m not heads down working on my product or service like most Seattle startup founders, co-founders and team members, I’m able to come up for air more frequently. Think of it like this: I’m a UAV watching over Seattle from 25,000ft. That’s the best analogy I could think of…

Take it with a grain of salt, but I’ve got perspective. In the past year, I’ve met over 150 startups from Bend, Oregon to Vancouver, Canada, and everything in between (Portland, Seattle, Kelowna, Montreal). Hell, I probably see more investment opportunities (deal flow) than most local angel investors and/or venture capitalists.

Now that I’ve offered up some background information, let me offer my perspective.

‘The Seattle Startup Ecosystem: Reflections of a Community Manager (Year 1).’

  1. More collaboration /interaction with/between the Seattle business community at large and the Seattle startup community. There is a gap that exists between startups and companies like Zillow, Expedia, TUNE, Whitepages, Avalara….or mid-market companies. Companies that used to be startups… We can do more to facilitate interactions between startups and the aforementioned companies. (credit: Kathryn Brown) Interested in discussing? Let me know.
  2. Exposure is not a substitute for paying customers. There is nothing quite like having your startup featured in Xconomy or TechCrunch. But the reality is that exposure is just that. It’s exposure. Being featured on one of the aforementioned media sites is great for brand awareness and recognition, but is it affecting your bottom line? In some cases, yes it is. In other cases, no it isn’t. Don’t mistake exposure for traction. I hear a lot of startup founders and co-founders say ‘We were just featured on X website; we’ve got great traction!’ I also notice this during pitch events – startup founders and co-founders often add the logo of said media site to their traction slide and announce ‘We were just featured on X website; we’ve got great traction!’
  3. Seattle should learn from the Bend Venture Conference; it can serve as a template for collaboration. I had the pleasure of attending the Bend Venture Conference two weeks ago – a collaborative effort between numerous investment groups including BendBroadband Business, Business Oregon, BVC LLC, Cascade Angels, Craft3, Elevate Capital, Office of the State Treasurer, Oregon Angel Fund, Oregon BEST, Oregon Community Foundation, and Trigen Investments. Over $3,918,000 was awarded in investments and cash prizes, setting a new record for Oregon angel conferences and making it one of the top angel conferences in the country. Can we not do that same in Seattle? In Washington?
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