More Seattle self-reflection

From time to time, John Cook will post what amounts to a "state of the health of startup seed financing in Seattle" address.

I think he started doing this back at the Seattle P-I, then with TechFlash; certainly, the tradition is already now well established on GeekWire.

Space needle reflection

John's latest "address," Why this entrepreneur is moving to Vegas, and what it means for the Seattle scene, ran yesterday on GeekWire, and I thought it was the most heartfelt of John's calls for Seattle to step it up a notch:

"One of the rubs on Seattle is that the pool of angel investors is not that deep — a perplexing issue given the huge pockets of wealth created in the city in the past 25 years....

"But there’s no brand name angel investor with the drawing power of [Las Vegas-based Tony] Hsieh or the connections of Ron Conway or the rabble rousing of Dave McClure. Seattle needs some of that flowing into the startup community at heavier doses than is currently being administered, if it wants to establish itself as a go-to startup city."

What makes this post especially interesting is the response it drew from Bill Bryant, a mainstay of the Seattle startup investment scene (and someone whom others might put on a list of Seattle brand name angels that John suggests is blank).

"I do agree with John that we could use another 100 angel investors," Bryant commented, "but seriously, let's stop ripping on how bad Seattle is as a startup hub. Its wearisome." Bill draws no inference from the fact that an entrepreneur has left Seattle for Las Vegas, other than that entrepreneur's startup is probably not worth backing.

My own perspective is likely somewhere between John's and Bill's. I think there are many angels in Seattle who don't draw attention to themselves as such; and I think much of the wealth created by the larger tech ecosystem does get channeled into startup activity, of the self-funded variety.

But there's no question first time entrepreneurs without deep connections to (i.e., employment history in) some of the established tech giants find it much more difficult to find seed money in Seattle.

In the comment thread, John says he thinks "real impact could be made with $50M to $100M," presumably meaning a seed financing fund or just some kind of program or pool focused on pre-revenue seeding of startups.

Photo: four12 / Flickr.


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