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I formally declare year one of TechStars Seattle a huge success. I was absolutely blown away by the companies at Demo Day last week along with the reaction and support of the Seattle tech community.
John Cook at TechFlash wrote a great summary post titled My five favorite startup pitches from TechStars Demo Day. There’s been plenty of great chatter among the blogosphere and folks I’ve talked to. But what was really remarkable to me was the tone in the room during, around, and after demo day.
The Seattle tech and entrepreneurial community has really embraced TechStars. Andy Sack, who in addition to running TechStars Seattle, also runs Founders Co-op and Revenue Loan, did an incredible job of engaging a broad set of the Seattle entrepreneurial community in TechStars. TechStars wouldn’t have ended up in Seattle without Andy continually nudging, pleading, and demanding that we pay attention. Greg Gottesman from Madrona also deserves a special call out for encouraging us to bring TechStars to Seattle and working with Andy to make it happen.
There was plenty of other great press describing the event and the companies so I’ll leave it to you to look at it on TechCrunch, TechStars, BizSpark, and Xconomy. And, if you like interpretive dance as a way to understand the companies, take a look at the short video below.
Of course, the magic was in the 28 entrepreneurs that went through the program. To all of you, congrats on an awesome first year!
Andy Sack, who runs TechStars Seattle, has been all over the Seattle entrepreneurial scene in the past few years. I’ve known and worked with Andy since 1995 (I was on the board of his first company – Abuzz – which was acquired in 1999 by the New York Times) and am awed by the amazing things he’s doing in Seattle these days, including Founder’s Co-op, RevenueLoan, and of course TechStars Seattle.
On November 11th, Andy is hosting TechStars Seattle Demo Day. As is my custom, I’ll be in attendance. But, as a special bonus, he’s also hosting an Open Angel Forum at 7pm on the night before (November 10th) with Jason Calacanis. We did this in Boulder this summer the night before the TechStars Boulder Demo Day and it worked out great so I’m hoping this becomes a regular tradition.
Info on the two events and how to register are listed below:
November 10th – Open Angel Forum, 7pm: Join Jason Calacanis, Andy Sack and many other angel investors for the first meeting of the Seattle chapter of the Open Angel Forum! There will be food and drinks while hearing 5 minute pitches from 6 start up companies. We’re planning for plenty of fun and time for networking – even a poker game. Register online here: Angels, Entrepreneurs, Service Providers.
November 11th – TechStars Investor Day, 9am: Ten exciting new companies from the TechStars class of 2010 in Seattle will give short eight minute presentations highlighting the business and investment opportunity. The style is fun and entertaining, it’s a different kind of pitch event that includes amazing opportunities for networking as well. This event is invitation only and registration is required. Please email email@example.com if you’d like to attend or if you have any questions.
I’m on a six week rhythm in Seattle for the three boards I’m on up here – Gist, BigDoor, and Impinj. While I don’t have them perfectly synced up, I’m hopeful that I will in 2011. In the mean time, today full of BigDoor and Gist.
It was an absurdly beautiful day in Seattle. When the sun is out, this place shines. The day started out at the new Founders Co-op office where BigDoor is located. It’s about 33% full but that’s going to change next week when TechStars Seattle begins and fills out the place. It’s great space, in a great location (near the new Amazon campus), and is covered with IdeaPaint.
Everything about the BigDoor meeting was great. It was a tight, focused two hours. Since we invested about six weeks ago, over 300 companies have signed up to try BigDoor’s system and I expect 10 will be in full production by the end of the month. If you are looking to add game mechanics to your site, it’s the easiest and fastest way to do it. They’ve just rolled out a new website that explains it, along with a refreshed / simple pricing model that is free up to 100k API calls / month. Oh, and they served sushi for lunch which just rocked.
I got a ride across town to Gist where we spent most of our time on the August and September product rhythms (Gist is now on a monthly product focus – everyone in the company focuses on one specific area of the product and the next two months are filled with goodness.) Gist has also refreshed their site – if you haven’t ever tried it or haven’t looked at it in a while, go give it a shot – it’s grown up nicely.
I’m off to LA for an Oblong board meeting tomorrow and lunch by their amazing in house chef followed by an appearance with Mark Suster on This Week in Venture Capital live at 2pm PST followed by some LaunchPad LA stuff that Mark has pulled together.
All of these companies are doing well so its a fun action packed two days on the east coast. And yes, I’m way over stimulated after a month in Homer with just Amy.
I’ll be in Seattle on Tuesday 4/6 for a bunch of meetings and am attending the Seattle Open Coffee Club meeting at 8:30am at Louisa’s on 2379 Eastlake Avenue E in Seattle. Andy Sack who runs the TechStars Seattle program is hosting and providing the coffee. We will both be answering any and all questions about TechStars Seattle, plus eating plenty of baked goods.
Last night we had the TechStars Boulder selection meeting where we chose the TechStars Boulder finalists. We’ll be notifying folks shortly. In the mean time, we’ve opened applications for TechStars Seattle.
Andy Sack, who runs the TechStars Seattle program, has several great blog posts up including How TechStars came to Seattle? and Help me spread the word on TechStars Seattle applications. The schedule for TechStars Seattle has also been posted.
I’m really excited about the Seattle program. The response from the Seattle entrepreneur, angel, and VC community has been incredible and reinforces that Seattle was absolutely the right choice for the third TechStars location.