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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
I’m heading out to Seattle for a board meeting and a few other things. Tonight, I’m going to be doing an event called Beers and Boulder with Brad. I’m going to talk about entrepreneurial communities, the critical importance of entrepreneurship and innovation today, TechStars, what we’ve done in Boulder to drive entrepreneurship that can apply to other cities such as Seattle, and why we are expanding TechStars to Boston. I’m then going to stick around until they kick us out answering any and all questions and talking with whoever wants to hang out.
The event was the idea of Dave Schappell of TeachStreet and TA McCann of Gist. They’ve done an awesome job making it easy for me to “just show up, talk, and answer questions.” Three great sponsors – Beacon Law Advisors, Square 1 Bank, and Microsoft BizSpark are underwriting the event.
If you are in Seattle and interested in startups, entrepreneurship, venture capital, or TechStars, I’ll be in Seattle having a party with up to around 150 people to talk about these topics. T.A. McCann of Gist and Dave Schappell of TeachStreet have pulled this together – we’ll be doing it on Wednesday February 25th from 6pm to 8:30pm at the Palace Ballroom at 2100 5th Avenue in Seattle.
I’m going to spend the evening talking about my views on entrepreneurship, especially around early stage companies in today’s environment. I’ll provide a detailed view of TechStars and how/why it’s been working, along with an explanation about how I think about early stage VC investing. The evening with be heavily Q&A oriented – I’m open to any questions about anything.
We’ll have beer (and food) at the event. There’s a $5.99 fee (admission plus one drink) which will be donated to Seattle-based Vittana, an early-stage non-profit lead by a small group of ex-Amazonians who are building an education microfinance company. The event cost is being kept to a minimum thanks to the generous support of:
- Beacon Law Advisors: Beacon works with startups — end of story. We’re a Seattle-based boutique firm of seasoned corporate, transactional, and technology attorneys who also have significant operating, in-house and entrepreneurial experience. Current clients include: MindBloom, TeachStreet, Vittana, and many more.
- The Microsoft Strategic & Emerging Business Team (SEBT) supports early stage and established software startups developing on the Microsoft platform. SEBT helps develop and grow local software economies worldwide through programs like Microsoft BizSpark, a global program for startups that provides fast, easy access to current full-featured Microsoft development tools and production licenses with no upfront costs and minimal requirements.
- Square 1 Bank specializes in providing financial services to entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. We help growing companies and their investors navigate financial obstacles by providing access to funds and expertise. Our customized product offerings and unrivaled team of venture banking specialists provide a banking experience designed exclusively for you. We are entrepreneurs serving entrepreneurs.
I’ve been a long time investor in companies in Seattle and have many friends there especially given all of my interactions with Microsoft dating back to 1990 when my first company – Feld Technologies – was a member of the inaugural Microsoft Solution Provider program. I’m currently on the board of Impinj and a personal investor in AdReady and Foundry Group is an investor in Smith & Tinker so we love to hang out in Seattle, especially when it’s sunny.
As a reader of this blog, if you are around, I’d love to see you so register and come have a beer with me and 150 of my new friends.