Seattle's Top Venture Capital and Angel Investing Group
The Angel Kings Investment Group Inc.
Top 3 Startup Investors from Seattle, WA
1. michael kim
Recently Director with XBox LIVE and Co-Founder of Microsoft Surface, Michael Kim is a serial entrepreneur at building innovative social interactive platforms spanning Mobile, Social Gaming, Social Networking, Consoles, & Interactive TV. CEO and Founder of Habit Design, Michael has recently been a keynote speaker at the Game Developers Conference, Mobile Health, Games for Health, and Quantified Self conferences. Some of his investments include, Facebook, Twitter and Stamps.com.
2. Bob lesko
An alum of Yale University, Lesko is one of the most prominent investors who hail from Seattle. Startup industries that interest him include both the mobile and consumer internet startups. Some of his investments included: Evo.com, Lumier and RentMatch.
3. brad gillespie
Brad is a seasoned technology leader with over fifteen years of experience in engineering and product including spending time as the Technology Advisor to Microsoft's CTO. He is an early backer of companies including Redfin, Digital Ocean, Vectra Networks, NewsCred, x.ai, CareGuardian, and Transcriptic. He has been with IA Ventures since its inception. He holds a PhD from the University of Washington and is an Affiliate Professor at the University of New Hampshire. His investments include: Signifyd, BillGuard and RedFin.
The Top 5 Startups From Seattle, WA
Don't be surprised that Amazon made this list! Jeff Bezos did have to start somewhere, and so, once upon a time, Amazon was a startup company. Fast forward to the present day, Amazon has become an e-commerce giant where most online shoppers tend to go for everything and anything they need to buy online. Amazon is a strong example of how successful companies learned how to adapt and survive over time to meet the demands of the consumer. From booksellers to online retailers, Amazon is the best success startup story that came out of Seattle.
Between Amazon and Starbucks, it was very difficult to pick #1 and #2! Starbucks managed to capitalize, brand and monopolize the most consumed legal drug in America: caffeine. What started out as a simple partnership between coffee and convenience at a small Seattle location, now grew to be a cultural evolution for coffee drinkers today, where even teenagers can proudly walk with an easily recognizable white and green Starbucks coffee cup. Expanding their coffee line-up to include pastries, smoothies, sandwiches and frozen coffee drinks, Starbucks is a very close second to one of the best success startup stories that came out of Seattle.
Another startup success story, Zulily is an e-commerce flash sale company, whose initial public offering valued the company at $2.6 billion. Known for holding no inventory in their warehouses, Zulily was clever to target a specific audience that allowed their company to grow and advertise itself: mothers. More specifically, "tech-savvy mothers" who mostly ordered Zulily merchandise from their smartphones.
As the Big Data sector becomes more and more popular among businesses, marketing analytics are becoming hot commodities by business owners everywhere. Meet Moz, a SaaS software from Seattle. Moz offers their customers marketing analytic software that provides insight on a company's SEO campaign, webpage ranking and webpage keyword popularity ranking.
Ever wondered what's the value of your house over a given period of time? Or your neighbor's house? Or your boss's house? Ever wonder which neighborhoods in your area have better real estate value than yours? Well, Zillow can help you. Zillow is another startup success story from Seattle, where it provided an online database of real estate information to consumers. So far, Zillow has real estate data readily available on 110 million homes across the country. Now, that's a lot of houses!
What Do These 5 Top Startups From Seattle Have In Common?
1. A person (or team) instead of an idea
When considering what kind of startup an investor will fund, it's vital to look at the person (or team) behind the startup, not just the idea that has been created for the business. An idea that revolutionizes an industry is a wonderful thing, but it won't get off the ground unless the right people are behind it. Some people have "it," and others don't. The people who do are the people investors want to work with. They operate different from others, and they have characteristics and traits that just aren't seen in the overall population.
2. A product that will stand up to the test of time
Despite the importance of people in the creation and development of a startup idea, the product also has to be a good one. It's unrealistic to think that an investor will put money into a startup with a good product idea but poor leadership. It's also unrealistic to assume that investor will provide funding for a startup run by great people, but who have a product that is not going to hold up to scrutiny. Startup products (or services) have to be the best. They need to be new, innovative, and also timeless in a way.
Even if people aren't sure if they need what the product does, if they find it interesting or think it might be useful, they'll buy it and give it a try. That's what investors are looking for – a product that people will buy and try for a long time to come. As time advances the product may have to change and evolve, but the overall plan and design for it should be one that holds up to the test of time. It can't be so unique that it won't be viable in 5 or 10 years, but yet it has to be different enough that people won't pass it over because it looks like the same thing they can get everywhere else.
3. A founder with integrity and trustworthiness
Building on the idea of people instead of ideas, an investor will also be looking for a couple of important qualities in the founders of startups: integrity and trustworthiness. Both of those traits need to be there, and in large amounts, for an investor to feel comfortable putting money into a company. Startup founders who have integrity can be relied upon to mean what they say, and to say what they mean. They know that they have something important going on, but they also know that they need help and investment dollars to make it happen. They aren't going to lie to investors to try to get money, and they aren't going to waste an investor's time.
They also won't waste their own time or talents with others who are not serious about what they are doing. These kinds of founders are serious about the development of their product or service, and they seek to work with those who feel the same way. They want to succeed, and they know they can succeed, if they get the funding and the guidance they need. They're willing to take direction, and willing to listen, but they won't give up the vision they have for their work. Meeting their goals is important to them, and they aren't the kinds of people who make empty promises. If they say they'll do something, they do it.
4. A level of risk that everyone understands
The level of risk that comes with investing can vary greatly. It depends on the type of business being created, the actual product or service that the company is developing, how much funding is needed, what that funding will be used for, the abilities of the founders, and other factors. These are all issues that have to be considered, and there is no true level of risk that is acceptable or unacceptable – it's all what the investor decides he or she wants to take on, and it can be anything from almost no risk to a high risk.
5. A completed, comprehensive business plan
Many business plans are for five years, although some can be for 10. It's hard to design a business plan that goes beyond that, because so much can change in that length of time. While businesses want to have a good plan based on where they're going, that plan has to be flexible enough to allow them to adapt and change as conditions warrant. The plan also has to be realistic. It's one thing to spell out where a startup plans to be in five years, but how's it going to get there? What are the specific steps it will take to make sure it arrives at its desired location?
If the founders of the startup don't know the answers to those questions, they aren't ready to look for investors yet. They need to go back to the drawing board and focus on what they’re doing, so they can find a way to build their business realistically. It's not easy, but if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Startups come with a lot of work and a lot of risk – but they can also come with amazing rewards if they're handled correctly. Taking time to create a comprehensive and detailed business plan might not seem "cool," but it's a requirement for startups that want to be taken seriously, and that want to attract significant investment dollars.
Startups can't just "wing it," and good investors know this. The business plan can be key to answering investor questions, and helping them determine if the startup is somewhere they want to put their money. For startups that aren't sure where they're headed, a business plan can also help develop clarity. That will help the company and any potential investors make better decisions.
What Are The Best Online Resources For Seattle Startups To Use?
Your volume acting funny? Follow along below to learn more about Ross Blankenship's discussion on some of the best online resources for startups:
"Well, we've got our own blog. It's called The Startup Hunt, which we're very proud of it. It gives you an inside look at some of the top ranked cyber security, top ranked biotech, healthcare, mobile startups. We're very proud of The Startup Hunt, but there are other wonderful blogs, very interesting ones.
Timothy Ferriss, who is the author of The Four Hour Workweek, did an excellent job putting together a counter-intuitive, a brilliantly written, not only books that he's written, but also a blog about understanding and breaking free from the traditional workplace mentality. We like Timothy Ferriss's blog, the Four Hour Workweek Blog.
I'm also a huge fan of Fred Wilson, who's got AVC.com, and it's a wonderful analytical blog that give you insight into how venture capitalists think and also trends into startups. He was an investor in Twitter and some of the very cool ... through Union Square Ventures, some very cool startups. Those are some good ones.
I also think that you've got to not just understand blogs per se, but go look at Product Hunt who has a great podcast about some of the cool products. Tech Crunch, clearly, has been a long-time name in this space, so Tech Crunch is another one, but between those, I think those are great starts for podcasts, blogs, and general analysis of great startups."