Seattle is the hub for Pacific Northwest entrepreneurial innovation. As you walk down the street, you’ll see Starbucks, a company founded here. Look up to the sky and you may notice a Boeing plane fly by— another company founded here. It’s no wonder entrepreneurs are flocking to Seattle to find talent, inspiration and a vibrant startup community. Though there were many places I considered building GiftStarter.com, I chose Seattle for the countless resources and benefits it provides entrepreneurs.
1. There’s a community of support.
If you talk to any startup founder in the Emerald City, they’ll tell you about the tight-knit community of entrepreneurs and startup enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking for feedback on an idea or an introduction to take your business to the next level, you can count on Seattle to be supportive of your endeavor. Every week, you’ll find a wide range of networking events and resources to help you build something incredible. Some of my favorites include Startup Poker 2.0 with Startup Haven, New Tech Seattle Meetups and Startup Grind. There's even a plethora of co-working spaces to choose from like the SURF Incubator, Impact Hub, WeWork and Galvanize.
2. You can find inspiration in nature.
When we embrace the outdoors and our natural surroundings, we often become more creative and have better ideas. In Seattle, we have beautiful lakes and mountains just a quick trip away. I find solace in nature and often use long walks and fresh air to recharge my batteries after a stressful week. You can, too by joining Geeks on a Trail, a startup community that goes on weekly nature walks together.
3. There’s a rich talent pool.
Giants like Amazon, Google and Facebook all have offices located in Seattle, and there’s a good reason for it. Seattle’s rich pool of tech talent makes it a great location to a build a technology product. At GiftStarter.com, we were able to find great talent just through networking and referrals from friends. In fact, we have some great talent-sourcing-related startups in Seattle, like Jobscan and JobWorthy.
4. Investors offer more than just funding.
Seattle has a community of angel investors who are not only investing in the future of technology but able to provide great insight to budding entrepreneurs. In Seattle, I’ve been able to raise funds for my company and learn from so many experts with great advice to share. Some great pitch events you can participate in include Angels, Startups, Pitches & Beers, Seattle Angel Fund, and The Alliance of Angels. Seattle also has some active venture firms, like Maveron, Trilogy Equity Partners, Ignition VC, Vulcan VC and Founders’ Co-op.
But beyond funding, you’ll find there’s a legacy of experience building great companies — both consumer and enterprise. Along with Starbucks and Boeing, Seattle is the home of Nordstrom, Microsoft, Amazon, Julep, Porch, Clarisonic, butter London, Twilio, Costco and REI. Many early investors placed big bets on these companies; many experts helped build them from the ground up; many early customers were a part of the amazing journey.
5. People always come first.
With all of this amazing history and innovation everywhere I turn in Seattle, what I really appreciate about the Seattle startup community is the focus on people, whether they be customers, partners, entrepreneurs, mentors or investors. Here, people bet on people. One of our investors once said, “Reputations are hard to come by, but easy to lose.” I’d contend that, to date, all of GiftStarter.com’s early investors have been 99 percent attributed to the people involved with the company. Most investors, whether early or later stage, are betting on people who they believe in and want to work with. Lasting relationships are an important part of the culture in Seattle.
I’m proud to be building a business in Seattle, and I recommend the city wholeheartedly for any company looking for a startup hub to be successful in.
Originally posted in The Huffington Post.