City of Seattle

Ed Murray, Mayor


SUBJECT:   Mayor's Office launches Startup Seattle Initiative to support local technology startup community growth
5/9/2013  11:00:00 AM

Mayor's Office launches Startup Seattle Initiative to support local technology startup community growth
City will hire startup business liaison, connect high school students with local technology opportunities and develop innovation hubs

SEATTLE - Leaders of Seattle's startup community and the city of Seattle have teamed up to launch Startup Seattle, an initiative to support the growth of the Seattle technology startup community and establish Seattle as an internationally recognized home for emerging technology companies. Today, Mayor Mike McGinn hosted a press conference to announce the group's action plan at the downtown Seattle headquarters of Zillow, one of Seattle's most successful startups in recent years.

"Startup companies are an important part of Seattle's innovative local economy," said McGinn. "That's why we are working hard to support startup businesses that could turn in to the next Microsoft or Amazon. I thank all of our partners in this work to help support our local economy, which is growing faster than the rest of the region, state and country."

"Economic recovery doesn't happen all on its own and this initiative is consistent with Council's economic recovery resolution calling for actions that make it easier to do business in Seattle," said Councilmember Richard Conlin.

During the next year, the City plans to hire a startup business sector liaison, relaunch the resource website, form partnerships with local organizations such as and Startup Weekend to increase access and connect high school students with local technology opportunities, and develop a marketing campaign to help attract talent to Seattle from across the country. In addition, the City will continue to support "innovation hubs" that make neighborhoods more attractive to early-stage technology companies and initiate a market assessment of real-estate needs for startups that will be used to guide new transit-oriented development in the University District.

"Designating the University District as an 'innovation hub' will create a magnet for tech companies of all sizes, and terrific opportunities for companies, students and faculty. The University of Washington already is the region's educational hub and a great source of entrepreneurship; adding flexible low cost office space and other amenities will make the U- District an extremely desirable area for technology innovation," said Ed Lazowska, Bill & Melinda Gates Chair of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington. "The City put a stake in the ground to do something really important and the time is right for this kind of transformation."

Seattle already offers significant resources for technology companies such as an internationally recognized computer science program at the University of Washington, a vibrant tech community and an unmatched quality of life that is significantly more affordable than in the San Francisco Bay Area or New York City.

Many of Seattle's iconic companies such as Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon and Costco were venture-backed and put Seattle on the startup map. Today, Seattle's technology startup community is comprised of more than 700 companies such as Big Fish, DocuSign, Tableau, Zillow and zulily. Seattle's entrepreneurs are a significant and growing segment of the local economy and Startup Seattle will create an even more robust environment for them and future generations.

"Seattle's current economic success was built by prior generations of entrepreneurs who chose to build their companies here such as Bill Boeing, John Nordstrom and Craig McCaw's namesake companies to Bill Gates with Microsoft, Howard Schultz with Starbucks, Jim Sinegal and Jeff Brotman with Costco, and Jeff Bezos with Amazon," said Chris DeVore, co-founder and general partner at Founders' Co-op. "Innovation is the bedrock of our culture and the entire Seattle community is working together to ensure that we attract and support the next generation of entrepreneurs."

The advisory group that worked with the City to create the Startup Seattle initiative was comprised of the following individuals:

  • Amy Bohutinsky, Zillow
  • Marcelo Calbucci, EveryMove
  • John Cook, GeekWire
  • Chris DeVore, Founders Co-op/TechStars Seattle
  • Emer Dooley, University of Washington/Alliance of Angels
  • Greg Gottesman, Madrona Venture Group
  • Seaton Gras, SURF Incubator
  • Ed Lazowska, University of Washington
  • Amy McCullough, Trilogy Partnership
  • Omri Mor, Ziibra
  • Marc Nager, Startup Weekend
  • Marcus Womack, Familiar

A smaller advisory group will continue to support the initiative going forward, including several of the individuals above as well as representatives from Microsoft, Google, and Amazon Web Services.

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Office of the Mayor