Jan 27, 2013

Act local and think global when raising capital

+John Cook recently wrote about yet another local Seattle entrepreneur choosing another city to start their venture "Why this Entrepreneur is moving..." . I think John and Geekwire are doing a great job working as a voice for the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Seattle and that voice is the glue needed to keep on improving the local ecosystem. +Andy Sack and Bill Bryant replied to John’s post making very good points that I agree with. Seattle is a fantastic place given our size, local GDP, population, etc. Do we need more angels? Absolutely, but there are also great angels in NY and CA and we probably need to go beyond our borders in WA to attract capital. We need to act local and think global as entrepreneurs.

I am an Angel investor, but also an entrepreneur and last December we raised a seed series for our company Jobaline. We got support from Madrona Ventures and from fantastic Seattle’s based Angels that are not only great investors, but also added value investors and they have been terrific at helping us with UX, Biz Dev or even GTM. A curious data point is that most investors are Amazon, Local entrepreneurs that succeeded or Facebook alumni. In raising our seed round I went to NY and the bay area, not because we ever thought about moving there, but because there is good capital there, good value added investors and some of our target customers are there. As a result, some of the money came from those areas, which is good for Seattle’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.

I know it feels like a tragedy to see one startup moving to another state, but there are also many good stories, investors from NY and CA investing here, firms like Madrona, taking a fresh approach to VC by providing more than money but also help with resources in the areas of Marcom, HR, Finance. We have many great programs like TechStars, Founders Institute or the Startup Leadership Program. There are also firms moving here from other states (our next door neighbor at our office in Kirkland is a firm moving here from NY because talent, cost of doing business, regulations, etc are better here).

We have the talent here for building, not the next copy cat Instagram, but solutions to real problems and capital from other states or countries will gladly come here if we show the path, As I recently told Xconomy, while the Bay Area is the capital of the consumer Web, “Seattle is the place for the Smarter cloud.”

CA recently enacted a retroactive tax affecting entrepreneurship and the Bay area has a  higher cost of living than Seattle, On the other hand, tech talent, GTM talent and quality of life are just fantastic in Seattle. I still give Seattle an A as per my previous infographic "Entrepreneurship in Seattle" and we should all welcome capital from CA, NY, Europe, Asia and many other places as this is a great place to build real solutions to real life problems in order to make a positive impact on society.

As entrepreneurs and investors we absolutely need to expand our thinking and go beyond Seattle’s boundaries when thinking about raising capital. But we need to mature our approach and go to those other cities and countries, not complaining about Seattle, but explaining why our specific venture is a good investment, why our team is the right one to deliver on the vision and why Seattle is such a great place for their investment.

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