It is one of the ongoing mysteries of the Seattle startup community. With all of the wealth created over the years at companies such as Amazon, Expedia, Microsoft, F5 and others, why aren’t there more folks recycling their cash in startup companies?
Over the past few months, that’s been a hot topic of discussion on GeekWire. Adeo Ressi of The Founder Institute expressed his bewilderment by the sheer lack of angel investment in Seattle, noting in a GeekWire story a few months ago that “there are a lot of rich people here. So, there’s no reason why there shouldn’t be more angel investing.”
And just last week Seattle 2.0 founder Marcelo Calbucci stressed that more needs to be done to get Microsoft millionaires off the sidelines, participating in the startup community as angel investors and mentors.
Now, comes a blog post from Chris DeVore of Founder’s Co-op who – in a little more polite language than the headline above — wonders why the people who’ve met with so much success in the Seattle tech community have chosen not to pump a portion of that money into startups versus hedge funds, real estate, foundations or wine collections.
If I could wave a magic wand and change one thing about our local community, it would be to turn every Microsoft and Amazon alum who walked away with at least $5MM in personal net worth into an angel investor.
It is a great wish, and more needs to be done to make it happen.
We’ve had some great suggestions here at GeekWire to help light a spark. We’re toying with a new event series that could help foster additional exposure for startup companies and the angels who fund them. (Stay tuned for more on that).
One reader even suggested that we profile a relatively unknown angel investor once a month. I love the idea. But after bouncing it off a few people, I realized there just aren’t enough angels out there who would want to have their stories told.
After all, angels in Seattle –perhaps going back to the region’s Scandinavian roots — like to keep a relatively low profile.
But it is time to break some (not all) of those ties to the past, with DeVore and others helping to lead the charge. In a plea on his blog this week, DeVore writes:
Who among the many thousands of Microsoft and Amazon multimillionaires currently on the sidelines will step forward to help build the next generation of tech giants here in the Pacific Northwest? Raise your hand and I’ll do everything I can to connect you with the early-stage community here, and to share the joy I feel every day chasing big dreams about the future with the smartest and hardest-working people I’ve ever met.
Seems like it is the right time for someone or a group of people to step forward. There’s certainly opportunity brewing, and money to be made. After all, wouldn’t someone like to be the Ron Conway, Fred Wilson or Vinod Khosla of Seattle?