TechStars Seattle in the South Lake Union neighborhood

TechStars will be looking to hatch companies in Seattle for the next three years, thanks in part to cash from some of the region’s leading venture capital firms. TechStars Seattle, the branch of the popular startup incubation program, has raised $1.5 million in new funding that will support up to 30 new companies over the next three years.

Madrona Venture Group led the funding, supported by Ignition Partners, Trilogy, Founder’s Co-op, Maveron, Voyager Capital and others. The cash is separate from the larger $24 million round that TechStars raised last fall.

“This is a real show of support that the model is working, and is valuable to the local ecosystem,” said Andy Sack, the Seattle angel investor and entrepreneur who leads the the organization from its South Lake Union base.

The TechStars Seattle outpost arrived in 2010, adding to other locations such as Boulder, Boston and New York City. To date, it has graduated two classes from the three-month startup bootcamp, producing companies such as Highlighter, Thinkfuse, Vizify and EveryMove.

Sack said it is too early to judge the success of TechStars from a financial standpoint.

Andy Sack (Randy Stewart photo)

“When I started this, (TechStars co-founder) Brad Feld told me that it was a five-year odyssey,” said Sack. “It was a huge step-up in impact between years one and two, and I expect a significant step-up this year.”

TechStars Seattle is currently accepting applications through June, with the next class to start the program in August.

Entrepreneurs who enter TechStars receive up to $18,000 in initial funding, giving up six percent of their companies. Starting this year, companies also have the option to take an additional $100,000 convertible note after being accepted into the program.

In Seattle, some have argued that there’s a lack of funding of early-stage companies, a gap that TechStars is trying to help fill.

“I think the impact has already been felt,” said Sack. “We just need more shots on goal, and more companies growing, and ultimately healthy exits.”

Sack, who is recovering from a battle with cancer, said he plans to return full-time to his role of managing TechStars Seattle for the summer class.

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  • Guest

    Congratulations to TechStars! It’s fantastic to see companies large and small rising in South Lake Union.

  • Kirill Zubovsky

    Very happy for TechStars and everyone involved. Andy, good luck!

  • Chris McCoy

    This is outstanding!!!!

  • Rayburt456

    Don’t blame them…don’t they get a large percentage of each company for very little money?  All upside for the VC firms who are just using other people’s money to gamble on startups with upsides….

    • Kyle Kesterson

      You must be new… Dig back a few articles about Techstars, there’s at least one of you in every bunch, and with that, there are always insightful responses from folks who have gone through the programs and their testimonials. It’s almost not worth repeating at this point. :)

      • Rayburt456

        Have no idea what your post means.  Attack my logic, don’t use ad hominem attacks.

  • StartupCity

    Congrats! This is huge for TechStars and great for Startups in Seattle ;-)

  • Kyle Kesterson

    Congratulations to the Techstars family! The guidance, support, and network built during the short, yet very dense program has helped pave the way for my entrepreneurial ventures. 

    It’s encouraging to see the specific list of financial supporters, as they were instrumental in their mentorship during the first two years of the program. They have gotten their hands dirty along with us, understand the program and its benefits, and have shown they believe in it by not only investing time, but capital as well.

    Now that Techstars Seattle has found its groove in the curriculum, established a fierce lineup of mentorship from the community, and upped the seed investment up to $118k, I’m excited to see which lucky few will be among the next class!

  • Roy Leban

    Great news! To Andy, Chris, and the rest of the TechStars Seattle team, kudos for both a successful program so far but for stepping back up to the plate for more at bats. To the VCs, thanks for supporting these companies, some of who would not be able to make it without your support. And, to the startups in the next class … make Seattle proud!

  • Bob Crimmins

    So terrific to see more fuel for the TechStars engine in Seattle.  Seattle continues to move up and to the right, especially these past few years and there are so many great things going on here (GeekWire among the best of them!)  But nothing has done more in such a short time to spur action, traction and visibility for Seattle than TechStars.  I don’t think it’s obvious from the outside how much commitment and hard work it takes from the teams, the mentors, the investors and, especially, from Andy and Kayla to pull off a TechStars semester.  Congrats and thanks to everyone who makes it happen!

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