map-dollars-vcCheck out this cool map, produced by The Atlantic in partnership with the Martin Prosperity Institute, which shows where venture capital dollars flowed in 2012.

As one would expect, the East and West Coasts have the biggest pockets, led, of course, by San Francisco/Oakland (No. 1) and San Jose (No. 2).

Based on the 2012 data, Seattle ranked 7th, with 3.3 percent of all venture capital dollars. (Seattle attracted $886 million in 2012, compared to more than $10 billion for Silicon Valley/San Francisco; $3.1 billion for Boston; and $2.2 billion for New York).

In fact, Seattle ranks between San Diego and Austin in terms of dollars invested. (Portland does not crack the top 20).

The chart comes out an interesting time, as we continue to debate whether there’s enough capital available for entrepreneurs in the Seattle region and whether the entrepreneurs here are going after enough home run opportunities. I’ve personally expressed concerns about the dwindling ranks of venture capital firms in the region, not to mention some dips in money, especially compared to New York and, at least during the first quarter, Portland.

Others have argued that there’s plenty of money at the ready for smart and talented entrepreneurs.

“There is an infinite amount of capital available for great ideas backed by great people. It is not true that there is not capital available,” argued Nick Hanauer, a partner at Second Avenue Partners, in Seattle on the GeekWire podcast this past weekend.

Zillow co-founder Rich Barton, an investor in companies such as Glassdoor, RealSelf and Avvo, agreed with Hanauer on the show. And he said stressed the big ideas emerging in Seattle, countering that with what he dubbed a “sell-out culture” in New York.

“I would way rather be investing here in Seattle and in Silicon Valley than in New York,” said Barton.

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  • founder

    A prominent early stage VC partner in SF recently told me they are open to investing in Seattle as much as they are any city and great ventures find a way but that the earlier stage the venture, the more they’d like to be able to invest locally so that they can provide more support and supervision.

    I think this sums up the quandary in Seattle. If you’re on fire, you can raise money from anywhere. If you’re pre market fit and just have a great hypothesis and core team, you’re probably more at risk of not having enough runway to figure it out than if you were in a town with more seed investment firms.

    Others will always retort “what deals did we miss?” but that’s like the not watering a garden in the spring and saying in the summer “look, good thing we didn’t waste that water in the spring, there’s no flowers here.”

    • johnhcook

      Well said. I agree with your assessment here.

      There is plenty of capital available for the very best entrepreneurs who’ve done it before. But what about the guy or gal who just left the UW and has a great idea; tons of passion; paying customers; etc., and just needs some more fuel to determine if they can hit some milestones?

      In some cases that money is there, but in many others it is not.

      Just seems to be a gap there. My contention is that the more seed capital that’s available, the more opportunities there are for the next generation of great companies to emerge, the home run successes that the VCs desire and the community needs.

      We’ve certainly had some of those, and, like Barton, I wouldn’t trade the Seattle tech ecosystem for NYC right now. That said, there is a capital issue here in my view.

      Love the garden analogy. Well said!

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