Madrona_LogoSince 1995, Tom Alberg and the rest of the crew at Seattle venture capital firm Madrona have bankrolled startups from some nondescript offices at 1000 2nd Avenue.

But that will change come September 30th as Madrona — an investor in companies such as Cheezburger, Redfin, SNUPI and Jama Software — moves into new digs. They are not moving far — basically across the street to the 34th floor of the Wells Fargo Building at  999 3rd Ave.

“We looked all over and we also looked at where our companies were located. In the end Wells Fargo offered us a central location at the square footage we wanted and it was a space we could create from scratch,” said Madrona’s Erika Shaffer.

The new space will put the investment team on one floor, and it is about 30 percent larger than the old offices. It will also include some high-tech touches, as well as use reclaimed Madrona wood in the design.

Why the boost in office space?

Shaffer tells us that it will enhance the firm’s ability to host more entrepreneurs with short-term space, something that Madrona has done for years. In fact, startups such as Rover, Farecast, Skytap, Z2 and Placed all got rolling in the Madrona offices.

Madrona raised a $300 million venture fund last year, the largest in the firm’s history.

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  • Bryan Starbuck

    This is a great move by Madrona. This is a great way for VC firms to nurture companies and encourage their growth.

  • SeriouslyMadrona

    So basically moving even further away from entrepreneurs… Major difference between VCs in Seattle and VCs elsewhere. Here they tend to reside in the commercial/finance areas far away from startups. I mean come on 34th floor of the Wells Fargo building? VCs in the valley for example, share offices in non-descript 2 story buildings right next to startups, regardless if they invested or not. If Madrona had moved to something like Pioneer Square or South Lake Union that’d be news.

    This is a VC putting up more barriers between itself and startup founders. The mentality and ego matches those on Wall Street and MBAs who are smart enough to be greedy, but not smart enough to start a company themselves. You see these people need recognition of their success to validate themselves because they compete with all their Harvard or Stanford classmates that make more than they do. Real entrepreneurs turned VCs would rather slum it in the trenches than flaunt their wealth and status in an ivory tower.

    You want good investors, look elsewhere.

    • lulz

      Most VC’s in the valley are in places like Menlo Park or Palo Alto which ONLY have two story buildings… Also, the article said they are moving “across the street”, so they’re not moving far from where they already were…

      Did you not read the article? the move “will enhance the firm’s ability to host more entrepreneurs with short-term space, something that Madrona has done for years”. That sounds pretty entrepreneur-friendly to me.

    • Kevin Nakao

      The Wells Fargo is right across from the Surf Incubator, which has a very high concentration of start-ups. The Madrona team is also out at GeekWire events, Start-up weekends, Tech Stars, and many of the 9Mile events I was fortunate to be a part of.

    • Thomas R.

      +1 on this. I think Madrona really had the opportunity to become more accessible and help build the Seattle startup ecosystem. They do a fine job of engaging with the community, but imagine how great it would be if they were Pioneer Square in their own building, right off the street.

      The real issue here is not how entrepreneur friendly the firm is, but how accessible it is. Locating your office downtown, where parking is a nightmare and making entrepreneurs go through several gatekeepers is a textbook corporate power positioning play. It lumps the firm in with the corporate life that most entrepreneurs want to get away from. A nice view may impress the corporate types but startup people could care less.

      Take a page from Founder’s Co-op, it’s not about you, it’s about the startups you invest in.

  • Paul Uhlir

    That building has good MOJO – spent my first years selling clicks for Go2net there. Thousand years ago.

  • Seattle Office SpaceS

    As a professional who helps companies find office space, technology start-up tenants do not want to be in WFC. It is certainly a high quality Class A building, so this is not to disparage WFC whatsoever. It is all about attracting talent and retaining the talent you have. Finding ‘cool’ tech space where highly sought after talent wants to spend time is a key criteria for recruitment. WFC simply lacks the character that these businesses desire. I applaud Madrona for creating more space to nurture start-ups. If Madrona offers ‘free rent’ for these incubators as I think they do, it is still bonus for a young company to consider. But when funding arrives and they need to hire people, they will be looking to vacate to better space as soon as possible.

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