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Early-stage startup valuations rise, but so do ‘down rounds’

Typically, when things are going well in the startup world, venture capitalists optimistically boost valuations of early-stage companies to reflect the promise of the young fledglings. That’s exactly what’s going on right now for those companies raising money, with a new report out today from the law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati indicating that pre-money… Read More

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These 16 student-led upstarts are trying to transform mobile payments, farming and more

Entrepreneurial students from colleges and universities throughout the region competed Wednesday in the annual University of Washington Business Plan Competition Investment Round. More than 200 judges — many from leading companies and venture capital firms — whittled down the field from 36 to 16. We always get a kick out of seeing what types of companies… Read More

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The best and worst tax systems in the U.S. for entrepreneurs

Washington state has one of the best tax systems in the country when it comes to supporting entrepreneurship and small business, according to a report out this week from the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. Washington state, which has no income tax system, ranked fifth behind South Dakota, Texas, Nevada, and Wyoming. The bottom states included California,… Read More

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Kickstarter kids: Watch these Seattle teens pitch their new camera dolly business idea

Kickstarter is radically changing the way entrepreneurs think about raising money for their ideas. And in recent days we’ve seen some veterans of the Seattle gaming community take advantage of the crowdfunding sensation to great success. But Kickstarter is not just about grizzled startup vets pitching for cash. Meet Tyler Simpson and Brandon Keller. Simpson,… Read More

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The winner of the one-sentence startup pitch session is…

Can you summarize your startup company in one simple sentence? It may seem easy, but it’s hard to craft something punchy and memorable in a few words. As Mark Twain once famously quipped: “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” With that in mind, GeekWire and the Founder Institute asked entrepreneurs this… Read More

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Book excerpt: Making the Jump into Small Business Ownership

Editor’s note: Seattle area entrepreneurs David Nilssen and Jeff Levy provide practical advice and tips for those considering starting a new business in their book  “Making the Jump into Small Business Ownership.” “We are trying to educate and inspire individuals to be self-reliant,” says Levy, a founder of Windswept Capital and former executive at Flow International who is… Read More

Brian Wong listens to a pitch at The Startup Conference

Watch this 20-year-old entrepreneur rip these business plans apart

Call it the entrepreneurial school of hard knocks. More than a half dozen entrepreneurs were given the opportunity today to pitch their ideas on stage in less than three minutes at The Startup Conference in downtown Seattle. Sounds easy, huh? Well, you’ve probably never seen Brian Wong in action. The fast-talking, know-it-all 20-year-old founder of mobile startup… Read More

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Pub trivia with a tech twist? CrowdGame’s iPad app connects many players at once

Steve Cellini didn’t set out to create yet another mobile trivia app. After all, there are already plenty of those floating around. Instead, the Seattle entrepreneur and brains behind CrowdGame wants to transform the way people deliver trivia questions, removing the old-fashioned paper-and-pen systems that most folks have used for years. As Cellini sees it,… Read More

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MercyCorps connects geeks from Gaza to Seattle

We’ve got more than our share of tech-geeks here in Seattle. You know, the guys who work at startups, or Microsoft or Amazon, creating the next-generation of computer and web products. But we can’t claim geeks as our own. You’ll find them anywhere there’s an electric current and a connection to the Internet, even in… Read More

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Maker of the fastest espresso machine in the world perks up with $6.5 million in funding

Now here’s an entrepreneurial story that’s perfectly brewed for Seattle. Concordia Coffee Systems on Monday announced that it raised $6.5 million in fresh funding from Marker Hill Capital, Fluke Capital Partners, Swiftsure Capital and several Seattle angel investors, money that it will use to continue to develop and market its line of self-serve espresso machines. Concordia,… Read More

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Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman: Why you should do a startup right now (and not one in a ‘stinky, little niche’)

Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman is known for his colorful, erudite and oftentimes controversial remarks when it comes to startups, business and entrepreneurship. And so it was with some anticipation that I attended Kelman’s talk Monday night at the Get a Real Job Fair in Seattle. Kelman joked that he had a really juicy keynote in store until… Read More

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7 Tips: Convert readers of your blog into paying customers

Blogs are great at making your Web site visible and findable on search engines. Most entrepreneurs can do the work themselves or hire talent to make that happen. What’s a little more difficult to pull off is actually converting those visitors and readers to customers. I understand, because when I started off in this business… Read More

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15 New Year Resolutions for Entrepreneurs

I’m sure by now your 2012 plan, budget and professional objectives are baked and ready to go. Ideally, some of those objectives are reflected in your personal goals and New Year Resolutions as well. But for those still writing goals and resolutions, as well as the rest of you, here are several collected from business… Read More

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How to use marketing research tactics to grow your startup

When it comes to building a product that people will love and actually pay money to buy, you have to know your customer inside and out. Unfortunately too many entrepreneurs and startups are ignoring this very basic truth because they believe it costs too much money to gather market research. Others are ignoring it because… Read More

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Fifty gems for entrepreneurs thinking about making the leap

One of my favorite things about covering the technology community is the ability to tell the stories of entrepreneurs — the little upstarts that are trying to change the world. On GeekWire, we make a regular habit of featuring these folks through our regular Startup Spotlight profiles. It’s a fun column to put together, and I often… Read More

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Glassybaby founder Lee Rhodes chosen as Entrepreneur of the Year

Entrepreneur Magazine has chosen Glassybaby founder Lee Rhodes as Entrepreneur of 2011. She’s the first woman to receive the honor, and the first from the Pacific Northwest. The magazine, which plans to honor Rhodes and two others next month at a ceremony in California, says her mission of easing “the struggles of cancer patients makes… Read More

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Four tips for startup survival

It’s not a pretty picture. While sixty-six percent of new businesses will survive to the two-year mark, less than half will reach four years. And how they reach those four years is less than inspiring. Most are working their tail off to just keep the lights on. Despite those numbers, new businesses are started every… Read More

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Event highlights iPad stands, robots and other gadgets

Despite the release of Amazon’s new Kindle Fire and the success of Microsoft’s Kinect, Seattle at it’s core is very much a software town. That’s kind of why we were interested in a new event Wednesday night in Seattle’s Sodo district. The free event, hosted by Seattle tech guru Chris Pirillo, will feature four gadgets… Read More