“There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. The triumph of anything is a matter of organization. If there are such things as angels, I hope that they are organized along the lines of the Mafia.” – Kurt Vonnegut.
Depending on who you ask, the Seattle startup ecosystem is weak and/or young. Fundraising can be tough. And with Tony Wright headed South, the Bay just got stronger.
Here’s a start: I will reinvest 5 percent of any personal wealth gained from an exit into my local startup community.
Richard Luck (LikeBright), Buster Benson (HabitLabs), Todd Hooper (Zipline Games), Tom Staples (CoolerPlanet), John Scrofano (NearlyWeds), Enrico Mills (MyLifeIsAverage), Cameron Wheeler (ZappBug), Keith Smith (BigDoor), Rand Fishkin and Gillian Muessig (SEOMoz), Kabir Shahani (Appature), Scott Ruthfield (Rooster Park), Dave Parker (Bundled), Dan McCarty (CrystalCommerce), Sean Power (Decibel Festival), Todd Sawicki (Cheezburger Network), Bob Crimmins (MoonTango), David Aronchick (Hark), Giri Sreenivas (Mobilisafe), Peter Hamilton (HasOffers), Robi Ganguly (Apptentive), Ryan Morel (PlacePlay), Mikey Tom, Chris Lynch (North by Nine), Nick Hughes (Seconds), Andy Boyer (Relaborate), Ian Sefferman (AppStoreHQ), Scott Dodson (Bobber) and Nick Huzar (OfferUp) have made the same commitment.
The holes in this plan make it an easy promise to make. Most startups fail, so what’s 5 percent of zero?
Our 5 percent isn’t going to make or break our bank accounts or the Seattle startup ecosystem. And it’s not going to stop us or anyone else from moving elsewhere if that’s what’s best for our companies.
To this I say – yep.
I know I can build a great company. I hope I can do it here. And if it wasn’t for the support of Seattle angels like Kim Rachmeler, Dave Schappell, Bharat Shyam – and Andy Sack and Chris DeVore through the TechStars program – I’d have no shot. LikeBright would be just another parked URL, the tech equivalent of Langston Hughes’ dream deferred.
If I ever get to the other side of the table, I hope to do for new entrepreneurs what these folks have done for me. Besides, angel investing looks like fun. I might even make some money.
I’m too fat for a soapbox these days. But if this looks like fun to you too, consider making a similar pledge. We have dreams to make real, and Yuri Milner isn’t walking through that door. The only way up is us.