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To help quantify the recent history of the Seattle technology ecosystem in visual form, Madrona Venture Group and the Washington Technology Industry Association today unveiled the “Seattle Tech Universe” map, a massive outline of more than 600 local tech companies in Washington.

What’s unique about this particular map is that it shows how past employees from local companies like Microsoft and Amazon or students and professors from institutions like the University of Washington went on to launch their own startups.

Photo via Kevin Lisota.
Photo via Kevin Lisota.

The map is reminiscent of those route maps you find inside in-flight magazines, with the airline’s hub airports standing out because they have the most activity coming in and out — in this case, it’s tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon that have the most connections to other companies, with former employees going on to launch their own startups.

The WTIA helped create a similar map in 2009 and this is the most recent update. Madrona said today that in the past eight years, more than $450 billion of wealth has been created in the region, and more than $58.4 billion has been invested in companies.

“We learned that some things stayed the same but others did not,” said Madrona Managing Director Tim Porter. “Microsoft has been a huge innovation engine for our area — probably much more than even we realized. Amazon has grown considerably in scope since the last map as well.”

The map shows how Seattle’s tech world has evolved beyond just giants like Microsoft and Amazon, with others like Expedia, F5 Networks, RealNetworks, and aQuantive helping create their own ecosystems and as a result, more growth.

It also shows the importance of the UW’s computer science program, as well as new engineering centers in the region opened by a bevy of Silicon Valley companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google, and many more. WTIA said there are now more than 90,000 software developers in Seattle.

Here’s the criteria that a company needs to meet to be included on this list:

  • Company is in Washington state and is in the information technology and communications industry as its main business.
  • If the company is not in existence, it was an important step in other extant companies or was an important M&A for the region.
  • If the company’s main business is NOT information technology and communications, they have spawned companies clearly in that arena.
  • Company is capitalized as measured by the regular VC rounds or has raised outside seed funding recently or is clearly thriving as measured by employees, products, etc.
  • Large national or international companies who have opened engineering offices here.

Madrona and WTIA worked with a number of community members and sponsors to help with research for the map.

“It was also a great experience for us — we saw a whole group of people come together to help make this map as true a picture as possible,” Porter said. “These people were VCs, angels, entrepreneurs, city and state government, educators — it was a true testament to the strength of our community and the belief in the in future. I think this really shows that the people that come here, want to stay here, and there is a community of support here that bodes well for future growth.”

See the full map below and click the image to enlarge.

Editor’s note: GeekWire consulted on the project, providing data that was used in the creation of the Tech Universe map. Madrona and the WTIA also are supporting sponsors at tonight’s GeekWire Gala, where the map will be displayed. 

Click to enlarge.
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