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SURGE Launch managing member Eli Moreno
SURGE Launch managing member Eli Moreno

The latest accelerator to hit the Pacific Northwest is giving startups up to $80,000 in seed funding and pairing them with the likes of Gary Rubens and community partners like local colleges.

Tacoma, Wash.-based SURGE Launch was announced this week and will launch its first batch of companies in January.

“We’re all in this together,” SURGE Launch managing member Eli Moreno said. “We are in discussions with multiple stakeholders, across multiple disciplines, about the opportunity we have in front of us. Having strong, working relationships with community partners is in the best interest of entrepreneurism and the greater community.”

Moreno, CEO of Premier Residential, has an extensive background in launching startups, including e-commerce and online home rental companies. The project is an outgrowth of co-working space he helped found, SURGEtacoma, and aims to take advantage of Tacoma’s various tech talent pools, including The University of Washington’s Tacoma campus, the Tacoma Institute of Technology and other local tech firms.

The accelerator will give its companies between $20,000 and $80,000 of seed funding in return for a 9 percent equity stake. Mentors are also playing a big role in SURGE Launch’s accelerator program.

Startup vet and SURGE Launch mentor Gary Rubens speaking at the GeekWire Summit
Startup vet and SURGE Launch mentor Gary Rubens speaking at the GeekWire Summit

“The SURGE mentor pool is a mix of seasoned entrepreneurs, angel investors and venture capitalists that will have a direct equity stake on each company that they mentor,” said SURGEtacoma executive director Lee Reeves. “Our mentors have built companies, sold companies and invested capital into companies; we have a very diverse mentor program.”

One of those mentors is Gary Rubens, a big player in the Pacific Northwest startup scene. He, along with other mentors, will help the fledgling companies avoid common startup pitfalls and provide guidance on how to fit their products into an ever-evolving marketplace.

“This kind of hub of innovation and collaboration is vital to the growth of the startup and entrepreneurial growth of the Puget Sound,” Rubens said. “The time is right for Tacoma to participate and see a thriving startup ecosystem developed that will sustain the area into the future.”

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