Seattle is known worldwide for its robust startup ecosystem. But just across Lake Washington, there’s another entrepreneurial hub brewing.
That would be Bellevue, home to tech giants like Expedia, Concur, and T-Mobile, but also to more than 1,000 up-and-coming startups. Bellevue Mayor John Stokes and Councilmember Lynne Robinson kicked off GeekWire Startup Day today in their hometown, touting the city’s growing startup scene.
“We decided to have Startup Day here in Bellevue after our economic development team met with many startups over the past year and heard that the community wanted more opportunities to come together and trade notes on what it takes to successfully launch a business,” Stokes said.
The City of Bellevue, the presenting sponsor of GeekWire Startup Day 2015, recently put together a map of all the Bellevue startups here. There are established companies like Limeade and OfferUp, but Robinson noted the newer startups sprouting up in town. Nearly 13 percent of the city’s startups have been operating for less than a year, and another 15 percent have been around for 1-to-2 years.
“Bellevue has always been known for its large established corporations, but when I came onto the council two years ago, I could sense this buzz in the air — it was this energy of new ideas and new companies forming and networking,” Robinson said on stage today.
Robinson added that she expects 5,000 more startups to launch in Bellevue by 2019. She also noted the city’s three incubators and the Global Innovation Exchange (GIX), a new Bellevue-based technology institute opening later this fall as an equal partnership between University of Washington and China’s Tsinghua University, with the initial help of $40 million from Redmond-based Microsoft.
Aside from her civic duties, Robinson is also an entrepreneur, running a physical therapy business.
“What’s really unique about Bellevue startups is the collaborative energy,” she said. “As a small business owner myself, I know that when my industry succeeds, my business prospers.”
GeekWire Startup Day is the preeminent startup conference in the Pacific Northwest — bringing together entrepreneurs, investors, tinkerers and builders for a day of discussion, inspiration and learning about the startup journey. Check back on GeekWire for more updates from today’s speakers.