Seattle Startup Week Speaks: What Makes Seattle so Great?

Going into Seattle Startup Week, sponsored by Chase for Business, I had a few self-set directives for getting niche content designed to help showcase the Seattle tech ecosystem. On the top of the list was to embed myself into the community as much as I could and dig into what the actual attendees at Seattle Startup Week had to say about the city.

I had never been to Seattle before, but I kept hearing that it was an incredibly inclusive, open minded community that fostered entrepreneurial growth and opportunity. Not to mention, it seems like nobody can mention Seattle tech without also mentioning Microsoft and Amazon: these two corporate entities, alongside others, have a direct impact on the very fabric and makeup of the tech being developed.

As I went around to the different events, I made it my mission to track down everybody from panel speakers all the way to average attendees who live and work in Seattle. Each of them got the same, two-part question: “What is it that makes the Seattle tech ecosystem noteworthy? What keeps you living and working in Seattle over another ecosystem like Silicon Valley?”

So, what makes Seattle so great? Well, I don’t want to spoil the fun of reading what these amazing entrepreneurs had to say, but if you ask me it’s the people. I’ve toured multiple tech ecosystems in the US, and truly none of them are like Seattle – it’s the epitome of unique.

Here’s what 12 different Seattle Startup Week attendees had to say about the city’s vibrant tech ecosystem:

  • “I think Seattle ends up being a refuge from Silicon Valley. They’re cut throat, but Seattle and the Northwest culture doesn’t foster that mentality. The most important thing for Seattle entrepreneurs isn’t the car they drive but their quality of life, and that impacts how we do business.” Maureen Jann, Director of Marketing at Point it Digital Marketing
  • “I moved here because Seattle has a great tech community and a reputation for great coffee: as a tech coffee startup this is the place to be. I actually moved specifically here from the UK.” Tyler Tate, Founder of Crema
  • “Seattle is empowering women to embrace an entrepreneurial lifestyle and community. All too often you see male oriented events. Even yesterday, I went to an angel and VC meeting and it was all male. I stood up, spoke up, and felt good about it. We’re trying to make leaps for our community by embracing that opportunity for women and I love it. ” Erica Van Eaton, cofounder of Ampt Animal
  • “I was already living here, which is a big part of why I decided to base our operations out of Seattle. But my cofounder was in San Francisco. We ultimately decided on Seattle because it was a good match with investors, quality of engineering for a cloud product is unmatched, and the work culture is more sustainable for a long term company.” Diego Oppenheimer, CEO and Founder of Algorithmia
  • “What’s great about our members is that they maybe came to Seattle during the first dot com boom, and now they’re ready to start their own thing. This city is a breeding ground for tech talent. People spend years at Microsoft or Amazon and get exposed to coding and tech. Then, they get the entrepreneur bug. We want entrepreneurs who bring industry into our building, and that’s what we get with Seattle.” Laura Rosmann, Campus Director at Galvanize Seattle
  • “Seattle has an incredibly supportive community, and founder to founder relationships are unparalleled. There’s a willingness to help and review documents, bounce ideas off of one another, and say ‘Hey I’m in a sticky situation, have you been here?’ People are willing and eager to help.” Britta Jacobs, cofounder of Zealyst
  • “I was in Boulder before, but moved to Seattle and connected with a huge group of female founders. We prop each other up and have events to check in on each other. It’s a very supportive community. Also, there are a lot of incredibly smart women who have broken off to do their own thing.” Gisella Walter, founder of Glamhive
  • “We already have enough tech to power the next wave of innovation. This next wave will be around the use of tech versus the creation of it. As I think about the future I see three key markets: wireless communications, IT and cloud computing, and retail. There’s not a place on earth that can compete with Seattle when it comes to leveraging these three markets in unison.” Enrique Godreau, Emerging Business Specialist in Seattle
  • “I started as a Microsoft guy and then went over to Amazon. I like the Seattle region because my family is here and there’s a good combination of high tech living and nature. It’s not too overbearing like New York City can be sometimes.” Dan Li, Cofounder and CEO of Guided Fitness
  • “What keeps us in Seattle is the pet community. It’s a really engaging community of pet parents that are willing to try new products and be early adopters. Also, Seattle is pretty open minded and accepting of new things, people, and positive lifestyles.” Scott Van Eaton, founder of Ampt Animal
  • “The cost of living in Seattle is much cheaper than other places like Silicon Valley. That’s huge for a startup that wants to bootstrap and effectively opens up the gates for more entrepreneurs to start a company. You also have bigger, corporate entities that are willing to help.” Yegor Nadvornyy, Financial Analyst at Microsoft
  • “Seattle is a very large, small city: you have the opportunity in a major tech hub, but with the community feeling of a smaller city. If you network and take the time to meet people, you’ll discover that you’re only a few degrees away from people you need to know.” Jonathan Gagliardoni, Senior Associate in Investments with Lighter Capital

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a Startup Week content series brought to you by Chase for Business. Startup Week is celebration of entrepreneurs in cities around the globe. Chase for Business is everything a business needs in one place, from expert advice to valuable products and services. 

Image Credit: I took this image

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Written by:
Will is a Senior Writer with Tech.Co, based out of America's Finest City: San Diego. He covers all territory West of the Mississippi river, digging deep for awesome local entrepreneurs, companies, and ideas. He's the resident Android junkie and will be happy to tell you why you should switch to the OS. When he's off the clock, Will focuses his literary talent on the art of creative writing...or you might find him surfing in Ocean Beach. Follow Will on Twitter @WJS1988
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