Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

For per capita startups, Seattle no better than Wilmington DE

Ok, so that’s a bit alarmist, but according to a study by The Brookings Institution, that’s a fact.

Apparently, Seattle has only 3x the average US First Fundings per Capita. As a comparison, San Francisco down to Redwood City is nearly 25x. (OK, maybe that’s gerrymandering the results a bit to fit the thesis — should Everett really have been included in the Seattle-area metric?) And then of course there’s the problem of much smaller denominators:

Via Brookings Institution


I’ve been impressed with the many efforts to stimulate entrepreneurial activity in Puget Sound (Techstars, AoA, @Geekwire, Madrona Mentors, a host of Super Angels, etc.), and there’s no shortage of discussion of the perceived startup lag vs. Silicon Valley.

I’m not sure what’s more shocking, that SF is 8x+ Seattle, or that we’re so much closer to places like Charleston.

Research on founders I’d like to see

There was an article in HBR today debunking the (apparently) commonly held belief that Founders are college dropouts from STEM majors in close proximity to a Stanford-like institution. I don’t think anyone in the startup community really believes that, but perhaps that’s the mainstream view.  Anyway, that successful entrepreneurs aren’t age-bound isn’t news:

Against all stereotypes, we found that the typical successful founder was 40 years old, with at least 6-10 years of industry experience. Twice as many successful entrepreneurs are more than 50 as under 25.

There are a lot of potential reasons for this: judgement; well-developed talent networks; domain expertise; broad customer and partner networks; previously built up wealth; managerial skill for when the business grows to more than a handful of people; stability in life outside of work, etc.  Being more experienced is incredibly valuable to the Entrepreneur, provided s/he is open to new ideas and willing to work hard.

But some Founder research I would like to see:

  • What about repeat founders? Does going through the goat rodeo before help?
  • Do older founders have a different relationship with investors?
  • Does the founding CEO replacement rate differ depending on age?
  • Do younger founders, who are closer in age to early adopters, have a better product intuition, and are able to get to product:market fit faster?
  • I don’t know how you’d measure it, but I do wonder whether younger founders are more disruptive in their thinking because they’re less skeptical.
  • Is the whole notion of a singular Founder really appropriate anyway? Is it more about the composite skills/talent of the founding Team.