Our neighbor to the north– Nikolas Badminton of Freelancer.com, with their North American HQ up in Vancouver, BC–contributed this guest post and perspective on the Seattle startup scene, highlighting local entrepreneurs.
Seattle has always been a pioneering business force that is a formidable rival to Silicon Valley. It’s comes down to Seattleites thinking smarter, building great businesses, making investment go further, and finding new ways to make that seed and venture money work harder. Here are four steps to help you think about how to do that.
Make the leap: One significant advantage of living in the Seattle area is access to very well-paid jobs. That comfort can stall a move to independence, but you might also consider it an advantage. Earn good money, save, work on your idea on the side and prepare to find a team to take your idea to the next level. Arry Yu, CEO of Giftstarter, made the leap under a year ago:
“Seattle is a very supportive community – and a small one. There is so much capital and energy being put back into the Seattle startup community everywhere I turn; the list of people, investors, meetups, supporting Seattle is amazing.”
Build flexible teams: Businesses often need to find talent fast, bridging many skills. Some skills may only be needed for a few days, which an on-demand talent model can solve. San Francisco, New York City, and Los Angeles lead this trend (source: Freelancer.com), and they are also gaining significant VC investment (source: National Venture Capital Association).Seattle is not that far behind, with more businesses in the area heading towards an on-demand model, with an 18% year-on-year growth. That means the $1.5 billion in total VC investment in 2014 can be stretched further.
“Seattle balances two amazing traits: we care about the underdog and we love a good success story! Ideas pop up out of nowhere in this town. We innovate every day to solve little problems and big ones. Seattle has a constantly morphing population, unbelievable culture, and a more welcoming community in tech than you’d believe!”
Build exceptional products: Most startups race to a minimum viable product (MVP), launch and often falter soon after. Rand Fishkin, founder of Seattle-based Moz, has some great advice about creating the right product:
“You want people to get religious about their love for what you’ve built – so much so that they devote real time to evangelizing your company. You want an EVP – an Exceptional Viable Product.”