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The DL - An inside view into Pacific Northwest Tech

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Welcome to The DL, a weekly newsletter about tech, startups, and investing in the Pacific Northwest.
 
August 26 · Issue #10 · View online
The DL
Welcome to The DL, a weekly newsletter about tech, startups, and investing in the Pacific Northwest.
This week’s issue has founding stories from some of the fastest growing companies in the PNW, a great example of AI for marketing, and a free link to Yale’s most popular course ever.

If you have thoughts, questions, or comments, hit reply - I’d love to hear from you! 👋 Referred by a friend? Sign up here.

PNW highlights from the Inc. 5000 ⭐
Founders of ConvertKit, Skinny Dipped, and Rad Power Bikes
A couple weeks ago, Inc. released its list of the 5,000 fastest growing companies in the US, so I wanted to highlight a few of the best PNW founding stories. If you want to see more, here’s the full list, where you can filter by industry, state, and city.

📧 ConvertKit - In 2013, Nathan Barry (age 23) gave himself six months to start a business that could reach $5K in monthly revenue. He built an email marketing platform, and five years later, the company has 25K customers and ~$18M in annual recurring revenue (they publish their metrics on this site).

🌰 Skinny Dipped - After the death of a family friend in 2012, Breezy Griffith and her mom Val decided to start a business, so they could spend more time together. By 2014, they perfected a formula for a lightly coated chocolate-covered almond, and in 2018, they made $10.2M in revenue.

🚴‍♀️ Rad Power Bikes - In 2007, Mike Radenbaugh (age 15) built himself an electric bike to get to school. People heard about the bikes, and he started selling them to pay for college. After graduation in 2015, he pre-sold $320K of bikes on Indiegogo, and this year, Rad is expecting $30M in revenue.

Great use of AI for marketing 👏
I love this marketing campaign that Ogilvy worked on for Deutsche Bahn (German Rail) - such a cool use of computer vision, Facebook data, and targeted ads. Here’s a summary of what they did:

Goal: Convince the 72% of Germans who travel abroad for holidays to travel domestically instead
  1. Use a lookalike algorithm on Getty stock photos to identify German locations that look like international landmarks
  2. Use Facebook to target people who are interested in specific travel destinations
  3. Calculate how much it costs to train to the German location vs. fly to the international location
  4. Create a custom video ad for each customer based on their travel preferences and current location
  5. Profit! 24% increase in revenue from this campaign

Is there a startup idea in here somewhere? 🧐 I think so…

Other stuff I've been talking about
Cool photo of the viaduct from r/Seattle
🏢 WeWork IPO - Don’t worry! I’m not going to write another WeWork article. Just sharing a pointer to my favorite write-up on the IPO
🙎 49% - Deloitte says 49% of millennials will quit their jobs in the next two years. And the best new way to find your next job is become a ‘mintern’ (middle-career intern)
😊 PSYC 157 - Speaking of unhappy millennials… Yale’s most popular class ever teaches you how to be happy, and it’s free on Coursera
💰 Are you rich? - The New York Times has an interactive article that tells you if you’re rich. Apparently most people are (positively!) surprised by their results

Please hit reply! (Or subscribe or forward!)
About me: I work as an investor at Madrona Venture Group, a Seattle-based venture capital firm that has been early partners with companies like Amazon, Smartsheet, Apptio, and Redfin.
I’m writing this to connect with other people who are interested in what’s going on in PNW tech, so if you have thoughts, questions, or comments, hit reply - I’d love to hear from you! 👋

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