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The DL - An inside view into Pacific Northwest Tech

Welcome to The DL, a weekly newsletter about tech, startups, and investing in the Pacific Northwest.
October 21 · Issue #18 · 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 an overview of the Alexa Accelerator startups, a report on tech talent in the Pacific Northwest, and the next BIG thing in toilet tech.

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🎓 2019 Techstars Alexa Accelerator companies
photo cred - @adamsbj
photo cred - @adamsbj
Last week was demo day for the Alexa Accelerator. Techstars runs programs around the country with different groups like the Air Force, Comcast, Western Union, etc, and this one is a partnership with Alexa focused on voice and ML technology startups.

Here’s a quick rundown of the graduating startups. If I had to name one common theme across all of them, it’s the idea of making people and companies more productive through conversational interfaces:

  • 🛒 Anycart - one-click orders for groceries based on recipes (check out the demo here)
  • 👩‍⚕️ Ejenta - remote patient care for health providers (Youtube video with product demos)
  • 🎧 Ex-IQ - convert digital documents into audiobooks (product video here)
  • 🎮 Midgame - voice-enabled AI companion for gamers (try the live demo in their Discord)
  • 📹 nFlux - video analytics platform (demo videos on their site)
  • 📋 Togethar - analytics for customer feedback data (unfortunately, no demo online yet)
  • 📊 VoiceHero - analytics platform for voice apps (case study for optimizing an Alexa skill)
  • ✏️ Yourika - AI-powered tutors for students (video demo of their product)

For more detailed info on each startup (including traction, founder backgrounds, and customer/advisor references), check out Taylor Soper’s excellent recap on Geekwire.

Interesting startup of the week
Get stock picks based on astrology! Built by a cool agency - check out their other projects too!

💯 Seattle tech talent is exceptional
According to CBRE’s (commercial real estate firm) latest report, Seattle has the best tech talent in the country - ahead of San Francisco! Vancouver has also been making big strides, going from 25th best overall market for tech talent last year to 12th this year.

Seattle’s exceptional tech talent is definitely a major reason all of these big tech companies are opening large offices in Seattle:
  • Facebook (5K employees today, 2K more in new SLU office)
  • Salesforce (3K+ employees between Salesforce and Tableau)
  • Google (3.4K employees today and up to 5K in new SLU office)
  • Apple (0.5K employees today; plans to grow to ~2K)

That’s a total of ~20K employees for just four companies. As a comparison point, Amazon and Microsoft each have ~50K employees in Washington, so these new Seattle “HQ2"s are going to have a big impact on the regional employment landscape.

Other stuff Dan's talking about
🧻 Double < Triple < Jumbo < Mega < Mega Plus < Super Mega < Forever < Forever XL - The evolution of Charmin’s toilet paper rolls 🤣. Sh*t you not - you can now buy a 13.2" diameter toilet paper roll that will last you for months at a time! Buy it here (comes with a free stand)
📍 Seattle’s tipping point - Here’s a super comprehensive analysis from AI2’s Jacob Colker and Oren Etzioni on the five reasons the Seattle tech ecosystem is about to take off. Definitely worth a read
🎃 PCC Markets to Host Gluten-Themed Haunted House - Happy Halloween! (thanks to Liz Michiels for this link)
🤕 The next opioid epidemic? - 75% of Gen Z-ers and 50% of millennials have left a job for mental health reasons. And the big spike in mental health issues lines up with the time that the majority of people began to own smartphones. Seems like this could be the next massive public health crisis

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.

If you have thoughts, questions, or comments, hit reply!

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