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The DL - The PNW Unicorn Farm, The DL Job Board, Jeff Bezos's 20 Year Plan

August 2 · Issue #84 · View online
The DL
Welcome back to the DL! I’m still here! 😄 There is definitely less time for newsletter writing while working on a startup, but hopefully we can get back into a more regular cadence soon.
This week’s issue asks…
  • How many more soonicorns are there lurking in Seattle?
  • Would you be interested in a DL job board?
  • Do you have a 20+ year plan to do anything?
If you’re one of the 71 new DL readers who joined since the last issue, welcome to the best newsletter about tech, startups, and investing in the Pacific Northwest!
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PNW Unicorn Farm
Everyone is talking about how hot the startup market is these days…
  • The Seattle startup scene is sizzling with record funding, hiring surge, 12 unicorns (Geekwire)
  • Technology unicorns are growing at a record clip (The Economist)
  • Startups have never had it so good (Techcrunch)
  • More unicorns were created in the second quarter than all of 2020 (Insider)
And a lot has happened since the last time I sent out an issue of the DL! There are now five new $1B+ companies in Seattle:
  1. Rec Room - Game where you can create games for your friends (and one of my investments at Madrona!)
  2. Highspot - Sales enablement platform for managing content, training reps, and engaging customers
  3. Amperity - Enterprise customer data platform for customer-centric brands
  4. Nautilus Biotechnology - Large-scale, single-molecule platform designed to quantify the proteome
  5. Icosavax - Computationally-designed VLP (virus-like particles) vaccines
According to AngelList, only ~2.5% of venture-backed seed stage companies become unicorns, and it takes years (even in today’s market) to build a $1B+ company. All of these companies are more than four years old, with Highspot being the oldest (founded 2012) and Icosavax the youngest (founded 2017).
Compared to cities like Miami or Austin, Seattle has a deep bench of startups (50+) with valuations in the $100-500M “soonicorn” range, so don’t be surprised when you see more growth stage investors making trips to the PNW to mint new unicorns!
The DL Job Board Experiment
Speaking of unicorns and record-funding numbers… now is a great time to join a startup. EVERY startup is hiring and thanks to record amounts of venture dollars, startups are also paying very well.
My friends Packy and David both invested in a company called Pallet that helps people create curated job boards, so I’m trying it out by making a job board specifically focused on interesting roles in PNW startups.
Right now it has 5-6 roles from each of the new software unicorns above, along with my notes on why the company/role is interesting. If you are one of the 40% of people planning to leave your job this year, check it out!
Also, if you would like to post a role, please let me know! The DL gets sent to ~2.5K people in the PNW (and shared with up to 10K) who are interested in startups every week, and I’d love to help people connect and find jobs.
Other stuff Dan's talking about
🚀 “If I could do anything…” - Check out this interview from 2000 where Jeff Bezos explains that if he wasn’t working on Amazon, he’d want to get on a rocketship and explore space. Out of this world follow-through!
👥 SaaS Org Chart - Org charts that new Series A, Series B, or Series C stage SaaS startups should be staffing towards, according to David Sacks
💸 On Deck’s Series A Memo - If you’re on Tech Twitter, you’ve probably heard a lot of people talking about On Deck. Here’s a link to the memo they wrote (in lieu of a deck) to raise their Series A
📖 From Startup to Exit - Seattle angel and serial entrepreneur Shirish Nadkarni wrote a book on launching and scaling startups. Check it out!
Please hit reply! (Or subscribe or forward!)
About me: I’m the CEO of a startup in the low code / productivity tools space. Before that, I was a partner at Madrona, a Seattle-based VC firm.
If you have thoughts, questions, or comments on the newsletter, hit reply! If you’re new, check out some of the DL’s past articles:
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