Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Seattle, WA


A review of the accelerators, co-working spaces, events, incubators, and other resources that make up Seattle’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Seattle, WA is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest and boasts one of the most famous skylines in the US thanks to the Space Needle, built in 1962 when Seattle hosted the World’s Fair. In 2016, NerdWallet ranked the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area the 6th best city for young entrepreneurs, and in 2017, Seattle ranked 15th in WalletHub’s “Access to Resources” category. In addition, the Dell Women Entrepreneur Cities Index ranked Seattle the 10th-best city in the world for female entrepreneurs.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Seattle’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

This group connects people and small businesses in the Africatown area of Seattle.

Here, entrepreneurs focus on working together to solve problems in education using technology.

Aims to improve the future of entrepreneurship in the state of Washington the field of information technology.

Headquartered in Tacoma, the NW-Real Estate Investment Group helps people increase their knowledge and comfort levels with the real estate investing market.

Hosts regular meetups for entrepreneurs and small business owners to connect with each other and network.

Presents entrepreneurs and professionals the opportunity to partner with Chinese businesses and professionals.

Weekly meetings for entrepreneurs and investors to discuss their processes and issues and connect with one another.

Hosts monthly meetups in Seattle to connect and educate current and aspiring entrepreneurs alike.


Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

This Seattle-based technology news website hosts several annual events including the GeekWire Gala, GeekWire Bash, and the GeekWire Awards.

Annual conference aimed at helping people improve their online marketing abilities through social media and search engine optimization.

An annual 2-day conference celebrating emerging technology and entrepreneurship.


Startup Competitions:

Small businesses and startups that have had a positive impact on their community in the Pacific Northwest compete for cash prizes up to $10,000.

Seattle hosts the North American branch of the Microsoft Ventures-sponsored startup competition for startups related to artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Entrepreneurs pitch to a group of angel investors for the chance to earn funding.

Social Venture Partners Seattle connects startups looking to tackle societal problems with mentors for a 4-month program that culminates in a pitch competition.

UW’s Foster School of Business sponsors a number of entrepreneurship competitions, including the Business Plan Competition for current students and the Environmental Innovation Challenge and Health Innovation Challenge for students around the Pacific Northwest.


Co-working Spaces:

Offers flexible plans on a number of levels with the opportunity to reserve semi-private workspaces and access to a lounge area for informal meetings or work.

Membership includes free garage parking and 24/7 access to workspaces with special plans available for teams.

Located in the Chinatown International District, Hing Hay offers access to large and medium conference rooms and focus booths.

Offers an after-hours plan for evening workers and amenities like treadmill desks, onsite massage therapists, and a wellness room.

In addition public or dedicated desk options, MAKERS also boasts event space and catering options.

Offers month-to-month or part-time memberships and free trial offers.

A co-working space in Capitol Hill that emphasizes community and connection with fellow members.

Located in the Pioneer Square neighborhood, tPC includes bike storage and private showers.

With locations in both Seattle and Redmond, Thinkspace is for entrepreneurs, tech startups, and small businesses.

Seattle has 5 WeWork-sponsored co-working spaces: the Holyoke Building, Westlake Tower, South Lake Union, Lincoln Square, and Denny Triange.

Aims to create an inclusive work space focused on creating social, environmental, and financial benefits.


Maker spaces:

Offers access to numerous tools and amenities, including showers.

Sponsored by the University of Washington and free to faculty, students, and staff, CoMotion is also open to the general public for a fee.

This space provides plenty of resources designed to help entrepreneurs and creators make the things they need.

Offers tools and space free of charge throughout the week whenever classes are not being held.

A “feminist, woman-centered, and trans- and queer-inclusive” maker space that’s open to anyone and everyone.

Offers classes to teach people how to use an array of tools and resources as well as offering to make things for you themselves.



Part of the University of Washington, the CoMotion Labs incubator is open to any startup in IT, engineering, life sciences, medical devices, clean tech, or AR/VR sectors.

A Seattle-based incubator focused on machine learning, computer vision, and security.

An incubator program housed at the Madrona Venture Group for the top startups in Seattle.

With campuses in Seattle, Portland, and Spokane, the McKinstry Innovation Center aims to help grow startups in the clean tech, education, high tech, and life sciences sectors.

Provides mentorship and co-working space.


Incubators & Accelerators: Which Best Fits Your Needs?



Founded in Seattle but with another location in Washington, Accelerator Corporation invests in emerging biotechnology companies.

Accelerates and offers mentorship to startups in the cleantech industry.

With several locations around the world, Fledge looks to invest in companies that make a positive impact on society.

Accelerator program for interactive media – games and technology.

Tech accelerator in Bellevue that works with up to 5 startups at a time.



Offers certificate programs in entrepreneurship.

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center at Seattle University offers a minor for undergrads and a certificate program for graduate students.

Just north of Seattle, Shoreline Community College’s Business Administration Program offers an entrepreneurship AAAS degree.

UW’s Foster School of Business includes the Arthur C. Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, which offers entrepreneurial classes, programs, and resources to undergraduate and graduate students alike.


Angel Groups/VCs:

Angel group that invests in seed- and early-stage companies in the PNW from a wide range of sectors.

Invests in early-stage cleantech companies committed to improving the environment.

Seattle-based venture capital firm with investing experience in a wide variety of industries.

A seed- and early-stage venture capital firm that invests in Cascadia’s best startups.

With offices in Los Altos, CA and Bellevue, WA, Ignition Partners invests in early-stage software companies.

In addition to an incubator program, Madrona also offers venture capital to seed- and early-stage technology companies.

With locations in Seattle and San Francisco, Maveron exclusively invests in consumer startups.

One of the earliest angel groups in the Pacific Northwest, PSVC invests in local, early-stage startups.

Supports high-growth early-stage startups, regardless of industry.

Venture capital firm that invests in software, cloud, and big data applications based in the PNW and California.

Angel network that invests in medtech companies.

A leading early-stage investor in Washington-based startups in the life sciences, information technology, and physical sciences industries.


Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

One of the largest networks of entrepreneurs and businesses has a Seattle branch and offers a newsletter.

Offers a number of newsletters focused on various topics in science and technology.

PSBJ newsletters include updates on happenings in the local business community.

The Seattle Business Magazine sends bi-monthly e-mails with early access to stories and events.


Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Seattle not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment, and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

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Article by Quinn Pilkey

Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at FundingSage where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.