Founders’ Co-op Deep Dive
In April’s PNW deal roundup, there were a bunch of new deals announced by local VCs, so I thought this would be a great time to jump back in to analyzing Seattle VCs’ investment strategies. This week we’ll look at Founders’ Co-op.
Founders’ Co-op was founded in 2008 and has invested in 100+ startups. They target $250-750K seed investments in PNW startups, and last year, they closed a $25M fund. One cool piece of their history is they launched the Techstars Seattle program in 2010 and continue to run it today.
Chris DeVore, Founders’ Co-op’s managing partner, has said, “We aren’t thematic investors but are focused on technical founding teams solving hard problems into which they have unique insights,” but here’s a look at where themes have emerged from their investments over the last three years.
🖥️ Vertical SaaS
Makes sense that if you’re looking for “teams solving problems into which they have unique insights” that the largest category of investments for Founders’ Co-op is software platforms built for specific verticals.
- Bateau - Compliance software for long-term care providers
- Boundless - Tech platform to automate the family immigration process
- Downstream - Software to optimize Amazon Advertising performance
- Ganaz - Workforce management platform for agriculture
- LogixBoard - Customer engagement platform for freight forwarders
📊 Data and ML Platforms
If you’re looking for “technical founding teams solving hard problems” in the PNW, you’ll come across a lot of people building ML and AI products with ties to organizations like UW, AI2, Microsoft, and Amazon.
- Advanced Voice Research Labs - NLP platform based on proprietary decision tree traversal tech
- Comet.ml - ML platform allowing teams to track, compare, and optimize experiments and models
- Kaskada - ML studio for feature engineering using event-based data
- MDMetrix - Healthcare analytics platform to analyze patient outcomes
Many of our region’s most successful startups are marketplaces, so it’s great to see Founders’ Co-op investing in the next generation of these companies. This is another category where unique insights about a market can lead to better tech-enabled solutions.
- LevelTen Energy - Energy marketplace for PPA buyers and sellers
- Loftium - Real estate agency offering rent assistance if the client agrees to host Airbnb guests
- Mystery - Personalized night out at local restaurants and experiences
- Source – Discovery platform for the commercial design community
There are definitely a couple of other themes here, but overall seems like the key thread through this entire list is great teams – many repeat founders and experienced leaders going after rapidly growing markets.
- Ally - Scalable OKR software for startups, teams, and enterprises
- Brave Care - Operator of clinics focused on urgent care for children
- Routable - Online platform to simplify B2B payments
- Trusted Key - Blockchain-based identity platform
- Stackery - Secure delivery of serverless applications
- The Riveter - Community to serve women in their work
- Strix Leviathan - Investment management platform for digital assets
Hope you enjoyed this review of Founders’ Co-op’s investments! I’m slowly working my way through the list of PNW venture firms, so stay tuned!