Hey, I'm Dan! I invest in startups at Madrona and write the DL, a weekly newsletter about tech in the Pacific Northwest

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Seattle Unicorns

How many unicorns are founded every year in the Pacific Northwest? Looking at the data since 1994 (when Amazon was founded), 37 startups have reached the billion dollar mark, and here’s a graphical summary of all of them.

Some quick observations:

  • On average, 1 to 2 unicorns get started every year in the Pacific Northwest
  • … and this number is growing. More recently, we are seeing 4-5 new unicorns minted every year in the PNW
  • Prior to 2003, there were 2x as many consumer unicorns as enterprise unicorns; since 2003, it’s flipped to 3x as many enterprise as consumer
  • This list doesn’t include businesses like AWS or Xbox, which I view as “startups” within Amazon and Microsoft that could be big standalone companies. AWS alone could be worth $400B

2020 Update

In July, Qumulo announced a $125M funding round that valued the company at more than $1.2B, and Remitly announced an $85M funding round that valued the company at $1.5B.

ZoomInfo and Accolade's IPOs in June and July, respectively, each valued the companies at over $1B as well.

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2019 Update

2019 was a great year for Seattle unicorns. In July, Icertis announced a $115M funding round that valued the company at $1B. In May, Auth0 announced a $103M round that valued the company at ~$1.1B, and in April, Outreach announced a $114M round that valued that company at ~$1.1B. (And following the buzz on Microsoft being a great launching pad for startups, all three companies are led by CEOs who worked at Microsoft for at least seven years)

In addition to these three, Assurance was acquired for $2.3B (after only three years), and Vacasa reached a billion dollar valuation with a $319M Series C.


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