Idea #19: A real startup fund

Spokane Startup Weekend, which takes place in the early spring at McKinstry's Innovation Center, offers a great opportunity for innovators to connect, collaborate, and network. Unfortunately, we still suffer from a lack of venture funding and mentoring. (PHOTO: Startup Weekend Spokane)
Spokane Startup Weekend, which takes place in the early spring at McKinstry’s Innovation Center, offers a great opportunity for innovators to connect, collaborate, and network. Unfortunately, we still suffer from a lack of venture funding and mentoring. (PHOTO: Startup Weekend Spokane)

In Silicon Valley, ten percent of startups hit it big. In Spokane, if we could hit half of that number, we would be doing quite well. Area startups have a good number of resources, with LaunchPad NW, McKinstry’s Spokane Innovation Center, and Startup Weekend Spokane, but still, we’re not exactly the hotbed for startups that we could be with additional capital and focus. A true startup fund, with a focus on mentorship, could be a real boon to our region’s innovation economy.

Whether it’s a single angel investor or a group of local well-off citizens, we need some people to start venture funding startups. We need additional low-cost incubator space for startups to grow. We need the infrastructure to support the next generation of tech startups, from fiber-optic internet service to a late-night coffeeshop within walking distance. With a focused effort, Spokane could become a haven for startups. It just needs to coordinate disparate groups in different areas working around different goals. It needs to coalesce around a specific, clear, and certain plan aimed at growing innovation locally and globally.

What do you think? Could startups be a path forward for Spokane? Would a startup fund, and greater capital for startups, as well as a focused effort to attract them, help to grow Spokane’s innovation economy? Shout out in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter. We love to hear from you.

Good News: Egnyte opens Spokane-area office

Egnyte is a cloud data services firm offering their product primarily to business customers, including such conglomerates as Home Depot and Ikea.

A Silicon Valley cloud computing and data services firm with $30 million in VC funding has opened a Spokane-area office. In a significant expansion, one of only two United States locations outside of Mountain View where Egnyte has chosen to locate an office (they have offices in the U.K. and Poland). And while the location unfortunately is not in the central business district (it’s at the Pring Center at 15404 E. Springfield in Spokane Valley), it still represents a move in the right direction in terms of attracting technology firms and engineers in order to solve our current deficit of young urban professionals. Hopefully this expansion starts a trend of tech companies forgoing growth in expensive areas like Seattle and Denver in favor of smaller cities like Spokane that offer arguably more value.

If you happen to be seeking a job and are involved in sales, Egnyte is currently hiring for this new Spokane Valley office. Two positions, a Salesforce.com Developer/Admin and an Account Manager, are open, and you can apply online.

Which other technology firms would you like to see open offices in the Spokane area?