About Dave Parker, Founder, Author, & Investor
Dave Parker – Author Trajectory: Startup—Ideation to Product/Market Fit
Dave is a five-time founder and has been part of >15 transactions, as founder, operator, board member, and advisor. He splits his time between funding early-stage companies and helping them exit. He’s a Senior Partner at Fearless.fund. The fund is focused on investing in Women of Color Founders across the US in Consumer and Tech companies. At the other end of the spectrum, he helps founders exit their companies through his work at NextPath Advisors.
His “20%” time (that can sometimes be 80% time) is as a community builder, and speaker he works with accelerators and startup programs worldwide.
The author of “Trajectory: Startup – Ideation to Product/Market Fit“. The book helps early-stage founders understand what they can test and know about their startup idea before they take the leap and leave their day job. The book also includes research on 2,564 funded companies and the 14 revenue models that made them successful. A free excerpt here. Many of Dave’s talks are available on his YouTube Channel.
A partial list of programs can be found here.
As the Board Chair for the Washington Technology Industry Association, WTIA, Startup Programs, he’s established a community program to support early and growth-stage startup founders. The Trajectory Series and Meetup were based on the original “6 Month Startup Program” as a pre-accelerator program. The Founder Cohort Program is a post-accelerator program designed to help founders navigate the startup ecosystem in six months vs 18-24 months.
Dave was fortunate to join a “movement in progress” while at Startup Weekend, a program that helps founders launch their dream companies in 54 hours. From 2013-2015 he served as COO and Senior VP Programs & People for UP Global the merged parent company of Startup Weekend/Startup America. In 2014, the UP Global team held over 1,250 events in 120 countries and 640 cities worldwide with over 74,000 attendees.
During his time at UP Global, he launched two new programs:
- Startup Next – a six-week pre-accelerator program that helped early-stage founders transition from Startup Weekend to funded early-stage companies in over 20 cities worldwide.
- Startup Week – launched in six cities in the first year with over 50,000 attendees and grew to 74+ cities worldwide in the third year.
The non-profit company was sold to Techstars in June 2015. This non-profit to for-profit was the unique experience of Dave’s transactions. He served on the Board of the non-profit in the distribution of final grants.
Today he serves on the Board of Directors for four NW mid-market companies and as an Advisory Board Member to dozens of early-stage tech companies on the West Coast. His role with these companies is to provide governance, go-to-market strategy, and growth advisory in preparation for fundraising and exit strategies.
For the last 20+ years he has held executive positions in software development, enterprise IT and professional services, software distribution, and hardware companies. Companies have included Founder and CEO at License Online (sold to SNX), Board Member roles for Classmates.com (sold to UNTD), Digital Marketing (sold in 2004), Cauldron Solutions (sold in 2006), and Bundled.com (sold in 2012).
Dave was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Mitsui & Company IT Investment Group in Cupertino, CA, a $250M venture fund where he evaluated investments and was a board member and observer for portfolio companies. He has worked with Mitsui in a variety of advisory roles since 1998.
He has over 10 years of experience doing business in Japan and five in China bringing technology to Asia and others back to the US. An Alumni of the University of Washington, Dave has been recognized by the World Technology Network for Innovation in the Software Industry, and Forbes “Best of the Web”.
Dave joined Code Fellows as CEO in June of 2015. Code Fellows is an immersive, in-person code school offering job-ready web and mobile software development training. The company has a > 90% placement rate of grads with a starting salary of over $70K. Code Fellows is part of the emerging “boot camp” market that helps bridge the gap not currently filled by four-year degree Computer Science programs. When he started with Code Fellows <20% of the program applicants were accepted into the training. The curriculum didn’t address those who didn’t have access to this type of programming. By launching a new curriculum, he significantly increased admissions and gained the Veterans Administration Approval as the only Coding Program in Washington State. He also launched a “Pay it Forward” scholarship program, funding >$600,000 in funds for women, underserved minorities and veterans as part of a personal mission on diversity.
In addition to his home town of Seattle where’s he’s a highly ranked mentor for Techstars, Flat6 Labs, 500 Startups, and Founder Institute, Dave has mentored for accelerator programs from Brazil to Moldova, Budapest to Singapore. He’s a frequent blogger on Startup topics through DKParker.com.
I met Dave through the Startup America Partnership and we’ve had the chance to work together on numerous projects over the last decade. He’s OHUB’s go-to partner for all things startup! He’s been a great source of programming and inspiration for the Black and Brown Founders we serve.
- Rodney Sampson
Dave brings a level of experience and zen to the chaotic world of entrepreneurship. His understanding of when to lean on the science or when to embrace the art is masterful and something everyone he works with admires. Dave is one of those stand out human beings you just feel grateful to have in your life.
- Marc Nager
Fund Director at Greater Colorado Venture Fund
Dave is always my first call when I need startup business advice. He’s seen it all from different shoes – Founder, CEO, Investor, Board Member – so he always has multiple perspectives to offer. He’s extremely business savvy AND cares about people. Dave makes me see what’s possible. He helps me make big career leaps
- Emily Carrion
VP Marketing at Esper, Startup Advisor, Investor
I have known Dave Parker for over almost 20 years. Few people have impacted both my professional and personal life as deeply. He is straightforward but wise. He is compassionate but convicted. He knows business and can identify weaknesses and opportunities, and is able to advise through it all. Literally one of the smartest people
- Andy Perez
Dave has been a good friend and mentor to me. I admire his candor and integrity; he calls a spade and spade! Dave is also data driven; when he shares an idea, I know he’s done his research and used data to develop his perspective. Perhaps most importantly, he is very values-oriented and always has
- Lisa Nelson
Former Managing Partner of Microsoft Ventures, M12
Dave keeps you engaged as a student with next-level knowledge, a twinkle in his eye, and the shock of dropping the f-bomb at just the right time. What’s great is I’ve been in groups with Dave that were made up of very wealthy and successful entrepreneurs all the way down to college kids. Dave is
This is Alex Tsway, the student from Seattle university with the innovation platform idea.
I want to thank you for your valuable feedback today! I’m really excited about the new idea and taking steps to contact companies in our local area to learn more about their innovation departments.
However, I did some research and found out services like Vetter, who have an online suggestions box, and another company called Yammer, an enterprise social network.
It would be great to get some feedback on how to standout amongst these other companies and some sample questions to ask.
Thank you again for the awesome advice today! We are so excited to bring something of value back into the community!