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.

Dave parker


  • Alex Tsway

    Dave Parker:

    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!


    Alex Tsway

    • Dave Parker


      great research, good to find it out now vs. later. check on pricing and target market for Yammer. They sold to Microsoft, which is usually an indication that it will go to large enterprise and won’t be useful in the mid market.

      I’d get the list of top companies to work for in Seattle, http://seattlebusinessmag.com/article/100-best-companies-work-2012 and go ask some of these companies if:
      – is your core premis a problem
      – what are they currently using (see if those names come up)
      – what the value of surfacing employee ideas


  • Kevin Nakao

    Both my co-founder and I enjoyed the thoughtful presentation you shared at the 9 Mile Labs today. Your methodology in looking at sales pipelines and key metrics was very helpful. I also thought your point about founders figuring out how to sell their product or service first before hiring a sales person was spot on.


  • Paulo Tenorio

    Dave Thanks for the feedback you gave today. I’ve learned a lot in 30mins. And for the record, my high concept pitch was created during our conversation this morning.
    Thank you.

  • Madhu Kachru


    I am looking for a curriculum designed for women wanting to build privately held companies. A curriculum that would help such women go from ideation to a sustainable business enterprises that can gross 500K- 20M recurring yearly

    Do you think https://www.dkparker.com/6-month-startup/ is applicable to private enterprise scenario?

    Thank you for your guidance –

    Bellevue WA Resident

    • Dave Parker Post author

      Hey Madhu, you could use the curriculum for that purpose. Venture ready isn’t a requirement. The program is designed to help founders validate their ideas before they leave their day jobs – answering the question is this idea and market worth my time as the first investor. Happy to connect.

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