WTIA Startup Program – Cohort I – What to Expect

WTIA Startup Program – Cohort I – What to Expect

Hey Cohort 1, I wanted to introduce myself and the Cohort I program.  

I’m Dave Parker and the WTIA Chair of startup programs/club. I’m a five-time founder and VC with Seven Peaks Ventures. I work with Nick Ellingson who’s the point person for programs and is the WTIA staff member. We also have an amazing group of Advisors you’ll be meeting over the next few events.

I received a call from a company CEO yesterday (thanks Joshua). He’d been accepted into the WTIA Cohort Program and was asking for details before returning docs. Because I’m on his Board and he didn’t have clarity about what to expect from the program I realized I should write up a summary and get it out to everyone. BTW, the CC vs BCC is deliberate as you get to connect with the group. 

What is the WTIA Cohort Program?

It’s our way at the WTIA, Investors and Service Providers (sponsors) to invest in our startup ecosystem, starting with you. The program is free, we don’t take any equity and though you will meet service providers over the course of the program who offer their services, they won’t be pitching you at the events. They are in the market to meet you, when you’re ready and if you need their assistance. 

Our big picture goal is to help Seattle to play bigger – do bigger things, grow great companies and over the long term reinvest in the community. We think we can help by compressing the time that it helps you to scale. The program goal is to accelerate your access to capital and connections. Capital in terms of local investors and connections in terms of local resources and the cohort itself!

  • The program is made up of a curated group of CEO/Founders of early-stage startup companies. 118 companies applied, we accepted 24.
    • All are non-competitive companies
    • All have a team, product, and traction (revenue/customers)
    • Within the 24 there is still a range of stages 
  • Session 1 – Fundraising Introductions October 18th and 19th. We’ve put together a dinner and a one-day fundraising introduction for you to meet with the major groups, investors and funds in town. Instead of you having to run around town, look for introductions and set meetings, we’re bringing everyone to you. Each panel will talk about what they like to invest in and why and you’ll have a chance to do an Ask Me Anything (AMA). We’ll also have stage-specific group office hours at the end of the day – the reason is if you have a question, it’s likely others do as well.
    • Angels
    • Early Stage
    • Growth Stage
    • Services
      • Legal
      • Accounting
      • Etc 
  • Recharge Sessions – happen monthly. They aren’t mandatory, but our goal is to make them so valuable you’ll want to attend. At the same time to give you access to resources that you would otherwise have to pay for free. Sessions will likely include:
    • Media training
    • Finance and accounting training
    • Leadership development – focused on you
    • Recruiting best practices
    • Building culture

This is our first cohort – so we’ll be learning as we go. We’ll be surveying the group to find out what resources you need and how you’d like to prioritize those sessions.

If you’re familiar with Entrepreneurs Organization or Vistage, they’ve created a group cohort program where you learn from the cohort and other CEOs around you. That’s the value of Cohort-based learning. You’re going to be with a group of people that are in the same stage you are in your business. But they aren’t competitors. They are facing the same challenges in HR/recruiting, building culture, managing co-founders, the list goes on.

My hope is that in five years we will have laid the foundation for Seattle’s version of the PayPal Mafia. A group of founders that know each other well, have helped each other out and ultimately will be investing together in the next generations of companies.

As a follow up to Nick’s previous email, here’s an invite link to the Slack Group. Feel free to ask any questions there, I’m @DaveParkerSEA. This is my personal email, feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

I’m personally looking forward to joining you on the journey!



ED: Link to the GeekWire article by Taylor Soper and list of companies and CEOs below:

Here are the 24 startups and their CEOs:

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