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May 30, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Seattle Foundations to replace Techstars Seattle with a different model

Four entrepreneurs joining forces to launch the six-month program designed to accelerate start-ups in the city.

GeekWire reports that an entrepreneur/investor with roots in the defunct Techstars Seattle program plans to launch a new invite-only organization and shared workspace that supports tech founders by surrounding them with fellow entrepreneurs and experienced start-up mentors.

The concept might sound familiar, but it’s different, says Aviel Ginzburg, who is leading a group of entrepreneurs developing Seattle Foundations. He is teaming up with three entrepreneurs — Tyler BrownRyan Dao, and Art Litvinau— who started a group last year called Cloud Zero that hosts regular get-togethers for founders at Startup Hall at the University of Washington.

“The ambition here is not to start the next Techstars,” Ginzburg said in an interview last week. “I want to solve for this moment in time in Seattle, and I want to give it the breathing room to grow into something larger.”

The group plans to offer members co-working space, access to events, and private “founder circles” to spur transparent discussions about the highs and lows of building a start-up. It will operate as a benefit corporation, a legal distinction designed for entities that want to turn a profit and also prioritize social and public good.

Ginzburg is still finalizing the framework of Seattle Foundations, but he’s in talks to secure a 5,000 square-foot office space in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, with plans to launch later this year. He’s also raising investment to help fund initial operations for two years and plans to generate revenue from membership fees.

A small group of founders will be accepted for a six-month membership designed to accelerate their start-ups and provide access to mentorship. They can use the shared office space and will be required to hit milestones in order to become permanent members.

Seattle Foundations does not plan to charge those start-ups membership fees or take equity as a condition of participating, like many similar programs do. However, Ginzburg isn’t ruling out the possibility of investing in the companies that take part in the organization.


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