Techstars Seattle leader Chris DeVore to step down, will focus on Founders' Co-op venture capital firm – GeekWire

Looking to spark Seattle’s startup ecosystem, Founder’s Co-op raises new venture fund – GeekWire

Looking to spark Seattle’s startup ecosystem, Founder’s Co-op raises new venture fund – GeekWire


Techstars Seattle Managing Director and Founder’s Co-op founding partner Chris DeVore.

Founder’s Co-op, an early-stage venture capital firm that’s backed Seattle area startups such as Apptentive, Crowd Cow, LiveStories and Shippable, has raised $10.7 million of what could end up being a $25 million venture fund, according to a regulatory filing released Thursday. It marks the firm’s fourth fund since it was founded in 2008 by tech veterans Chris DeVore and Andy Sack.

Sack stepped away from day-to-day duties at Founder’s Co-op a few years ago, leaving the Seattle firm in the hands of DeVore as well as partner and longtime Seattle area angel investor Rudy Gadre. It added Seattle entrepreneur Aviel Ginzburg, co-founder of Simply Measured, to the team as a venture partner recently.

Members of the firm declined to comment when contacted by GeekWire. Securities and Exchange Commission rules often prevent firms from discussing ongoing fundraising efforts.

Founder’s Co-op’s raised its last fund in 2015, raising $20 million. At the time, DeVore noted in a blog post that “our mission is to make the Pacific Northwest the best place on the planet to build a world-class software company — the kind that achieves the scale and impact of a Microsoft or Amazon.”

Two of the biggest success stories for Founder’s Co-op to date include Remitly and Outreach, both of which graduated in the same year from TechStars Seattle.

Remitly, which specializes in helping people send money to family and friends overseas, has raised $215 million to date. Outreach, a service designed to help sales teams boost revenue, has raised $60 million.

In addition to his role at Founder’s Co-op, DeVore manages the TechStars Seattle program.

Founder’s Co-op’s investments span a wide range of industries, with the firm backing 89 startups to date. Those companies — primarily located in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia — have collectively raised over $1.3 billion.

Many in the Seattle tech economy have bemoaned the lack of home-grown capital available in the Pacific Northwest, and DeVore is one of the biggest advocates looking to change that imbalance.

“I’ve bet my investing career on the premise that the Pacific Northwest will continue to produce investment returns like the ones that early investors in Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks enjoyed,” DeVore wrote in a blog post last summer. “But I’m also certain that the growth capital for those opportunities will mostly come from outside the region. My mission in life is to help the best founders here build the kind of companies that the best investors anywhere would kill to invest in. It’s not always easy, but it’s the most fun I’ve ever had.”

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