GeekWire Podcast: What Seattle’s billion-dollar startups say about the region’s tech industry

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Seattle’s billion-dollar tech club, startups with valuations of more than $1 billion. (GeekWire Graphic)

Here’s what we’re talking about on the GeekWire Podcast this week: Seattle’s tech community just reached a new milestone: 10 unicorns, privately held companies valued at more than $1 billion. Their characteristics say a lot about the direction and state of the tech industry in the region, both positive and negative.

Heather Redman, Flying Fish Partners co-founder and managing partner.

Read more: Seattle area boasts 10 fast-growing unicorns: Can you name the billion-dollar startups?

Joining us as a guest commentator this week: Heather Redman, co-founder and managing partner of Flying Fish Partners, a Seattle-based venture capital firm that focuses its investments on machine learning and artificial intelligence.

From our story, here are five key takeaways about the 10 companies.

  • Six of the startups have at least one immigrant founder.
  • The majority operate in enterprise software or cloud computing.
  • Six startups have at least one active co-founder with Microsoft ties.
  • All but one of the unicorns have a co-founder serving in the CEO role.
  • None of the companies have female co-founders or CEOs.

Listen to the episode below, or subscribe to GeekWire in any podcast app.

Also up for discussion: the challenges of running a big tech hub like Seattle. Mayor Jenny Durkan recently announced that she wouldn’t be running for a second term. She faced numerous challenges during her tenure as mayor, but one of the biggest was bridging the divide between the tech industry, particularly Amazon, and the rest of the Seattle community.

Read more: Balancing act: What Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s short tenure says about running a tech hub, by Monica Nickelsburg.

And in our final segment, it’s the return of the GeekWire Trivia challenge, with a chance to win your choice of a GeekWire mask or socks. Our question: Which current CEO of a Seattle tech company has been inducted into the hall of fame of a professional sport? Listen to the third segment for clues, and send your answer (or guess!) to [email protected] From the pool of correct answers, we’ll pick one person at random to win their choice of swag.

Edited and produced by Curt Milton. Theme music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

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