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Startup Resources

The Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship has been connected to Seattle’s thriving entrepreneurial community for over 20 years. We’ve vetted countless startup resources and pulled out what we consider to be the best materials to help you achieve your startup goals.

Research Your Business Idea

Tips on how to find market research reports and more.

Library Resources

The Foster Business Library provides UW students with access to excellent resources designed for professionals, including market research databases like:

  • Forrester: Research and analysis on technology management issues and trends
  • Gartner: Research and analysis on technology management issues and trends (Requires UW NETID Login).
  • BCC Research: Specialized market research reports covering healthcare, science, and technology sectors.
  • Mintel Academic: Consumer demographics, lifestyle, and product trend analysis.

Seattle Public Library: Includes access to databases and articles about business, finance, and fundraising.

King County Library System: Offers information on starting a new business, growing your existing business, finding financing, and getting legal and tax assistance.

Community and Government Organizations

Doing Business in Seattle:The Office of Economic Development.

Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County: A public-private economic development partnership encompassing King County. They offer one-on-one, confidential consulting services, free-of-charge, to individual businesses seeking to establish, expand or relocate to Seattle and King County.

GrowSeattle from the Office of Economic Development: Site covers business planning, licensing and taxes, street-food vending, and loans, and offers information on zoning, population, and demographics. There’s also a section on environmental sustainability for businesses.

Puget Sound Regional Council:Provides a list of resources covering everything from census data and employment forecasts to airport statistics and zip code lookup.

National Resources

Internet Public Library Entrepreneurship Resources: Collection of 52 resources on entrepreneurship that are available on the web for free.

Kauffman Foundation: Includes access to insights, research, and articles on entrepreneurship.

U.S. Commercial Service Country Commercial Guides: Going international? Find statistics, business regulations, market research reports, and much more for free.

Write a Winning Business Plan

Advice and industry examples for the what, why, and how of writing successful business plans.

Business Plan Basics

Buerk Center Advisory Board members’ presentations on writing a business plan.

Marc Barros, Entrepreneur, co-founder and former CEO of Contour
“Start your company! . . . Did you start your company yet? . . . Seriously, you’re already behind!” Marc emphasizes the business plan as a tool to organize thoughts for a business you’ve already started.
View slides | Listen to presentation (UW NetID login required)

T.A. McCann, Gist
T.A. is the founder and CEO of Gist, which was acquired by RIM in 2011. His past experience includes Vulcan Capital and Polaris Venture Partners, where he was an entrepreneur-in-residence.
View slides
| Listen to presentation (UW NetID login required)

Writing Resources

Resources for writing a stellar business plan.


How to Write a Great Business Plan

Harvard Business Review
Thorough article that covers the essential elements that belong in a business plan. A must read for anyone about to write a business plan.

How to Structure a Business Plan
Inc. Magazine Magazine
Extensive resource that covers everything from idea feasibility to presentation.

How to Write a Great Business Plan
Inc. Magazine
Advice for small businesses on what it takes to create a solid business plan, including forming an outline, integrating financial specifics, and spelling out your marketing strategy.

Business Plan Basics
MIT
Excellent slide deck from the MIT Course, The Nuts and Bolts of Business Plans. Covers why you write a plan, what you should cover in it, and who should write it. Content starts on slide 13.

Writing a Business Plan
Sequoia Capital
Includes elements of sustainable companies and a straightforward business plan outline.

Marketing

Presentations on marketing your start-up. Who are your customers? What drives them to make a purchase? How do you segment the market? How do you market your business on a shoestring budget?

Marketing in a Competitive Environment
Sharelle Klaus, CEO of DRY Soda
Sharelle brings more than a decade of entrepreneurial, financial and technology experience to DRY Soda. Her presentation provides the tools you need to overcome marketing challenges commonly faced by start-ups.
View slides | Listen to presentation (UW NetID login required)

How to Market Consumer Products Presentation
Jason Stoffer, Maveron
Jason is a principal at Maveron, a local VC firm that is focused solely on consumer businesses. His presentation covers the key elements of a consumer products pitch, as well as the questions you should be able to answer about your product and the market it exists in.
View slides | Listen to presentation (UW NetID login required)

Financials

Presentations on the fundamentals of financial projections–What are they? How do you create them? How do you avoid the common pitfalls that drive investors crazy?

SEC Filings and Forms
All publicly traded companies must disclose financial information to the SEC. Research companies that have similar cost structure, distribution channels, customers, etc. to help you estimate costs for your start-up.

Financials and Funding for Start-Ups Presentations
Alan Dishlip, CFO of Billing Revolution
Alan joined Billing Revolution as CFO in 2009, after holding that position at WildTangent Games for five years. He has both operational and venture capital experience and has been involved in helping build and grow early-stage companies for more than 30 years.
View slides | Listen to presentation from 2010 (UW NetID login required)

Pitch to Investors

Why should an investor put money into your company instead of someone else’s? What are the critical elements you need to have and what could kill the deal? How should you prepare for an investor pitch?

Pitch Guidelines
Alliance of Angels
A very simple and succinct approach to creating a business plan presentation. “10–15 slides are all that’s needed.” Find the pitch guidelines under the question, “What should be in my investor pitch deck?”

8 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Pitching To Investors
Rick Frasch, Forbes
A list detailing what not to do when pitching to investors, compiled by an industry expert.

Expert Tips on Pitching a Winner
Alyssa Royse
Compilation of pitch tips from local experts who have heard a lot of pitches.

What do Investors Look For?
Troy Cichos, Madrona Venture Partners
Presentation covers what investors look for and what should you cover in your pitch. He also shares several examples of what to do and what not to do when pitching your idea/company.
View slides

A Resource Guide for Technology Entrepreneurs
Ryan McCarthy and Randy Ottinger
How to find Seattle investors and succeed as a tech startup in the Seattle area

Fund your company

Information about raising capital for your startup.

Funding Basics

10 Ways to Finance Your Business
Inc.

Lessons I Learned Raising Venture Capital
Chris Rodde, co-founder of SeniorHomes.com

Venture Capital Funding

Get Funded! An Idiot’s Guide to Mastering the Venture Capital Game

VentureBeat
Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist (book excerpt)
Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson

National Venture Capital Association
Good resource for venture capital data.

12 Tips on Raising Venture Capital for your Startup
Forbes

Puget Sound VC Firms

Ignition Partners
Madrona Venture Group
Maveron
Voyager Capital
Vulcan Capital
WRF Capital

Angel Funding

Angel Groups in Seattle
GeekWire
Details on the seven major angel groups in Seattle, March 2012.

Seattle Angel Conference
An investor-driven event bringing together start-ups and Angel Investors from the Northwest.

Seattle Angel Office Hours

Angel Investor Bill Bryant: Here’s What I Look For in Startup Entrepreneurs
GeekWire

Puget Sound Angel Groups
Alliance of Angels
Bellingham Angel Investors
Keiretsu Forum
Element 8 (formerly Northwest Energy Angels)
Puget Sound Venture Club
Seattle Angel Fund
WINGS

Grant Funding

SBIR-NSF
Small Business Innovation Research grants made by the National Science Foundation (NSF) incentivize and enable startups and small business to undertake research and development with high technical risk and high commercial reward.

SBIR/STTR-NIH
Small Business Innovation Research grants and Small Business Technology Transfer grants made by the National Institutes of Health provide funding for small businesses to engage in research and development.

UW Commercialization Gap Fund (CGF)
A partnership between the UW Center for Commercialization and the Washington Research Foundation, the CGF program provides up to $1 million per year of funding for applied research.

W Fund
The W Fund makes earliest-stage investments to accelerate the success of promising technology-based start-up companies originating from research institutions and students across the state of Washington.

Accelerators

9Mile Labs
High-tech accelerator based in Seattle, focused on B2B software and cloud technologies.

Blueprint Health
Companies receive $20k at the start of the program. Founders must re-locate to NYC for the duration of the program. Not appropriate for drug development and medical device companies.

Jones + Foster Accelerator
Six months of mentoring and up to $25,000 in follow-on funding. Any team from the UW Environmental Innovation Challenge or Business Plan Competition can apply, regardless of home university or college. We also welcome applications from students who have taken at least one entrepreneurship course at the UW.

TechStars Seattle
Companies get three months of intensive mentoring and the chance to pitch to angel investors and venture capitalists at the end of the program. Companies must apply; it’s highly competitive.

Annual Events and Competitions

Cleantech Open
Annual event whose mission is to find, fund, and foster the big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental, and economic challenges.

First Look Forum: Bi-annual event sponsored by the Washington Technology Industry Association. Companies receive in-depth coaching prior to the event.

SVP Fast Pitch
SVP Fast Pitch (formerly known as Social Innovation Fast Pitch) is a fast-pitch granting and investment forum highlighting new ideas forsocial impact, presented by Social Venture Partners Seattle.

Other Funding Options

The Art of Bootstrapping
Guy Kawasaki
Ideas for how to launch your company without getting outside funding.

Community Capital Development
Comprised of three non-profit organizations: Seattle Economic Development Association, Seattle Economic Development Fund, and Seattle Business Assistance Center. These organizations provide small business consulting, access to loans, and resources to help business owners. This organization also focuses on providing resources to under-served populations and areas.

Founder’s Co-op
Seed-stage investment fund based in Seattle that focuses on web and mobile opportunities that require limited capital to demonstrate market traction.

Kickstarter
Crowdfunding platform.

Indiegogo
Crowdfunding platform.

Lighter Capital
Appropriate for small, growing businesses that have a proven revenue model. Companies receive a loan (typically $100k–$500k) and then pay a small percent of their monthly revenue to Lighter Capital until the initial capital has been paid off 3x-5x. Advantage: Lighter Capital does not take an equity stake in your company.

Small Business Association Loans and Grants
Offers assistance with securing an SBA-backed loan at your local bank or credit union. You can search the site to find grants for which you qualify.

Washington C.A.S.H. (Community Alliance for Self-Help)
Provides education, support, and access to capital help people launch and grow successful small enterprises. Focuses on low-income, women, and minority populations.

Fundraising References

Brad Feld’s Term Sheet Series
Revisiting the Term Sheet
Excellent resources to help you understand term sheets, which are used to set forth the basic terms and conditions under which an investment will be made.

Investopedia
A great dictionary of investment terms, including a focus on VC/IPO terms and jargon.

Frank Demmler Resources
Demmler, an Associate Teaching Professor of Entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University, provides a list of resources that cover topics such as private investors, deal structures, and arithmetic of deals.

Series AA Equity Financing Documents
Y Combinator and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati collaborated on these documents to make angel funding rounds easier for both the entrepreneur and investor.

Venture Capital Deal Algebra
Brad Felds article focused on the math behind the calculations used in VC deals.

What is a Pre-money and Post-money Valuation?
Startup Lawyer
Good initial resource on the basics of company values prior to financing or investments.

Pre Money Valuation
Venture Choice
Provides good definitions and focuses on valuation in terms of VC funding.

Financing Your Startup
The Venture Alley
Understanding Pre-Money Valuation. Article was written by Trent Dykes, attorney at DLA Piper.

Launch your business

Information on running a startup from workspaces to websites.

Local Resources

Tools and resources available locally to help you start and operate your business

GeekWire Startup Resources
Start-up advice a service provider directory of professional partners across 33 categories from angel investing to web hosting.

How to Start a Business in Washington
Details the Washington-specific requirements for forming each type of business (LLC, Corporation, Nonprofit), paying particular attention to time and cost.

General Resources

A wide array of resources for start-up entrepreneurs

First Site Guide
Videos, PDFs, and helpful informational resources about how to start, run and grow your online presence.

Build a Killer Website: 19 Dos and Don’ts
Inc.
Your website can be the best marketing tool you have. Do it right.

The Kauffman Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Resource Center
Information on accounting and finance, business operations, human resources, marketing and sales, products and services and public policy.

Why Startups Fail
The Startup Genome project analyzed data from 3,200 companies and determined there are two things at the core of successful businesses: a good product and a large market for that product.

Small Business Administration (SBA)
U.S. government site that has information on everything from how to start and manage a business to how to find funding to how to obtain the proper business licenses and permits.

Startup America Partnership
Offers a coalition of mentors, advisors, funders, major corporations, and service providers to help entrepreneurs start and scale companies.

Startup Toolsfrom Steve Blank
Incredible collection of tools that covers founding/running a start-up, conducting market research, and building a web prototype.

Twenty-One Women Entrepreneurs Reveal Their Favorite Business Books
Forbers

Emer Dooley’s Entrepreneur Reading List
Emer Dooley, Pat Hughes Faculty Fellow, UW Foster School of Business

Local groups for entrepreneurs

FounderDating
Brings together super talented entrepreneurs with different backgrounds and skill sets to start innovative new companies.

General Assembly
Courses and events in technology, data & design.

Life Science Washington
A trade association which serves the life sciences industry in Washington state.

MIT Enterprise Forum
Inspires, connects, and educates entrepreneurs in the Puget Sound technology and business community

New Tech Northwest
Hosts fun monthly meetups for tech resources and networking.

Seattle Angel Office Hours

Seattle Tech Startups
Group of entrepreneurs who give and seek advice on running technology startups. The group meets monthly and has an active listserv

Startup Grind
Startup Grind is an independent startup community actively connecting 400,000 founders in over 200 cities.

Startup Hall
Seattle’s home for passionate startup founders, funders, and mentors. Created in partnership with Techstars, Founders’ Co-op, and the UW.

Startup Seattle
Resources and event listings for Seattle startup community

TiE
The Global Network of Entrepreneurs. Holds events regularly and offers mentoring for entrepreneurs.

Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA)
Supports the growth and long-term success of local businesses. Focuses on technology companies and offers events frequently.

Seattle Collaborative Space Alliance
A growing list of all the collaborative workspaces in the Greater Seattle Area.

Impact Hub Seattle
A collaboration and co-working space for social entrepreneurs located in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood.

SURF Incubator
Provides workspace and a network of mentors, investors, etc.

UW Center for Commercialization New Ventures Facility
Provides UW start-ups access to lab and office space.

Founder’s Co-op
A community of early-stage entrepreneurs in Seattle.

Get Legal and Tax Help

What are the legal issues to consider in starting your own company? How do you divide equity, protect your IP, and structure the company? Use these legal resources to help guide your start-up decisions.

Legal

UW Entrepreneurial Law Clinic
Provides early-stage companies with legal help at no cost.
Contact Jennifer Fan: jsfan@uw.edu

Top Ten Legal Mistakes Made by Entrepreneurs
Harvard Business School
Harvard Business School professor Constance Bagley discusses the most frequent legal flops made by entrepreneurs, from hiring the wrong lawyer to puffing up the business plan.

5 Legal Tips for Small Businesses and Startups
Eyal Lifshitz
A short read to help you avoid legal trouble with your startup.

startupPerColator
Perkins Coie
Features a free form-generation tool (incorporation documents, term sheets, etc.) to keep costs low for startups.

Startup Company Lawyer
Yoichiro (“Yokum”) Taku, partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Covers a broad range of legal issues faced by startups, including incorporation, founder issues, stock options, compensation, financing, and mergers and acquisitions.

The Venture Alley
Asher Bearman, Trent Dykes, and Megan Muir, DLA Piper
Blog about business and legal issues important to entrepreneurs, startups, venture capitalists, and angel investors.

Counselor @ Law
William Carleton, attorney, McNaul Ebel Nawrot & Helgren PLLC.
Blog covering tech-related legal issues.

The Only Wrong Answer Is 50/50: Calculating the Co-Founder Equity Split
Dan Shapiro for GeekWire
Great article on how to divide founder equity.

Interactive Legal Glossary
Pinnington Law
The Non-Lawyers Guide to Legal Terms. An interactive glossary to ensure you understand all necessary aspects of the legal processes you will need to follow.

Guide to Internet Law
Internet Society
A collection of legal research resources.

IP, Patents, and Trademarks

The United States Patent and Trademark Office
Comprehensive site containing information about applying for patents, filing for trademarks, searching for patents and trademarks, and more.

Google Patents
Searchable database of United States Patent and Trademark Office patents and patent applications.

IP Litigation Update
Blog offers insights into new developments in copyright, trademark, and trade secrets, with a particular focus on how these developments apply to technology companies. Content comes from Perkins Coie’s Intellectual Property Litigation attorneys.

Taxes

IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center
Basics about taxes and how to stay tax compliant.

Starting a Business
IRS
What new business owners need to know about federal taxes.

Stop Overpaying on Taxes
Garrett B. Gunderson, Wealth Factory, Forbes
Four simple ways to save on your taxes as an entrepreneur.

News and blogs

Check out our list of noteworthy blogs and news organizations.

Local News

Sources for Seattle-area entrepreneurship news
Buerk Center blog
Coverage of our competitions, alumni, and more.

GeekWire
Dispatches from the Digital Frontier

TechFlash
Seattle’s Technology News Source

Xconomy Seattle
Business and Technology in the Exponential Economy

National News

Sources for the latest in national entrepreneurship news

All Business
Stories and resources to help you start, grow, and manage your business (Dun & Bradstreet)

Entrepreneur
News and information for start-ups

Small Business
News and advice relevant for small and emerging businesses (The Wall Street Journal)

TechCrunch
Start-up profiles, new product reviews, and breaking tech news

The Biz Bite
News and views on entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership for business and social good (Seattle Pi)

Venture Hacks
Serial entrepreneurs/investors offer advice to start-ups (Sponsored by Kauffman Foundation)

Local Blogs

Words of wisdom from local entrepreneurs and investors

Marc Barros
Buerk Center Advisory Board member and Seattle-based entrepreneur

Chris DeVore
General partner at Founder’s Co-op and former executive of both public and private companies

T.A. McCann
Founder and CEO of Gist (acquired in 2011 by RIM) and advisor at Zooppa.

Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurial articles, stories, and advice (Forbes)

US News: Entrepreneurship
Articles about starting a business (US News & World Report)

National Blogs

Thoughts and advice from entrepreneurs who live outside of the Puget Sound region

Brad Feld
Early stage investor and entrepreneur for over twenty years. Co-founder of Foundry Group and TechStars.

Paul Graham
Essayist, programmer, and investor. Co-developer of the first web-based application Viaweb (acquired in 1998 by Yahoo) and one of the founders of Y Combinator.

Guy Kawasaki
Co-founder of Alltop.com, founding partner at Garage Technology Ventures, former chief evangelist of Apple, and author of ten books, including Reality Check, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, and The Art of the Start

Great Entrepreneurship Reads

UW PitchBook

Classes and networking

Connect with like-minded individuals through classes, meetups, and more.

Classes

Startup Education online (Kauffman Foundation Founders School)
Providing tools and resources to help entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses, Kauffman Eship is the marketplace for those who are looking to take their bold ideas to the next level.

Entrepreneurship Option (for undergraduate business majors)
The Entrepreneurship Option prepares students for an entrepreneurial career by offering a combination of coursework and practical experience. The required coursework establishes a foundation in entrepreneurship, including the necessary tools in marketing and finance.

Entrepreneurship Minor (for undergraduate non-business majors)
Open to all non-business undergraduate students, the Foster School’s competitive Entrepreneurship Minor offers students the opportunity to leverage their unique talents, as well as their new-found business knowledge, to achieve their start-up goals.

Lavin Entrepreneurship Program (Open to all majors)
By combining curriculum with hands-on learning, the UW Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship gives Lavin students the experience, skills and know-how to succeed in their future business ventures.

Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Classes
The UW Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship offers you numerous opportunities to learn step-by-step the process of launching a new venture. Not only are there classes to introduce you to the landscape of entrepreneurship and the method of writing a business plan, but through our cornerstone Creating a Company coursework, you’ll apply your new-found knowledge of entrepreneurship in a real-world context!

Build Your Own Business (BYOB)
BYOB is a drop-in workshop for undergraduates of any major who have an idea for a product or service and would like to share their idea, receive feedback from their peers and coaching from an experienced entrepreneur.

Master of Science of Entrepreneurship
The new 12-month Master of Science in Entrepreneurship is offered by the UW Foster School of Business and the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship. This program will prepare you to launch by giving you the knowledge, mentoring, experience, and connections to build a high-impact startup.

Graduate Entrepreneurship Curriculum
You’ll learn everything you can about entrepreneurship, strategy, finance, and marketing. You’ll study the decisions that entrepreneurs have to make and the skills they need to master.You’ll gain practice working with diverse groups of people, and build connections with the larger Seattle startup community.

Entrepreneurship Certificate
The Buerk Center’s certificate in entrepreneurship prepares University of Washington graduate and PhD students for the world of startups and new technology enterprises.

Internships/Fellowships
The Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship offers various internship and fellowship opportunities for graduate students to gain real-world experience in areas like technology commercialization, social entrepreneurship, startup investment, and global innovation.

PhD in Technology Entrepreneurship
Through the UW Foster School PhD in Technology Entrepreneurship, the center supports entrepreneurial teachers and researchers in technology commercialization, startup operations and new venture creation. This unique PhD program creates strong intellectual leaders and offers a source of talent for universities around the world.

Annual entrepreneur events worth putting in your calendar

GeekWire Calendar
GeekWire’s picks: meetups, conferences, start-up events and more

Resource Nights
The Buerk Center’s speaker series each winter quarter is open to the public. Hear from experts from the local entrepreneurial community to teach various aspects of creating a startup venture, from idea generation to legal issues to raising capital.

Seattle Angel Conference
Seattle Angel-driven event where the investors create an LLC, engage in due diligence of the applying startup companies, and ultimately pool funds to invest in one of the presenting finalists.

Seattle-Area Tech Events
Listing of many of the entrepreneurial events happening in the Puget Sound.

Seattle Startup Week
A free, 5-day celebration of the Seattle entrepreneurial community that builds momentum and opportunity around entrepreneurship.

Startup Hall’s Waffle Wednesday
A popular, free monthly breakfast event for the Seattle startup community to connect and catch up.

Startup Weekend
An intense 54-hour event which focuses on building a web or mobile application over the course of a weekend that could form the basis of a credible business.

SVP Fast Pitch Seattle
Fast-pitch granting and investment forum highlighting new ideas for social impact, presented by Social Venture Partners Seattle.

UW Startup Job Fair
A not-to-miss opportunity for current UW students to network with startup founders and their teams and discover opportunities to work with an early-stage company to help them ramp up fast. That means summer or school year paid internships, short-term projects, and/or full-time positions.

MentorConnect

Connect with mentors who can help you launch your business or prepare for the following competitions Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge, Holloman Health Innovation Challenge, and the Business Plan Competition.

Student Entrepreneur Team Formation Site

Find a team to help turn your idea into an early stage venture or to enter a competition. (2017-2018 site launching soon—stay tuned!)

Attend an event

Read the Buerk Center blog

Connect with the Buerk Center