Geoff Entress, the Go-To Startup Investor, Weaves Himself Deeper Into Seattle Tech Community With Founder’s Co-op
How did Geoff Entress become Seattle’s go-to tech investor and startup guru? For those outside the local technology community, Entress is an angel investor who has put his own money to work in more than 35 startup companies, most of them software-based and in the Northwest. They range from firms that are now well-established like Isilon Systems (NASDAQ: ISLN), Seadragon Software (bought by Microsoft), and The Coffee Equipment Company (bought by Starbucks), to fast-rising stars like Bonanzle, Cheezburger Network, Dashwire, Swype, and Elemental Technologies.
But that only scratches the surface of the impact Entress has had in the business community. He is a trusted advisor to scores of local entrepreneurs. He’s also well-known and trusted by the VCs on the other side of the table, having worked as a venture partner at two of Seattle’s premier tech VC firms, Madrona Venture Group and Voyager Capital.
Just yesterday, Entress, 46, found another way to weave himself deeper into the fabric of the Seattle startup community. He announced he has joined Seattle-based Founder’s Co-op as a managing partner. This means he will help run the seed-stage investment fund and startup mentorship program as an equal partner along with co-founders Chris DeVore and Andy Sack. Entress had been a limited partner of the firm for the past couple of years. As if his new role won’t keep him busy enough, Entress is also retaining his position at Voyager Capital, where he will continue to advise startups and evaluate investment deals.
Overall, the move solidifies Entress’s standing as one of the most connected and successful early-stage tech investors in the country. He has been called the “Ron Conway of Seattle” (after the Silicon Valley early-stage angel investor in Google and PayPal) often enough that the comparison feels like a cliche. But to understand what Entress’s move to Founder’s Co-op really means—and what the long-term impact could be on the startup and venture capital ecosystem—you need to know more about where he came from, and where he’s going in life.
Entress is one of those guys whose track record as a boy wonder boggles the mind. He grew up in Pittsburgh, the son of an oral surgeon with the U.S. Navy who “pulled the wisdom teeth of all my friends in high school,” he says. He went to college at the University of Notre Dame, and returned to his hometown to do a master’s in industrial administration at Carnegie Mellon University. Fresh out of business school in the mid-1980s, when he was in his early 20s, he ran a hedge fund with his father. The fund was successful enough that its sale to Duquesne Capital Management helped launch Entress’s career as an angel investor.
But before he found his golden touch for startups in Seattle, he had to complete a couple more steps in the journey. He learned the ways of Wall Street in various jobs in finance, sales, and … Next Page »