Tech Alliance’s Susannah Malarkey on Four Things Seattle Could Learn from Boston, and One Big Northwest Advantage
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our flagship university in our flagship city. All you have to do is look at Oregon and see—they’ve got OSU in Corvallis, and U of O in Eugene, and in the city they have Portland State—so now you have three universities competing to be the big school in a state that can’t sustain it.”
And the unique partnership between the University of Washington’s medical school and the five WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho) states ensures that quality public medical education is available across the region, with a linchpin right here in Seattle, Malarkey says.
One Way Seattle Gives Boston a Run for its Money
Though Malarkey acknowledges Seattle has a lot to learn from cities like Boston, the trip opened her eyes to a few gems about the Emerald City that leave many of our friends on the East Coast yearning. At the top of the list is Seattle’s booming global health industry.
“They are very envious of us for having the Gates Foundation and the way we are able to be a true center for global health,” she said.
And though Boston has the second highest concentration of venture capital outside of Silicon Valley—“if you look at 100 percent of the venture capital in the country, almost 50 percent of it is in California, another 20 percent is in Boston, and Seattle has got like four to five percent,” Malarkey said—many of these funds support early stage developments in the life sciences industry, something that isn’t as readily available to firms in Boston.
“They didn’t feel like there was very much early stage VC in Boston, so we were actually fairly comparable in terms of that early money that it really takes to grow companies,” Malarkey said.
And the nurturing of emerging industries is what will help Seattle grow into a world class city that others aspire to follow, she added.
Looking to the Future
“The fact is this is going to be the Asian century. And your natural inclination when you’re on the East Coast is to look to Europe… We look to Asia,” Malarkey said. “I do believe Seattle has a big advantage in that we are focusing our thoughts about global competition by physically looking in the direction of where it’s coming from…There are wonderful advantages to have lots of tradition, ergo lots of higher education, but I also think there are advantages to being able to be freed up to invent your own future.”