TechStars Seattle, on the Prowl for Talented Coders, Adopts HackStars Program

6/6/11Follow @curtwoodward

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promises of a long-term paycheck? It doesn’t appeal to everyone, Glaros says—but for the right people, the opportunity can be a perfect way to scratch an entrepreneurial itch.

“We got a lot of really high-quality engineers that were working in large companies, who wanted to make the leap to entrepreneurship. But they didn’t know anything about the industry,” Glaros says. And in any case, with their skills in such high demand, good engineers know they can probably snag a reliable job afterward without too much sweat, she adds.

This reminds me of an interesting story I heard recently about a group of entrepreneurs who weren’t having much trouble finding software talent, even in this competitive climate. The reason? Good engineers aren’t coin-operated. In other words, top-notch people are attracted by interesting problems to solve and the opportunity to make a difference—something they might not always find inside a corporate giant. That sounds like the type of people who might be attracted to something like HackStars.

It’s an interesting addition to the TechStars program, which has quickly become a hub of startup activity in Seattle. In addition to the 10 TechStars-sponsored companies, the South Lake Union office also houses startups—like BigDoor Media and Zipline Games—that are financed by Founder’s Co-op, the seed-stage fund run by Sack and Chris DeVore.

At the very least, something like HackStars offers a more structured way of luring some of those “wantrepreneurs” that startup junkies are always hoping to entice off the sidelines—part of the Seattle community’s bid to turn up the energy on the creation of tech startups. If it works out the way Sack and others are hoping, a few coders might be spending some long days indoors next fall.

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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