WTIA Buys Troubled NWEN in Nonprofit Consolidation

The Washington Technology Industry Association, the state’s top trade group for tech companies, is taking over another nonprofit that serves tech entrepreneurs.

The WTIA announced today that it’s acquiring the Northwest Entrepreneur Network, which laid off its director last month as it sought to restructure. The deal involved some payment, but the exact figures were not disclosed. 

NWEN members will be converted to WTIA members with the purchase. The WTIA also plans to keep running two former NWEN events: the First Look Forum, which is a pitch competition for aspiring entrepreneurs, and Entrepreneur University, a mentoring and education program.

Both nonprofits have been around for about 30 years in the greater Seattle area. NWEN was previously led by Daniel Rossi, who left last fall to become chief business officer for Seattle-based tech news website GeekWire. (Coincidentally, Rossi was hired at NWEN to replace Rebecca Lovell, who herself had left to take the chief business officer job at GeekWire.)

Interest in tech startups has greatly increased in recent years, so it’s perhaps surprising that a nonprofit focused on serving early stage entrepreneurs would hit tough times.

But at the same time, education about entrepreneurship has become widely available online, and seed-stage investment has been relatively accessible, especially with new online platforms like AngelList. Such shifts could reduce the need for community groups like NWEN.

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