Some of the 46 CEOs on the GeekWire 200 who worked at Microsoft at some point.
It all started with a tweet.
Investor Kirby Winfield felt like Microsoft was far more important to the startup scene of the Pacific Northwest than most people realized. So he dashed off a few names — from Rover CEO Aaron Easterly to Zulily co-founder Darrell Cavens — who once worked for the software giant.
“I have always been surprised that the trope ‘Microsoft people don’t make good startup founders’ is received wisdom in many Seattle tech circles. It conflicts with what I’ve seen personally as a startup operator and an investor,” Winfield told GeekWire in a follow-up email.
ex-MSFT founders of Seattle startup behemoths:
Darrell Cavens (Zulily)
Dan Lewis (Convoy)
Aaron Easterly (Rover)
Nick Huzar (OfferUp)
Eric Ranft (Docusign)
Brent Frei (Smartsheet)
Manny Medina (Outreach)
Eugenio Pace (Auth0)
But yeah, MSFT doesn’t birth startup talent. smdh
— Kirby Winfield (@kirbywinfield) June 10, 2019
Winfield named the first CEOs and founders that came to mind. Recognizing that there were probably more examples that he missed, he called on GeekWire to do some more digging. So we analyzed the GeekWire 200, our index of top privately held tech startups in the Pacific Northwest, to see how many companies on the list are run by CEOs with experience at Microsoft.
The answer: 46 of the current GeekWire 200 companies, nearly a quarter of the index, are led by CEOs who worked at Microsoft at some point in their careers, representing a combined 349 years worth of experience at the company. No other organization or company comes close to having that kind of influence on startup leadership in the Seattle region. Amazon was the second-most common former employer, with 11 former Amazonians among the CEOs on the list.
It’s a partial window into the phenomenon, not …read more