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We asked Seattle startups about the economy and its impact on their business

From top left: Yifan Zhang and Adam Stelle of Loftium; Erin Green, Jason Maddocks, and Dave Siegfried of LOANtuitive; Joe Golden of PerfectRec; Vikram Chalana of PictoryAI; and Ivan Liachko of Phase Genomics.

Tech startups are impacted by the shaky economy. But some are feeling it more than others.

That was the takeaway from our conversations Tuesday evening at a BBQ in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood hosted by the Allen Institute of Artificial Intelligence.

We asked startup leaders the same question: On a scale from 1-10, how impacted is your business by the ongoing economic uncertainty — 1 being no impact at all, and 10 being the most severe impact.

Their answers ranged from -1 to 8, and were largely dependent on industry and stage of company. Some startups are cutting staff to help trim expenses while others see the uncertainty as an opportunity to grow. Even still, two longtime Seattle area investors who attended the party — both of whom weathered past downturns — described the current environment for startups as “really, really bad.”

Here’s what the entrepreneurs had to say:

Vikram Chalana, CEO of PictoryAI, a Seattle startup that helps content creators and marketers make short-form videos

Number: 1 or -1

Reason: “People have quit their jobs and they want to be independent and entrepreneurs. Being a creator seems like a great opportunity. Being a coach or a teacher seems like an awesome opportunity. That drives our licensing. Every user pays us a certain amount to make and edit videos.”

Erin Green, Jason Maddocks, and Dave Siegfried of LOANtuitive, a Seattle startup that runs a commercial real estate debt marketplace

Number: 8

Reason: “The biggest impact for us right now is runway. It’s been dramatic. But our business, it still has strong fundamentals. We are in an industry that does well in economic [uncertainty].”

Ivan Liachko, CEO of Phase Genomics, a Seattle DNA analysis startup that sells sequence kits

Number: 3

Reason: “I’m in biotech. Biotech has generally done pretty well [in downturns]. We are a little unique. We’re supported by sales and grants; we’re not supported by VC money. We’ve been all right.”

Yifan Zhang and Adam Stelle, co-founders of Loftium, a Seattle startup that lets homeowners rent out space in their home

Number: 8

Reason: “There’s a positive side and a negative side. The positive is that we’re in affordable housing. Affordability is the biggest issue. We’re seeing huge demand. But from the macro-perspective, there’s housing costs, the housing market, cost of capital.”

Joe Golden, CEO of PerfectRec, a Seattle startup that develops personalized recommendation engines for electronics

Number: 2

Reason: “It’s a bad environment to be raising funding. But we’re self-funded. We are hiring. We’re just building our product for now. We just need people to be shopping and buying stuff.”


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