WTIA’s Summer Social: Busy Times, Hating Starbucks, and an Offer I Can’t Refuse

“The only tall blonde women in Seattle are recruiters.” This and other astute observations from Aviel Ginzburg—by day, a mild-mannered developer at Seattle-based Appature, and by night, head of the underground startup Timelope. Looking around at the tech-networking crowd, I had to say he was right so far.

While Luke was hobnobbing at the WBBA biotech event across town last night, I was tossing back a few cold ones at the Pyramid Alehouse across from Safeco Field. It was the big summer party put on by the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA), the largest statewide organization of tech companies and executives. Rumblings from the crowd included some general disgust with Starbucks, which had just announced that it is closing 19 of its 407 stores in Washington, including seven in its hometown of Seattle—talk about unsustainable growth putting other sustainable ventures (indie coffee shops) out of business.

Ken Myer, the president and CEO of WTIA, was a gracious host and introduced me to a bunch of interesting folks. Among them was Marty Roberts, VP of marketing at The Platform, a Seattle-based subsidiary of Comcast Interactive Media since 2006. The Platform handles the logistics of online media distribution and competes with companies such as Cambridge, MA-based Brightcove. It also works a lot with Cambridge, MA-based Akamai and Portland, OR-based Elemental Technologies; the latter just raised a Series A round of $7.1 million. Then there was Helen Fanucci, a marketing director at Sun Microsystems specializing in the telecom and cable industries. (I had to say hi, since she has the same last name as a great character from The Godfather, Part II—the mafia Don who harasses the young Robert DeNiro.)

I also ran into Rebecca Lovell, program director at Alliance of Angels, whom I’ve been meaning to catch up with. She said June was the busiest month in years for her organization, and pointed me to a couple of very interesting startups she’s working with in software and materials—more on that soon.

Lastly, I got to meet Josh Maher, a senior program manager at Redmond, WA-based Denali Advanced Integration who runs Seattle Lunch 2.0 in his spare time. It’s a series of networking events and happy hours hosted by local tech companies. The next one is Thursday, July 24 at 4:30 pm at Evri, a Seattle startup led by ex-Amazon veteran Neil Roseman (and incubated by Vulcan Capital). Should be a good one.

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