Techstars Seattle leader Chris DeVore to step down, will focus on Founders’ Co-op venture capital firm

Techstars Seattle Managing Director Chris Devore will step down next month. (GeekWire File Photo)

After nearly five years leading Techstars Seattle as managing director, Chris DeVore is stepping down on July 1.

In an interview with GeekWire, DeVore said he’ll continue to stay involved with the accelerator and its portfolio companies. But he’s ready for someone else to take over as managing director so he can focus on running Founders’ Co-op, the Seattle venture capital firm that recently raised a $25 million fund, its largest ever.

DeVore will continue working out of the University of Washington’s Startup Hall, which houses both Techstars Seattle and Founders’ Co-op.

“I’m not going anywhere,” DeVore said. “I’m just passing the torch for one of my responsibilities.”

Techstars posted the job today. Applications for the next Techstars Seattle cohort open July 22. The tenth class just wrapped up last month.

The tenth Techstars Seattle cohort gathers after Demo Day last month at Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry. (GeekWire Photo / Taylor Soper)

DeVore became managing director in 2014, taking the reins from Andy Sack, his longtime business partner at Founders’ Co-op who brought Techstars to Seattle in 2009. DeVore has been involved with Techstars Seattle from the beginning.

“It’s great work and I love it, but having someone else in that chair with a slightly different perspective is probably good for Seattle and good for Techstars,” he said of the managing director role.

DeVore previously co-founded Adjacency (acquired by Sapient) and Judy’s Book, and held executive roles at Patagonia and ATT before becoming a venture capitalist. The Yale and Stanford MBA grad currently sits on the board of Friends of Waterfront Seattle, a nonprofit helping to revitalize Seattle’s downtown waterfront, and previously co-chaired the City of Seattle’s Economic Development Commission.

Techstars Seattle, the third version of Techstars after Boulder and Boston, has graduated 110 companies to date. Alumni of the accelerator — companies such as Remitly, Outreach, Skilljar, Bizible, Leanplum and Zipline — have collectively raised more than $700 million in investment capital. Most have built their startups in the Pacific Northwest, helping expand the entrepreneurial clout in the region.

The accelerator provides $120,000 in funding in exchange for 6 percent common stock, along with mentoring and coaching on the three-month journey.

Techstars Seattle is part of a larger Techstars network that includes 43 programs across the globe and also features a Techstars venture capital fund and a startup studio model. Techstars Seattle shares space with the Alexa Accelerator, a separate program co-led by Techstars and Amazon focused around voice technologies. Aviel Ginzburg, a Founders’ Co-op general partner, will continue his role as managing director of the Alexa Accelerator.  

Techstars expects to announce DeVore’s replacement around July 1. The accelerator is looking for someone with experience working with both founders and large corporations.

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