The flywheel is spinning at Pioneer Square Labs, the Seattle startup studio formed five years ago by a cadre of Seattle’s leading angel and venture capital investors.
In the course of a six-month span during the pandemic, PSL spun out six new startups, bringing its overall total to 25. The astounding rate of entrepreneurial energy coming out of PSL is noteworthy — very few Seattle firms have helped create so many ideas, so quickly.
And in five short years, the 22-person firm has rapidly emerged as a cornerstone of the Pacific Northwest’s red-hot innovation ecosystem.
“They are filling the gap for experienced entrepreneurs that want to move as fast as possible to get through the first steps required to establish any company,” said Omri Bahat, a Seattle angel investor and Alliance of Angels board member who has backed multiple PSL companies.
PSL’s long-term impact on the Seattle startup ecosystem remains to be seen. It does not yet have a breakout star or Seattle’s next unicorn. Only one portfolio company has raised a Series B round or later. And some are critical of the startup studio model, saying firms such as PSL take too much stock ownership from founders, increasing dilution and potentially dissuading future investors.
Venture capital is a long game, and it’s still early