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TiE Seattle’s Z5Catalyst set to screen and invest in B2B startups

Vishal Krishna
15th Oct 2018
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TiE Seattle board nominates Gowri Shankar and Shirish Nadkarni to work with Seattle-based B2B startups in partnership with Z5 Capital.

Gowri Shankar and Sharmili Ghosh, of TiE Seattle, which has invested in Z5 Capital.

 The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) network, which has over 40 chapters worldwide and was founded in the Valley in 1992 to support startups from India, has gone beyond its angel investing mode. The Seattle Chapter of the network has set up the Z5 Catalyst Screening Committee, which will screen and identify the best Seattle/India-based B2B startups that will be funded by Z5 Capital. The Seattle Chapter of the network has set up the Z5 Catalyst Screening Committee, which will screen and identify the best Seattle/India-based B2B startups that will be funded by Z5 Capital.

The TiE Seattle board has nominated TiE Seattle board members Gowri Shankar and Shirish Nadkarni to run the screening of the startups.

"It will work with Arun Rammoorthy, formerly of Pinnacle Ventures, and Nanda Krish, of Start Smart Labs from Palo Alto-based Z5 Capital to invest in startups that have gone from idea to revenue stage."

It will work with Arun Rammoorthy, formerly of Pinnacle Ventures, and Nanda Krish, of Start Smart Labs from Palo Alto-based Z5 Capital to invest in startups that have gone from idea to revenue stage.

Sources say (TiE Seattle would not confirm this) the first investment will be in hybrid cloud management company CoreStack.io, which is co-founded by Thiruvakkuvar NB, Ezhilarasan Natarajan, Rathinasabapathy A, and Krishnakumar Narayan. The investment in this Seattle/Chennai-based company is slightly more than a million dollars.

Gowri Shankar, Chair of the Z5 Catalyst Screening committee in Seattle, says: "We have partnered with Z5 Capital so that entrepreneurs have to deal with one fund, instead of dealing with term sheets from multiple individuals. We will make at least four or five investments and will also have exposure to the success of the larger fund.”

Gowri adds that Z5 Capital and Z5Catalyst are happy to look at Indian startups that move operations to the Pacific Northwest region of the USA.

Focusing on ideas

This is also part of a movement to increase the number of ideas flowing into Seattle from all over the world. The numbers do the talking. According to Dow Jones Venture Intelligence, since 2008, VC firms in the Bay Area have raised $169 billion while the total funds raised by VC funds in the Pacific Northwest are estimated to be $6.1 billion.

However, Amazon and Microsoft, which sit out of Washington State, are companies with close to trillion-dollar market cap.

Seattle is the sixth largest startup ecosystem in the USA.

Shirish Nadkarni, Co-chair of Z5 Catalyst, says: “We welcome Indian startups to come set up business in Seattle. But, they need to qualify for an investment and have to set up their offices in the Seattle region.”

The fund will invest in Seattle startups in three years, the money will be allocated to other startups across the Valley and the Pacific Northwest.

The TiE Seattle Chapter along with TiE Mumbai organised these meetings for startup members of the TiE Mumbai Chapter who flew in a business delegation, of startups, to visit the region and understand the business landscape in the Pacific Northwest region of America.

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