We are so proud to announce that we have been selected to the first cohort in WTIA’s Founder Cohort Program. Incredible big thanks to Dave Parker, Leslie Feinzeig and Nick Ellingson for their amazing support.

Here’s the press release on the topic, or check out the coverage in GeekWire.

They are building businesses in blockchain, AI, augmented reality, sports, real estate, education, and even laser insect monitoring. But now they all have one thing in common: the inaugural startups of the Founder Cohort Program.

The Washington Technology Industry Association selected 24 local startups to participate in the new program designed to help guide early-stage founders as they grow their companies.

Founders will have the chance to meet like-minded local entrepreneurs and also be connected to law, accounting, HR, and recruiting firms that work with the WTIA.

“Launching a tech business requires investment of capital and expertise far beyond the means of any one founder,” Michael Schutzler, CEO of WTIA, said in a statement. “We are using our network to deliver the more elusive or expensive resources such as leadership mentoring, accounting, HR and fundraising expertise. Best of all, this cohort will become their own team of resources and partnerships that last for many years to come.”

The companies have annual revenue of $1 million or less and a product that is at least in a “MVP” stage. The program, part of the WTIA’s “Startup Club.” is free and the WTIA does not take any equity.

Dave Parker, venture partner at Bend, Ore.-based Seven Peaks Ventures, heads up the Founder Cohort committee. He told GeekWire last month that the WTIA traditionally focuses on larger tech companies and the new group is part of a push to connect with earlier-stage startups that may find value in its services — health insurance; 401K; events; etc. — at a future date.

The idea is also to simply help founders navigate the Seattle tech ecosystem and use the power of networking. Parker said one of the critiques of the Seattle startup scene is that “sometimes we play small ball.”

“We want Seattle to play bigger — not individuals doing small stuff, but collectively doing it bigger,” he said.