The Washington Technology Center (WTC)-Third annual Index of Innovation and Technology- Washington State- Life after the Dot Bomb

Attached is a press release announcing findings from the Washington Technology
Center’s recently published 2003 Index of Innovation and Technology for Washington
State. Among the positive news: Washington still ranks first in the creation
of new companies and is ninth in the top regions of the U.S. for venture investment.

The entire Index and its executive summary are available online at

Ellen Barker, Marketing Communications Specialist

Washington Technology Center

Box 352140

Seattle, WA 98195-2140


206-543-3059 (fax)

[email protected]



Just visit one of the countless cafes from Seattle to Spokane and talk to people who still haven’t found full-time work since their dot-com employers went belly up. Emotions can run high. With the economy and stock markets still faltering, and unemployment high, things seem pretty bad, but the true state of technology in Washington is more difficult to assess.

The Washington Technology Center (WTC) has just released its third annual Index of Innovation and Technology, a set of key indicators that paints an objective picture of the underlying health of the innovation economy in Washington State.

Things are bad, “but certainly not hopeless,” said Lee Cheatham, Executive Director of WTC, a state-funded organization that fosters technology employment growth.
“On the positive side,” said Cheatham, “we continue to see people who try out their ideas in new companies.” Washington still ranks first of all states in the creation of new companies. According to the Innovation Index, the number of patents earned by Washington inventors increased by 11 percent from 2000 to 2001.

Washington State also retains the dubious honor of having the highest percentage of business closings in the country. “Money makes these companies go around,” Cheatham continued. “And they’re having a tough time finding enough of it right now. Investors are still expecting higher returns than are available, so many are sitting on the sidelines.”
While venture investment in Washington companies declined almost 60 percent during the years covered by the Index, that’s not as rapid as in most other technology regions.

Washington remains among the top regions of the country for venture investment, ranking ninth overall. Silicon Valley continues to attract an exceptionally large share of investment—15 to 20 times more venture capital than Washington State.

However, this mass extinction of Internet companies and shriveled funding has not reversed the rise in technology employment in our state. The growth of non-aircraft technology sectors has steadily increased, according to the Index. Many of the refugees from defunct dot-com companies have found new full-time jobs in other parts of the innovation economy. Plus, Washington is tops in average technology job wage at $118,252 per year.

On a typical Monday afternoon at a big Starbucks in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, people were camped out with their laptops, working on freelance projects or refining multiple versions of their resumes. Rob Voce, Director of New Business Development for, stopped in for a latte on his way to an appointment.

“I went to work for an Internet darling,” said Voce. “It was exciting and collegial until they downsized in a stretch for profitability. Then, I went to another startup for a while before finding the position I have now. My company is making money and I still love technology,” he continued. “That never changed.” Mr. Voce also has an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, so he may be better equipped than most to rebound.
WTC’s Innovation Index looks through a lens of some 40 or more indicators to provide an objective view. They assess growth, financial capacity, human potential, competitiveness, quality of life, and innovation capacity in Washington State.

The Index does raise some reasons for concern. Investors are tentative. It also points out the slow rate of increase in elementary and secondary students passing math proficiency—a key element to participate in the innovation economy.
But overall, the third annual Index of Innovation and Technology shows that, even in these shaky economic times, the foundations of innovation remain strong in Washington State. People with new ideas keep right on inventing. And strong companies continue to do well.

To request a copy of the complete Index or the Index Executive Summary, send an e-mail to [email protected], or download the documents at

About the Washington Technology Center

The Washington Technology Center is Washington’s statewide science and technology organization committed to accelerating the innovation-based economy. WTC stimulates job growth in Washington’s companies by helping develop commercially viable technology. Since 1995, over 200 Washington companies working with WTC have secured $280 million in outside financing or federal contracts. More than half the companies receiving WTC funding have had fewer than 100 employees. WTC also manages a Microfabrication Laboratory, a nationally recognized facility for research, technology development, and prototype manufacturing.

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