Seattle's Tipping Point: An Economy on the Verge

Seminar | April.19.2018 | 10:30am - 12:00pm (Pacific Standard Time)

Orrick Seattle

Once thought of as a provincial backwater in terms of entrepreneurial activity, Seattle is in the midst of rapid historic growth, both in terms of population and pace of innovation. In fact, Seattle was recently described as a "suburb of Silicon Valley" when it comes to venture-backed companies. But what is driving this growth?

Understanding Seattle's social and economic history is key to anticipating and investing in our future. Our distinguished panel will explore these themes and questions, including:

  • What are the key historical factors that laid the foundation for Seattle's rapid growth in tech and life sciences innovation?
  • How has Seattle's talent pool evolved over the years and what characteristics define our workforce now and in the near future?
  • Which sectors and technologies have played the biggest role in our growth, and which ones will rise to the top in the future?
  • What elements is Seattle lacking if we are to become a Top 3 market for venture-backed companies?


  • Technology & Innovation Sector
  • Life Sciences Sector
  • Technology Companies Group
  • Technology & Innovation
  • Life Sciences

Blake Ilstrup Partner


Blake brings a unique and invaluable mix of in-house, entrepreneurial, and law firm experience, having served as General Counsel and senior executive of a software company and two biotech companies (co-founding one of them), as well as outside corporate counsel in elite AmLaw Global 100 law firms.

Blake‚Äôs experience spans multiple industries, including life sciences, software, hardware, mobile, fintech, cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, clean energy, and retail. He has counseled fast-growing companies on hundreds of venture capital financings and M&A transactions, numerous public offerings, as well as service as a trusted advisor to management teams and Boards on both strategic and day-to-day matters.

Blake is proud to have worked with a variety of technology and life science companies, venture capital firms and investment banks, including AppSheet (acquired by Google; Nasdaq: GOOGL), Arris Composites, Barclays, Cloudhopper (acquired by Twitter; NYSE: TWTR), Critical Insight, Coatue Management, fatfoogoo (acquired by Digital River; Nasdaq: DRIV), Ikaria, IronPort Systems (acquired by Cisco; Nasdaq: CSCO), Kineta (Nasdaq:  KA), Lighter Capital, Oculus (Nasdaq: FB), OncoSenX, PATH, Qpass (acquired by Amdocs; NYSE: DOX), Varian Medical (NYSE: VAR), Xcimer Energy, and Zipwhip (acquired by Twilio; NYSE: TWLO).

Prior to his legal career, Blake served with distinction in the U.S. Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer, Fire Control Officer, and Air Warfare Coordinator, including two combat deployments to the Persian Gulf, where he was decorated for his performance during Operations Southern Watch and Desert Strike.