The Program

TechStars Blog

11th May 2012

Andy Sack: The Iron Man of Startups

photo by Annie Laurie Malarkey

Below is a guest post by the wonderful Rebecca Lovell, mentor to TechStars. Author’s note: Rebecca Lovell is the Chief Business Officer of GeekWire, which acquired Seattle 2.0 and as such is now producing and presenting the beloved Startup Awards. Rebecca is a returning mentor to the Seattle TechStars program, and teaches a class on Venture Capital investing in the UW MBA program.

In a world where startups need every ounce of passion and insight they can muster, and where Andy Sack means so much to so many of them, on May 3rd the Seattle community added a new award to Andy’s list of accolades: “The Iron Man of Startups.”  In the fourth year of a grand tradition, GeekWire presented the Seattle 2.0 Startup Awards, where the community voted for such favorites as Startup of the Year and Hire of the Year, and new hits such as Next Tech Titan and Geekiest Coffee Shop.  But nothing brought down the packed house like the true “People’s Choice” award given to Andy.   We introduced a “Wild Card Award” this year, where techies and startuppers submitted their nominations in the form of ____ deserves an award for ____.  Believe me, we got some interesting submissions, but one name and theme emerged as the clear winner.  Last Thursday, we couldn’t have been more honored to present the Iron Man award to Andy, and we could have heard a pin drop at the EMP when 600+ adoring fans awaited his acceptance speech.

“Fuck.”

He also said: “Cancer is this amazing thing. I mean…I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. But there are a lot of positives to the experience and one of the positives is being weak enough that people step forward. I’m honored, humbled, and super happy to be alive. I love what I get to do each day, which is work hard to make the Seattle tech community better each year. And I’m seeing it, so I’m super excited. TechStars investors just re-upped for three years. Apply. It’s gonna be great.”

Jonathan Sposato, GeekWire’s Chairman and a fellow mentor for the TechStars program in Seattle put it best: “Andy is the King of Get Fucking Aggressive. The Emperor of DtoP (Drive to Profitability).  The Ayatalloh of BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals). A man so tough he kicked cancer in the ass.”  From career advice to poker tips (not to mention working with him at TechStars), Andy has been an inspiration and a friend. In a town known for being passive aggressive, Andy is aggressive.  Aggressive in his advice- yes.  Aggressive in his support of startups- hell yes.  And aggressive in beating cancer.  Much love and gratitude to Andy, and we can’t wait to see what he and TechStars do next.