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120+ Startup Founders and CEOs Have Signed so Far

Dear Members of the Washington State Senate,

We appreciate the efforts of the Legislature to foster a strong and vibrant economy in Washington state. Over the past several decades, Washington has benefited from the growth of the technology sector and our state’s rising status as a global technology hub. Today, the tech sector is a leading driver of job creation and economic growth, employing more than 410,000 Washingtonians with well-paying jobs. This all begins with startups, which are the foundational pillar of this innovation ecosystem.

Recognizing the importance of startups to Washington’s economy, we wanted to draw your attention to the harmful impacts of SB 5096 on Washington’s startups, entrepreneurs, broader innovation ecosystem, and competitiveness as a technology hub.

Capital Gains Tax Hurts Startup Employees and Ecosystem

This bill comes at a time when Washington’s startups already face a challenging market as their consumer and business customers struggle with the headwinds from the risk-averse economic climate created by the global pandemic. A capital gains tax would penalize founders and their employees during an already unprecedented period.

Notably, the bill impacts startup employees at an outsize rate. Income for employees at startups is often substantially lower than mature technology companies due to limited capital in the early years as the business begins to develop a product, customer base, and revenue. Founders’ shares and stock options are a primary compensation strategy used as a way to encourage those early-stage employees to forgo higher wage jobs at established companies and take the risk for working at a startup. Realized capital gains on founders’ shares and stock options are already taxed at the federal level. Taxing those gains penalizes employees and encourages founders to form their companies in other states, or to relocate to states that do not have a capital gains tax. The result will be a loss of jobs and economic vitality in our region.

Further, a state capital gains tax may spur investors to cash out of already existing investments in our businesses and reappropriate this capital into startups outside of Washington, or into investments that do not create jobs for our state. By shrinking the available capital, this bill would slow the engine that has created most of the economic growth, innovation, and job creation in our state over the past few decades.

Capital Gains Tax Adversely Impacts Washington’s Competitiveness

The vitality of Washington’s innovation economy is at an inflection point. Tech companies and their employees in Silicon Valley are relocating to states with more favorable business climates. Meanwhile, the pandemic has made virtual work environments the norm, which has allowed companies to recruit and retain talent far away from their headquarters. Washington is in a position to gain from this. Our state has a large pool of talent, companies consider our region favorable when compared to the Valley, and our stature internationally has grown in the past decade.

At the same time, the cost of living is rising in our state and many legislators are making national headlines vilifying our industry. This makes Washington less competitive each year. A capital gains tax would remove a meaningful attraction and retention mechanism and will harm our competitiveness even more.

Strengthening Washington’s Startup Ecosystem

We welcome the efforts of the Legislature to advance education programs that grow our talent pool, create startup programs that make it easier for underrepresented groups to launch a company, and genuinely engage in a public-private collaboration to build a strong economy. However, SB 5096 places a burden on entrepreneurs and job creators while weakening Washington’s innovation ecosystem – a key driver of job creation and growth for our state’s economy, not just for today, but for the future.

We encourage Members of the Legislature to vote NO on SB 5096, and we welcome the opportunity to discuss measures to grow the startup landscape and innovation economy in Washington.

Sincerely,

Acumatica
Jon Roskill, CEO

AdaptiLab
James Wu, CEO

Aditi Consulting
Raja Narayana, CEO

Advocat Technologies
Pradnya Desh, CEO

Aerostrat
Elliot Margul, CEO and Co-Founder

Agile Systems
Allan Beals, Founder and CEO

Agility Design
Dan Blase, President

AirGO.Ai
Jeff Zika, CEO

Airwavz.tv
Bonnie Beeman, CEO and Founder

Ampd
Joshua Gebhardt, CEO & Co-founder

Apptio
Sunny Gupta, CEO

Asha AI
Rashmi Joshi, CEO & Founder

Asignio, Inc.
Kyle Rutherford, Founder & CEO

AstrumU
Adam Wray, CEO & Founder, Kaj Pedersen, CTO

Avara Construction
Benjamin Petter, President

Avept, Inc.
Stanton Maines, Co-Founder & Vice President

Bassler Consulting LLC
Patricia Bassler, Founder & CEO

BirchAI
Kevin Terrell, CEO

BitTitan
Geeman Yip, Founder & CEO

Capital Planning LLC
Michael Miller, CEO

Care Papers, Inc.
Carl Rogers, CEO

Code Fellows
Jeff Malek, CEO

CodeSmart, Inc.
Mark W Meyer, President

CoreStack
Ezhilarasan (Ez) Natarajan, Founder & CEO

Covenantz
Pericles DeAvila, CEO

Daily Magic Mobile Inc
Marianna Vallejo, CEO

Dataweave Inc.
Krishnan Thyagarajan, President

DKParker LLC
Dave Parker, Founder & Managing Partner

Dolly
Mike Howell, CEO

Donuts, Inc.
Akram Atallah, CEO

doxo
Steve Shivers, CEO & Co-Founder

dToor
Christina Cyr, CEO

Easy Metrics, Inc.
Dean Dorcas, CEO

Echodyne
Eben Frankenberg, CEO & Co-Founder

Edizeven
Shilpi Gupta, Founder & CEO

efelle creative
Fred Lebhart, CEO

Electric Pen
John Pletsch, President

Enlyft
Lokesh Dave, CEO

Esper.io
Yadhu Gopalan, CEO & Co-Founder

ExtraHop
Jesse Rothstein and Raja Mukerji, Co-Founders

FanWide Technologies Inc.
Symon Perriman, CEO & Founder

FileOnQ, Inc.
Kim Webley, CEO

Flowplay
Derrick Morton, CEO

Flyhomes
Andrey Nokhrin, Growth Manager

Formotus, Inc.
Adriana Neagu, President/Co-founder

Forms On Fire
Kendall Kunz, Founder & CEO

FreeGren Digital
Dan Sundgren, Co-Founder

FreeMo
Leigh Hunt, CEO & Founder

Freshworks
Pradeep Rathinam, CCO

GitClear
Bill Harding, CEO

Goldfinch Partners
William McNichols and Sean Collins, Managing Partners

H5 Group LLC
Tony Hancuff, President

i8 Labs
Kouji Kodera, CEO & Co-Founder

Indigo Slate, Inc.
Aaron Duggal, Co-Founder & Managing Partner

Industrial Software Solutions
Glenn Carlson, President & Founder

Innov8.ag
Steve Mantle, Founder & CEO

Integrated Register Systems, Inc.
Arnold Mortzheim, President

iSpot.tv
Sean Muller, Founder & CEO

Jag Journey, LLC
Sharon Couts, CEO

Juanita Bay Trading Corp.
Robert Hearst, Venture Capitalist

Keepe
Rishi Mathew, Co-founder & CEO

Komaya
Rosalinda Saxena, Co-Founder

Kurvv
Ryan Lee, CEO & Co-founder

LendMe, Inc.
Amanuail Ambaye, Founder & CEO

MacroHealth
Virgil Bretz, Co-Founder & CEO

Magick.ai, Inc
Brian Mellinger, President and CEO

McObject
Steven Graves, President and Co-founder

MediaPRO
Mike Metzger, CEO

MedVenture App
Emily Cheng, CEO & Co-Founder

Metrolla
Alexandra Reynolds, CMO & Co-founder

Modern Electron
Tony Pan, Cofounder and CEO

Modex Inc.
Dale Larson, CEO

Moment
Marc Barros, CEO

MoxiWorks
York Baur, CEO

Mystery
Shane Kovalsky, Co-founder, CEO

Navnetics
Estelle Giraud, CEO

Neal Analytics LLC
Dylan Dias, CEO

neu
Claude Mbemba, Kwame Boler, Co-founders

Nintex
Eric Johnson, CEO

Nori
Paul Gambill, CEO & Co-Founder

Northwest Tank & Environmental Services, Inc
Remy Cano, CEO

Odysseus Technologies, Inc.
Dr. Bryan E. Laubscher, Founder & CEO

OfferUp Inc.
Nick Huzar, CEO

Optio3 Inc.
Sridhar Chandrashekar, Co-Founder, CEO

PDM Automotive
Johannes Crepon, CEO

Plateau Software, Inc.
Brad Kleinfelder, Founder

Point Inside
Jon Croy, CEO

Precision Image Analysis
Mary Waiss, Founder

Pro.com
Dean Falconer, Founder

Pulse Labs
Abhishek Suthan, CEO

Pure Watercraft
Andy Rebele, Founder & CEO

Red Bison Technology Group LLC
Martha Bejar, Co-Founder
Bill Owens, Executive Chairman

Resonance AI
Randa Minkarah, Co-founder & COO

RevelHMI
Robin Elenga, Founder & President

Revolution Agriculture
Richard Brion, Founder and CEO

Rooster Park
Scott Ruthfield, Founder and CEO

rThreat Inc
Hugo Sanchez, CEO, Cofounder

Sappington Co.
Tim Goggin, CEO

Satchl
Cody Myers, Co-Founder & CEO

Sea-Level Operations
Rex Frank, CEO

Sensoria Health Inc.
Maurizio Macagno, CTO and Co-Founder

Skilllyft Inc.
Shipra Aggarwal, Owner & CEO

Sound Biologics
Wei Yan, CEO

SportsTrace
Max Montrey, Co-Founder & CEO

Strix Leviathan
Jesse Proudman, CEO

Swift HR Solutions, Inc.
Shannon Swift, Founder/CEO

TalkSocket
Andrew DeLorenzo, Co-Founder & CEO

Teal Communications
Michael Johnston, Co-Founder & CBO

Temporal Technologies
Maxim Fateev, Co-Founder & CEO

Terraclear
Brent Frei, CEO

Test Innovators
Edan Shahar, CEO

Thriva
Catherine Crandall, CEO

Turnstone
Scott Lee, CEO

Unaffiliated
Mark Mader

Uplevel
Joe Levy, CEO

Upstart Group
Sue Sanford, Co-founder and CEO

Validar Inc
Victor Kippes, CEO

Velosys, LLC
Chris Wade, CEO

Virtual Therapeutics Corporation
Dan Elenbaas, Founder & CEO

Web42
Heather Kendall, Co-Founder / CEO

WideNet Consulting Group
David Tang, President & Co-Founder

With Hope
Don Hernandez, Founder and CEO

Wrench, Inc
Edward Petersen, Co-Founder & CEO

YourBase
Yves Junqueira, Co-Founder & CEO

Zipwhip
John Lauer, CEO

*We keep this list as up to date as possible. If you sign outside of business hours, note that there may be a delay in adding your name to the list.

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