Riding the wave

SURF is an entrepreneur network founded in 2009 by Seaton Gras. It was originally conceived as a way to provide mentorship and meeting space for entrepreneurs starting businesses with a technical programming requirement. For more than two years, entrepreneurs congregated at various locations around Seattle to collaborate on development projects and explore their “big ideas.” The community quickly grew to more than 1,000 members.

In 2012, SURF teamed up with Neil Bergquist and local entrepreneurs to secure a floor of class A office space in downtown Seattle. Since its inception SURF has evolved into a community of entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, developers, designers, educators, and a breath of community supporters. SURF is a resource network for entrepreneurs eager to transform their ideas and startups into disruptive businesses.

Seaton Gras – Founder   email linkedin twitter

Seaton Gras (pronounced “Grass”) is an incurable entrepreneur and dedicated community organizer. Seaton’s entrepreneurial experience dates back to 1976 when he formed World Cruising Adventures, a global sailing company. As a self-taught mechanical engineer and software programmer he pioneered a system to remove ozone depleting CFCs which was later recognized by President Bill Clinton and the United Nations. Seaton founded WizzyMouse, a clickable, visual, search engine and holds a semantic web patent. His entrepreneurial experience includes mobile app development, engineering, manufacturing, and education. He has served as an adviser for more than two dozen technology startups and before the dawn of the personal computer, Seaton spent more than twelve years sailing around the world where he learned to speak nine different languages.

Neil Bergquist – Director   email linkedin twitter

Neil Bergquist is an endlessly curious and passionate entrepreneur. He started his first company when he was seventeen, managing vacation rental properties in Island County. He continued to run the business through college where he played football for a nationally ranked team while earning his Masters in Business Administration at the Atkinson Graduate School of Management. He’s been actively involved in business development consulting and was responsible for all Seattle-based due diligence for the Willamette University Angel Investment Fund. Prior to SURF, Neil negotiated and managed corporate real estate portfolios for commercial end-users at Washington Partners. Neil moonlights as a Board Trustee for the Friends of the Seattle Public Library and is Chair of a committee responsible for spinning off new business ventures in order to supplement government funding.

Advisory Board

Anthony DavislinkedinAnthony Davis

Anthony is an accomplished serial entrepreneur and active philanthropist in the Pacific Northwest. He currently serves in multiple capacities including technology consultant, early-stage investor, and board member to companies of all sizes. He is the founding member of Monition Partners an angel fund that focuses on early-stage technology companies primarily in the mobile applications space though he will be the first to tell you that they will stray from that focus for the right entrepreneur. Anthony is an avid believer in giving back to the community; He is a partner with Social Venture Partners and spends time working with youth who are struggling to overcome drug and alcohol addictions or are dealing with gang violence. In his spare time Anthony enjoys hiking, snowboarding, soccer, cooking, and spending time with his 3 children.

Bob CrimminslinkedinBob Crimmins

Bob is an active participant in the Seattle startup community and, while his personal poker skills are dubious, he is Chief Instigator of the popular startup founders networking event, Startup Poker 2.0. Bob is a Star Mentor for the Seattle TechStars Program and serves as a formal advisor to Startup Weekend. In addition to advising Seattle startup companies and entrepreneurs, he is also mentor to aspiring high school entrepreneurs through the TiE Young Entrepreneurs program (TyE). While he spends much more of his time these days on “the business side”, Bob is a career technologist who wrote his first BASIC program on punch cards at age 15… long before it was either cool or profitable to be a teenage hacker. A serial entrepreneur, Bob is currently working on his 6th company, MoonTango.

Connie Bourassa-ShawlinkedinConnie Bourassa-Shaw

Connie Bourassa-Shaw is the director of the University of Washington Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which is housed in the Foster School of Business. As the center’s director, she is responsible for establishing the strategic direction of CIE, ensuring the quality of its academic programs and practical experience activities, working with student entrepreneurs, developing new initiatives, and creating partnerships with other entrepreneurial organizations in the Northwest. In September 2009, the Center was ranked #7 in the Top 25 Graduate Entrepreneurship Programs in the country by Princeton Review/Entrepreneur Magazine. Bourassa-Shaw came to CIE from the Northwest Entrepreneur Network, where she served as executive director from July 2002 through December 2005.

Dan WeaverDan Weaver

Daniel Weaver is an active member of the Seattle business and philanthropic community. Over the past decade Dan has played a multitude of roles on Sr. Management teams of start-up companies. Most recently Dan was the Co-Founder and Director of Quality Assurance/Client Support for 2GO Software Solutions, a mobile SaaS application company that was sold in 2011. Dan is currently a Sr. Consultant with the IT strategy firm Thought Ensemble and Co-Manages Monition Partners, an angel-fund that he co-founded, which focuses on investments in early-stage technology companies. Dan is also an avid believer in giving back to his community and does so through his membership in Social Venture Partners of Seattle where he is using his experience to help non-profit corporations operate more effectively.

Doug RowanlinkedinDoug Rowan

From July 1997 to the present, Doug Rowan has served as President and CEO of Imaging Solutions Corporation, a Kirkland, Washington-based consulting company established to help companies plan strategy, find customers and identify funding for their digital content related products and services. This has included helping companies take their products to QVC and HSN. The focus over the past year on been on helping retailers, manufacturers and service providers reach “Today’s Mom” through social media, television and branding. Previously, Doug was recruited by Bill Gates and served as President and CEO of Corbis Corporation from 1994 to 1997.  At Corbis, Doug oversaw the acquisition of the Bettmann Archive, established the Corbis brand and migrated the Corbis business from off-line licensing and CD-ROMs to the current Corbis online licensing business.  Before that, Doug’s experience includes serving in executive positions for AMPEX, MASSCOMP and IBM.  Doug received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, and an MBA from Cornell University.  He serves on the Boards of several companies including the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine.

LunilinkedinMichael “Luni” Libes

Luni is a serial entrepreneur who over the past two decades has helped build five start-ups, four of which he founded. His companies include Ground Truth (mobile market research and analysis), Medio Systems (mobile search and advertising), Mforma (mobile gaming and applications), 2WAY (enterprise collaboration systems), and Nimble (pen computing, PDAs, and early smartphones). Luni is currently an Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Washington Center for Commercialization, and well as Entrepreneur in Residence and Instructor at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute.

Thank you to SURF’s Founding Members!

Below is a list of  people who made a significant contribution to SURF Incubator. These supporters believed in the vision and stepped up to make this entrepreneurial community a reality.

  • Adam Chapman
    Washington Partners
  • Barb Larimer
    Kibble and Prentice
  • Ben Reiber
    Goldman Sachs
  • Bill Bergquist
    Autoline Controls
  • Bill Hughes
    HCL CapitalStream
  • Bill Wade
    Freelance Cinematographer
  • Bobbin Teegarden
  • Bonnie Ives
  • Bryan Brewer
    Business Plans N.W.
  • Cameron Tangney 
    University of Washington
  • Carol Schroeder
    Fearless Bridge
  • Clayton Moss
  • Clif Alferness
  • David Malouf
  • Dave Remy
    HCL CapitalStream
  • David Prokop
    Arc Computer Co.
  • Elizabeth Doran
    Apple, Inc.
  • Ian Maddox
  • Jacob Fennell
  • Jacob Miller
    U.W. Computer Science
  • James Walter
    BBC Easy
  • Jeremy Przasnyski
    Badge Farm
  • Jimmy Gambier
    Pandamonium Games
  • Jimmy Kwan
  • Jonathan Chicquette
  • Jonathan Wright
    Cairncross & Hempelmann
  • Kari DeGraff
    true local seattle
  • Luis Aburto
    Scio Consulting
  • Mark Girouard
    Synergetic Finance
  • Mason Boswell
    Noswell IP Law
  • Melissa Shi
    U.W. Foster School of Business
  • Michael de Groot 
    de Groot Solutions
  • Michael Erlandson
    Kibble & Prentice, a USI, Co.
  • Michael O’Donnell
  • Michael Uschold
  • Neil Fenichel
    Signal Interface Group
  • Nils Whitmont
    iSoftStone – Interactive Media Group
  • Owen Kindig
  • Philip Lee
  • Reid Fenning
    Freelance Social Media
  • Ricardo Rowe-Parker
    Imaginative Design
  • Robert Kruse
    Facet App
  • Scott Leslie
    Third Point
  • Seattle PHP Meetup Group
  • Sonia Nelson
    U.W. Medical Center
  • Tom Spoonemore
    Lacuna Systems
  • Valeria Maximova