News & Views


Paul Allen – A great man of science, culture, sports and a Seattle icon
AUTHOR: Tom Alberg

Paul Allen is best known as the co-founder of Microsoft which alone is an incredibly important contribution to the world and how we live our lives now.  But he continued to work and arguably put in an entire life’s work after leaving his day to day role at Microsoft.  He had a vision for Seattle that revitalized a huge portion of the city and made way for one of the most successful companies in the world, Amazon, to establish headquarters in the city.

He was a visionary who saw the potential in everything from abandoned buildings and underutilized real estate to the ability of cultural, educational and sports institutions to energize a city.  He also continued to believe in the power of science to improve the lives of humans  – founding the Allen Institutes for Artificial Intelligence, Brain Science and Cell Science – all of which are focused on advancing our understanding of the world around us.

Madrona collaborated with Allen and specifically his company Vulcan over the years.  We co-invested in many companies including Decide, Igneous, Peach, Pixvana, Redfin, Turi, Unearth,, and Wrench.

“Paul Allen really was a true leader in our city, using his intellect, passions and wealth, to infuse the area with new life.  The music festival he started a couple years ago reflects his love of one of the pieces of musical cultural history that goes back to the 1920s here in Seattle, while his support of the Allen School for Computer Science and Engineering at the UW reflects his investment in the future of the young people of our region,” commented Tom Alberg.

He will be greatly missed.