(Jason LeeKeenan and Russell Wilson of TraceMe)
At Madrona we meet many outstanding entrepreneurs and innovators. Sometimes we meet them when they are starting a company, like Sujal Patel from Isilon or Jesse Rothstein from Extrahop. Other times, like Aaron Easterly from Rover or David Shim from Placed, we got to know them as “rising stars” at prior Madrona companies before they became an entrepreneur. But, this year we got to know someone who for so many of us we feel like we already knew. Over the months of working with him and investing in TraceMe, we have discovered how much more there was to learn about this amazing Day One entrepreneur and the company he started.
The entrepreneur is Russell Wilson and the company he founded is TraceMe. You likely know him best as the All-Pro, Super Bowl Champion, starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks. And, attributes that have contributed to Russell’s success in pro football are among those that make him the epitome of a Day One entrepreneur. He is customer-centric, passionate about the opportunity, focused, determined and an attractor of complementary talent.
On the talent front, Russell worked with our friends at Pioneer Square Labs to incubate TraceMe and recruited an amazing star in Jason LeeKeenan to be CEO. Jason’s background includes key roles at Hulu in the early years and Zulily. And, while he is warming up to the Seattle Seahawks as a life-long Patriots fan, he deeply understands the TraceMe opportunity and how to build a sustainable company through innovative content. Jason and Russell are building a world class team of software engineers, video producers and content editors at TraceMe to attack this challenge. Madrona is delighted to be partnering with them as the lead investor in TraceMe’s $9 million Series A financing closed in the spring and announced this week.
At the heart of TraceMe is the idea that celebrities and their loyal fans want more direct and engaging ways to interact. We all see clues about this interest in social media experiences that go beyond current channels in platforms including Twitch for gamers and YouTube for live video bloggers. TraceMe is building a platform tuned specifically for celebrities like Russell and their super fans. TraceMe will create meaningful experiences for fans with compelling content, products and experiences.
We hope that fans will download the TraceMe app this week and give it a try. The app is in beta so your feedback will be helpful as the TraceMe team prioritizes new features and content. Similar to how we have gotten to know Russell Wilson better, we hope you will feel closer to him and the things he is passionate about. These include faith, family, football and finding ways as an entrepreneur to help fans more personally connect with celebrities. As opening week of the regular NFL football season kicks off, we look forward to partnering with the great Day One entrepreneurs at TraceMe to help them win big!