Another Component of Tacoma's High-Tech Infrastructure is Ready to Grow Business

“Any doubts about Tacoma’s high-tech wired community taking root should be erased by the new players who have recently set up shop in town.The arrival of BigGarden Ventures and Atomic Tangerine on the Tacoma tech scene bodes well for the city touting itself as America’s #1 Wired City.BigGarden is a Tacoma-based venture capital company launched about one month ago in partnership with an investment bank in San Francisco.The company was founded by Internet executive and journalist Mitch Ratcliffe. BigGarden principals include Scott Bourne of Scott Bourne Consulting Group, and Joey Caisse, president and co-founder of Web-X. It operates as a member of Empyrean Ventures, an international venture network with offices in Berkley, Munich, Tacoma, as well as Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo, Sydney and Singapore branches opening soon.The BigGarden is designed to provide savvy seed stage assistance, Ratcliffe said. He added the firm’s focus is hyper-local investing, as opposed to operating as a traditional incubator. BigGarden provides funding and technical assistance to take potentially profitable business ideas into fruition, getting them to the first stage of operations. When the company is ready to grow past the initial stage, additional funding can be located through Empyrean.Atomic Tangerine is a venture consulting firm founded this past April by SRI International. The firm provides venture capital and strategic consulting with technology innovation solutions to companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500 firms worldwide.AT chose Tacoma as its Northwest base, and headquarters for its Internet security division, which works with Fortune 500 firms on Net security issues. A partnering with Interpol on fighting Net crime is being considered.With the location of AT’s security division here, one of the top security labs is right here in Tacoma, said Jonathan Fornaci, president and CEO of Atomic Tangerine.We see the Pacific Northwest as a huge talent pool, Fornaci said. He predicted the Tacoma office would have a staff of around 35 to 40 by next year, and the firm would be employing 500 people by the end of 2000. The company hires only 2 percent of the candidates it interviews, Fornaci said.While not focusing solely on regional business, Fornaci said he does expect to be making deals locally, including startups. Atomic Tangerine already does business with Fortune 500 firms here such as The Boeing Company.”