WASHINGTON'S LEADING BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Economic Forecast 2011: The Light at the End of the Tunnel

From technology to real estate, local watchers see the signs of the recovery.
|   January 2011   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION

• Dave Sabey, CEO, Sabey Corp. (Sabey Data Center Properties is the largest multitenant data center developer on the West Coast.)

Storing digital data and developing new products and services based on that data will be the next industry for Washington. Since we have the cheapest electricity in the country, we are going to emerge as the digital hub, the center of cloud computing for the world. It’s going to be particularly important in health care. The amount of data from DNA sequencing alone is soaring. We call it Leroy Hood’s law: Data generated by DNA sequencing doubles every nine months. And when researchers or medical professionals want to access that data, or data involving MRI or CT scans, they tap into databases with many terabytes of data—those are quantities of information you can’t easily push through our fiber networks. To gain access to all that data, it helps to be physically close to it. I can imagine pathologists being based in a nice community near a data center in eastern Washington analyzing data from hospitals all across the country.

Venture Capital Will Ramp Up • Matt McIlwain, Managing Director, Madrona Venture Group

Positive momentum will continue in the venture industry in 2011. On the new investment end, we are seeing an increase of compelling teams and market opportunities. One theme is helping enterprise technology teams and their data centers transition to the new “cloud-enabled” IT organization. Another is helping end users coordinate all the content and “workflows” they now have access to from an ever-increasing number of connected devices (smartphones, iPads, netbooks).

This year will also see continued innovation in entertainment shopping models including flash sales, auctions and other promotional strategies online. Similar to new investing, acquisitions are likely to continue an upward trend. Large companies are in need of innovative new products and ways to grow. In many cases, they have billions in cash and a very low cost of capital, which motivates them to be proactive in buying rapidly growing, smaller companies. We expect the number of transactions and average deal size to increase this year—400 transactions and average deal size of $50 million for venture-backed companies nationally.

Nature Inspires Innovation • Sesh Velamoor, Trustee and Director of Programs, Foundation for the Future, Bellevue

Opportunities are