Zev Siegl

Zev Siegl is a renowned entrepreneur and business executive, best known as one of the Founding Partners of Starbucks.

Zev Siegl is a renowned entrepreneur and business executive, best known as one of the Founding Partners of Starbucks, a globally recognized and iconic coffeehouse chain. In 1971, alongside Jerry Baldwin and Gordon Bowker, Siegl co-established the Starbucks Coffee Company in Seattle, Washington. The name "Starbucks" was inspired by the romance of the high seas and early coffee trading traditions.

Their vision was clear: to provide customers with the world's finest, fresh-roasted, whole-bean coffees while celebrating the rich tradition of coffee brewing and fostering unwavering customer loyalty. In the early days, Siegl, a former history teacher, was the sole paid employee of the nascent Starbucks Coffee Company.

After serving as Vice President for ten years, Siegl decided to depart Starbucks in 1980 when the company had grown to include six stores in the Seattle area, in addition to a substantial wholesale business.

Following his exit from Starbucks, Zev Siegl became a serial entrepreneur, embarking on various ventures. He founded Quartermaine Coffee Roasters in Washington DC and Peerless Pie in Seattle. Additionally, he started his own consulting company, providing guidance to small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs on topics such as securing funding for new ventures, financial forecasting, planning, private equity offerings, and other funding-related aspects.

From 2004 to 2012, Siegl served as the Lead Advisor of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for Southwest King County (Seattle). In this role, he provided invaluable advice and mentorship to over 500 entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Moreover, Zev Siegl's influence extends globally as he has been a featured speaker at numerous major entrepreneurship, investor, and corporate events across various countries, including Kuwait, Johannesburg, Santiago de Chile, Hyderabad, Copenhagen, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Bogota, Kuala Lumpur, and London, among others.

One of Siegl's passions lies in inspiring and nurturing young entrepreneurs. He shares practical insights and personal stories from his experiences as a Founding Partner of Starbucks to guide aspiring entrepreneurs on how to start and grow successful businesses. From crafting a vision to seeking mentors and partners, securing funding, setting up operations, product development, and launch, Siegl's expertise helps aspiring entrepreneurs navigate the challenging path to becoming successful business owners. His contributions to the business world, coupled with his dedication to fostering entrepreneurship, make Zev Siegl a prominent figure in the field of startups and business development.


Zev Siegl, a prominent entrepreneur and business leader, was born on December 28, 1942, in Detroit, Michigan, to a Jewish family. His father, Henry Siegl, was a renowned concert violinist and served as the concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra for 26 years. Zev grew up in New York and later moved to Seattle in 1956. His mother, Eleanor Shapiro Siegl, was an educator and founder of The Little School, which is now located in Kirkland, Washington.

Zev's career took a significant turn in March 1971 when he, along with Jerry Baldwin and Gordon Bowker, co-founded Starbucks Coffee Company in Seattle, Washington. Serving as the company's first paid employee, Siegl played a crucial role in the early days of Starbucks' journey to success. He often credits their achievements to the invaluable mentorship they received from Alfred Peet, who was running a successful coffee store chain at the time.

After spending a decade as Vice President and Director of Starbucks, Siegl eventually left the company. During his tenure, Starbucks had expanded significantly and become a dominant force in the gourmet coffee trade, with six stores in the Seattle area and a thriving wholesale business.

Zev Siegl's entrepreneurial spirit extended beyond Starbucks, as he went on to found several other small businesses, including Quartermaine Coffee Roasters in Rockville, Maryland, near Washington, D.C.

In 2004, Siegl joined the federally funded Washington Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), where he served as the lead advisor until 2012. His work at the WSBDC allowed him to directly mentor and advise over 500 individual entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Since 2013, Zev Siegl has been sharing his wealth of entrepreneurial insights and experiences as a keynote presenter at major entrepreneurship and business conferences worldwide. He has spoken at events in various cities, including Kuwait City, Santiago, Kuala Lumpur, Johannesburg, Warsaw, Mexico City, and more. Additionally, Siegl has given virtual talks to large audiences, reaching over 10,000 attendees, and has been invited to speak at major corporations like IBM.

Beyond his contributions to the business community, Siegl also dedicates time to mentor MBA candidates at the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington and the Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University. He also coaches selected first-time entrepreneurs, sharing his expertise and empowering the next generation of business leaders.


Zev Siegl's vision is deeply rooted in empowering entrepreneurs and fostering a culture of innovation and success. As one of the founding partners of Starbucks, Siegl has demonstrated a keen understanding of how to build and grow successful businesses. His experiences in the early days of Starbucks, combined with his subsequent entrepreneurial ventures, have shaped his vision to inspire and guide aspiring entrepreneurs on their journey to success.

One key aspect of Zev Siegl's vision is the importance of mentorship and learning from experienced individuals. He often credits the mentorship they received from Alfred Peet as a crucial factor in Starbucks' success. Recognizing the value of learning from those with more experience, Siegl is committed to mentoring and coaching aspiring entrepreneurs, guiding them through the challenges and complexities of starting and growing a business.

Moreover, Zev Siegl's vision emphasizes the power of collaboration and community-building. He understands that successful entrepreneurship often involves forming strategic partnerships and connecting with like-minded individuals. Throughout his career, Siegl has championed the importance of networking and collaborating to foster growth and innovation.

In line with his commitment to empowering others, Siegl's vision extends beyond the traditional business landscape. He is passionate about inspiring young entrepreneurs and sharing practical insights based on his own experiences. His engagements as a keynote presenter at global entrepreneurship and business conferences serve to motivate and guide aspiring business owners worldwide.

Another essential component of Zev Siegl's vision is the pursuit of innovation and embracing emerging technologies. As an entrepreneur who has witnessed the transformative impact of innovation on the coffee industry through Starbucks, Siegl recognizes the significance of staying ahead of the curve. He encourages entrepreneurs to leverage technology and explore new opportunities to drive growth and competitiveness.

Zev Siegl
Seattle, Washington, United States
Global Keynote Speaker, Coach, Mentor
Known for
Founding Partner of Starbucks Coffee Company
University of Washington Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in History 1961 - 1966
Social Media
Fri Mar 01 2024

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