Wall Street goes to pot, and to the dogs — and that’s a good thing for Seattle’s startup scene

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An online marketplace that helps to facilitate trade between marijuana sellers and buyers will soon see its own stock traded on the Nasdaq.

Another that connects pet owners with walkers, boarders and other caregivers just posted its first earnings as a publicly traded company.

And a 3-year-old Redmond-based biotech company with a mere 25 employees just raised $80 million its stock market debut.

SPACs are shaking up Seattle’s startup scene. On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, we examine how special purpose acquisition companies are turning startups into publicly traded stocks at a rapid clip. They’re giving many of these companies access to additional sources of capital while creating new risks for investors and raising questions about the long-term direction of the stock market.

Our guest (and guest audio editor) is Laurel Deppen, a journalist who has been working as an intern at GeekWire in Seattle this summer through the Dow Jones News Fund, reporting a wide range of stories about the region’s tech and business community, including an earlier story about soon-to-be public online cannabis marketplace Leafly.

Laurel Deppen in the GeekWire studio this week. (GeekWire Photo / John Cook)

She studied broadcast journalism at Western Kentucky University, where she was editor-in-chief of the College Heights Herald, and in addition to joining us for the podcast conversation, she edited this episode as one of the final assignments of her summer internship.

In the second segment of the show, we talk with Laurel about her overall impressions of Seattle as a newcomer to the city, as documented in part in her story, How Bumble BFF helped this Kentucky transplant find friends and break The Seattle Freeze.

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And in our final segment, it’s the return of the Random Channel, our segment exploring the random things that caught our attention this week. Laurel talks about the HBO drama The White Lotus, GeekWire co-founder John Cook about the new podcast The Edge, and I share my enthusiasm about recent episodes of Kara Swisher’s New York Times podcast, Pivot.

Listen to the episode above, and subscribe to GeekWire in any podcast app.

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