Seattle venture capitalist dies in ski accident in Oregon

Birkan Uzun. (Photo by Madrona)

Birkan Uzun, a former software engineer at Amazon who joined Seattle’s Madrona Venture group last year and was looking to climb the seven highest peaks on the seven continents, died in a skiing accident outside of Bend on Friday. , Oregon. He was 28 years old.

The accident occurred on the Devil’s Backbone ski slope on Mount Bachelor at around 1:30 p.m.

KTZV NewsChannel 21 in Bend reported that Uzun was unresponsive after falling into a tree well as ski patrollers transferred him to Bend Fire & Rescue and then to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend.

“Birkan was part of the Madrona family, and although our time with him was too brief, we had the privilege of sharing his life,” Madrona wrote in an article posted on his website. “He was incredibly curious, caring and caring and shared that with everyone around him. His intelligence, work ethic and good humor have all had a positive impact on our business, our investment decisions and the portfolio companies we work with.

Prior to joining Madrona in 2021, Uzun spent more than five years at Amazon, working on projects such as Amazon Go, Alexa for Business in AWS, Amazon Halo, and Amazon’s COVID-19 response. He received a Bachelor of Science degree and a Masters of Engineering in Computer Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

More recently, Uzun has drawn attention to his quest to become the first Turkish Cypriot to climb the highest peaks of the seven continents.

Last month, after completing his fifth stage of the quest – an ascent to the top of the 16050-foot Vinson Massif in Antarctica – Uzun wrote that the climb was dedicated to his grandfather, Celal SirkecioÄŸlu, who died in 2021.

“It was a privilege to be the first Turkish Cypriots and Cypriots to participate in this summit and hopefully motivate many of my fellow citizens that with dynamism, determination and heart, all goals are possible”, he wrote in a post on Facebook. “The climb was not easy with extreme cold, gusty winds and severe back pain from spinal surgery last year, but that’s only the small price you pay. to be there. I did the job and I’m proud of it.

The mountaineering achievement received praise from the President and Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, especially images of Uzun unfurling the TRNC flag atop.

Uzun’s passing is the second tragic loss in the mountains for Madrona in the past six years. On New Years Eve in 2015, Seattle software pioneer and accomplished outdoorsman Doug Walker – who was the company’s strategic director – died at the age of 64 while snowshoeing on Granite Mountain in Washington State.

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