Let’s say you’re a startup that’s interested in helping other startups grow and prosper. You’ve had a successful run at the local level. But you’re still looking to continue to expand and improve your programs. What to do?
Well, you might consider expanding outside the Portland area. Increase your reach. And take your program nationwide. That’s exactly what the Portland Ten—a local “startup bootcamp”—is proposing to do.
Portland Ten was originally founded with the goal of fostering 10 $1 million Portland startups by October 2010. How’d they do? Well, a couple of their startups have either hit the mark or are well on their way.
Since its founding in 2009 by Director Carolynn Duncan, Portland Ten has seen successes including ShopIgniter’s exceeding $1MM within 18 months and $3MM venture capital funding, a $35,000 grant and pilot project with Portland Development Commission, 40+ alumni successfully completing the Portland Ten and Sprint programs, working with 100+ startups in the Checkups, and Skill Development programs…
Now, the program has received enough attention and interest that its founder, Carolynn, has decided to bring it to a broader audience.
Portland Ten, the region’s leading entrepreneur development organization, is expanding in response to regional and national requests to license the Portland Ten brand and program models for developing high-performance entrepreneurs and startup ecosystems, and is restructuring local programming to accommodate this demand. Pilot programs are currently in development with other cities in the Northwest and will be announced in the coming months.
How much bigger can they get? It’s hard to say. But it’s not hard to envision Portland Ten type bootcamps in a bunch of startup cities around the United States. Or around the globe.
But while this expansion means more for Portland Ten on a national scale, something has to go. So they’ve also advised that they will be cutting back on their involvement in the local startup scene. At least, temporarily.
At this time, Portland Ten is continuing to offer services to individual entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Greater Portland region, while limiting engagement in community initiatives and startup ecosystem development in Portland. Currently existing community programs in Portland are being phased out, and the Portland Ten staff is working with the team and community to make a smooth transition.
Hold up, you. Don’t get all grumpy. The Portland Ten folks are focusing on the positive. So while they may have to pull back from local efforts for a while, they still want to celebrate what they’ve been able to accomplish.
Portland Ten is excited about this growth and the opportunities ahead, and thanks all who have been a part of the Portland Ten team and community for the continued support. Community members are encouraged to attend a special event to celebrate accomplishments from the first 2 years of operations, on the evening of Thursday, January 27, 2011, 5:30-7:30 pm at the Portland Ten office, 215 NW Park Avenue, Portland, OR.
For more on the restructuring, see the Portland Ten post. For more on the organization, visit Portland Ten or follow @PortlandTen on Twitter.
For me the jury is out and I’m undecided. I applaud what Portland Ten has accomplished and the results of some of their key portfolio companies. I also am encouraged by their push to expand. That said the Keiretsu Forum already entices local Angels to increase their deal flow by investing startup $ outside PDX. I’m curious if this will have a similar impact or not. Too early to tell.
I think it proves that you can’t live solely on startup-derived service fees, at least not in a town as small as this one. Carolynn and crew have done a lot of wonderful things and been of tremendous value to the local community but an incubator of any sort has to live or die by the exits of the startups they service — just like VCs — and Portland10 isn’t structured to profit from exits.
Jeff, I don’t see how this sends a message that Portland is no place to get funding. Portland10 is a consulting firm, not a venture investor. It does imply that there aren’t enough local startups interested in paying to sustain P10’s specific consulting-driven business model, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to a lack of a) Portland-based funding sources, or b) worthy Portland-based startups. (Those may or may not be true, but they’re unrelated.)
While it’s great to see the regional and national recognition of this innovated program, it is really too bad that they decided to not think bigger and expand here in Portland first where the local investment environment for start-ups is still pretty pathetic.
This is the absolute wrong time to being losing focus locally and it sends a pretty powerful message to the start-up community that once again, you will have to seeking funding elsewhere (e.g. Seattle and the Bay Area).
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