[Editor: We first started hearing about the concept of the Portland 100, last year. Now, it has become a reality. Nitin Khanna, creator of the concept, has been kind enough to provide some additional details on what the program hopes to accomplish.]
Portland 100 is an idea I first came up with almost eighteen months ago sitting in front of the fireplace at the River Place Hotel bar chatting about the Portland startup scene with Kerry McClenahan of McBru. My point, as I explained to her, was that our marketing should focus less on the region and the city and more on the amazing companies that are thriving here. Most people who love Portland already love it and people who want to ding us for a being a lifestyle city will continue to do so. Why not then focus on companies and spend our marketing dollars cataloguing, presenting, and promoting our leading startups to help them with what they need most: mentors, investors, and talent.
Kerry loved it and before I knew it she had brought it up to folks at the Mayor’s office (thanks Skip Newberry) and PDC (thanks Chris Harder and Patrick Quinton) who loved it as well and we launched the idea to the community about a year ago at an event at Puppet Labs. The response was very positive and so we set about to bring the idea to fruition.
Well, today I am so pleased to announce that the idea has come to life and Portland 100 will be a living, breathing thing. Portland 100 will focus on three core services: securing capital, finding executive talent and mentoring. Strategic marketing of the region and firms to tech investment hubs around the country will also be part of the work.
The first class of participant companies include Athletepath (David Embree), Chirpify (Chris Teso), Cloudability (Mat Ellis), Giftango (David Nelsen), Meridian (Kiyo Kubo), Simple (Josh Reich) and Vizify (Todd Silverstein). These seven companies exemplify the new energy that everybody can sense in Portland and we look forward to helping these companies and entrepreneurs create jobs, wealth, and more companies. In addition to the seven participant companies Puppet Labs (Luke Kanies), Urban Airship (Scott Kveton), ShopIgniter (Matt Compton) and Elemental (Sam Blackman) have agreed to serve as ambassadors and promoters to audiences such as tech talent, investors, entrepreneurs, executives and media. Together, we hope to position Portland as not just a great place to launch a startup, but a city and region with access to the right resources to scale our most promising companies.
I am also delighted with the public and private sector folks who agreed to join the Executive Board and so a deep thank you to Patrick Quinton (PDC), Skip Newberry (SAO), Scott Kveton (Urban Airship), Chris Logan (SweetSpot Diabetes), and Brewster Crosby (Unique Investments). Thank you also to Chris Harder at PDC without whom we really could not have gotten to this point.
Upward and onward.
About Nitin Khanna
Nitin Khanna is the Chief Executive Officer of MergerTech.
Prior to becoming CEO of MergerTech, Nitin was the founder, Chairman and CEO of Saber Corp., one of the largest providers of state government solutions in the country. Nitin started Saber in July 1998 and helped grow it a minimum of 50% each year.
Saber’s growth was celebrated by an Inc. 500 award in both 2006 and 2007, the Deloitte Fast 500 award, and the #1 spot on Oregon’s Fastest Growing Companies list in 2007. This dramatic growth led to a significant investment by Accel-KKR Private Equity in 2005 and to the eventual sale of the company for $460MM to EDS in December 2007. Nitin then assumed leadership of EDS’ government business operation that included Saber.
Prior to Saber, Nitin held a number of positions in Consulting and Education at Oracle Corporation. He holds Master’s and Bachelor’s of Engineering degrees from Purdue University.
(Image courtesy Ian Sane. Used under Creative Commons.)