Why this has been an insanely—and historically—important week for the Portland startup scene

While Portland has been lucky to have a number of notable events in the startup scene—huge rounds of funding, sizable acquisitions, companies going public—it’s still more rare than we’d like. But momentum is gathering. And this week was a perfect example. That’s why I wanted to take a couple of seconds to highlight two important milestones: Tripwire was acquired and New Relic went public.

This week was big news. Under appreciated Portland tech company Tripwire announced its acquisition at $710 million. That’s nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars for those of you keeping score at home. And New Relic is currently in the midst of blowing the doors off of its first day as a public company—it’s currently trading about $10 over its initial offering price with a market cap hovering around $1.5 billion.

It’s really important to take a moment to appreciate this. For a few reasons.

First and foremost, I’d like to highlight that these things happened in the exact same week. You see, while Portland has these events occur—here and there—they’re usually one offs. Rarely are they in rapid succession. Especially with the fabled “liquidity event.” And it’s that kind of repetitious and momentous activity that is going to propel the Portland tech scene to the next level.

Second, Tripwire’s acquisition was one of the largest in Oregon tech history. And it marks a meaningful exit for a Portland startup that has survived through a number of ups and downs.

An early runner in this generation of Portland tech startups, Tripwire had moved into that solid business middle age. It was employing hundreds. It was building a great business. But it wasn’t on the tip of tongues when chatting about the Portland tech scene, unless folks were talking about its scrapped IPO.

But this changes all of that. People are keeping their jobs. Portland has another positive exit. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll see a little bit of this wealth reinvested in the Portland startup scene.

Third, the New Relic IPO is the first public offering to have the potential to greatly affect the Portland startup scene since Jive went public—almost three years ago to the day.

But wait. Isn’t New Relic headquartered in the Bay Area. Yes. But so was Jive at the time of its IPO. And like Jive, New Relic’s Portland office holds a good chunk of the employees—especially when it comes to engineering. Sort of like another Bay Area company we tend to like quite a bit. *cough* Intel *cough*

And like Tripwire’s distribution of capital, I remain hopeful that New Relic’s employees create some well deserved wealth from all of their hard work. And that they put that money back to work around here.

Finally, perhaps the most important reason this is a compelling week? We may now see a bunch more activity springing up.

Going through these kinds of company changing events tends to lead to there being new money, new talent, and new ideas on the streets. We’ve seen it time and time again. You can’t swing a dead iPhone without hitting a former Jiver or Webtrends type at most Portland startups. This won’t be any different.

These events are seminal. They create opportunity and potential for people. And for momentum. And they prove that Portland has the potential to build companies that do what companies are supposed to do: make money and create opportunities.

It’s been a good week.

For more information, see Belden to Acquire Tripwire and New Relic Investor Relations.

  1. This is so exciting! Nice write up.

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