I often get asked about pervading themes or trends in the Portland startup scene. Mostly because people want me to talk about something that’s actually interesting. Rather than droning on and on. And if I’m forced to name one theme, I often choose one of the cultural undertones that has continued for decades: Portland’s success with enabling technologies.
What do I mean by “enabling technologies”? Good question. I generally mean are non-consumer facing technologies. Stuff that works behind the scenes. Pipes and connectors and components and such. Tools and services that empower other offerings to be better and to do their jobs more efficiently and elegantly.
This type of thing happens in Portland, time and time again.
Tektronix built technology to enable engineers to be better engineers. Intel developed a regional office here that grew into the largest collection of Intel employees anywhere. And as we well know, it focuses on building technology to enable computers to be better computers. Then there are the more recent successes. Like Elemental, that builds technology to help content get to the consumer more elegantly.
And now, we’re starting to see a new crop of enabling technologies. With companies like Skyward, which just announced a $4.1 million round of funding to continue the expansion of their company.
What does Skyward do? Yep. You guessed it. They’re enabling the nascent drone industry.
Skyward is the information management platform that powers the global aerial robotics network. Skyward connects drones and their operators with the information they need to fly safely and in compliance with regulatory and insurance requirements. Skyward’s cloud-based solution suite delivers the digital system of record, real-time air chart, and unique drone IDs essential for commercial operations. Skyward is a team of professional pilots, computer scientists, and regulatory experts who are passionate about this new era of aviation.
It’s like aircraft control towers for the world of unmanned aerial vehicles. And it’s a space in which Oregon is already taking the lead—and recognizing the potential of the drone industry.
It’s super interesting to see this stuff start to come together. Around a whole new technology. And for a whole new generation. I can’t wait to see where this goes from here.
For more information, look Skyward.
This article is a good beacon of hope. I am re-careering computer science student in Portland, Oregon. I am specifically interested in applying myself to work dealing with the low-level and back end of the spectrum. Good read.
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