Did you feel that? It's been a momentous run for Oregon business as of late

I don’t want to jinx anything, but… we just experienced a super interesting series of events in Oregon that felt strangely like momentum. I mean, I can’t be sure because momentum hits so rarely around here. But I’m pretty sure it was momentum.

And it’s mostly a story of numbers that have been revealed over the last month or so:

And while none of these fall into the realm of “tech startup”—okay fine, all told, tech startups likely spent $6 million dining at Little Big Burger—it’s still important to the Portland startup ecosystem. Because it’s a signal.

It’s a signal that Oregon can build start and build interesting companies. And that those companies can achieve meaningful exits. And create wealth for their employees. So that they can invest. Or pursue other opportunities. So that they’re given the financial freedom to do what they want to do.

And that’s important for all of us. For two reasons.

First, that signal lends credence to what we’ve been trying to do with this generation of tech startups. Start companies here. And build companies here. And a few of them have even managed to create meaningful exits.

And second, that means that we’re beginning to build a base of local capital that has the ability to fund other efforts. Not just at the Friends & Family level. Or at the much needed Angel level. But maybe, just maybe, we’re on the verge of creating more capital at the Institutional level.

And that’s when the real magic starts to happen. That’s where self-sustaining ecosystems start to thrive. And the rising water floats all boats.

It’s still early. And we’ve got a lot more potential waiting in the wings. But something tells me that as these tech startups hit the next stage, they’re going to have a momentum all of their own.

I have the distinct impression that it’s going to be an interesting 2016. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes from here. Especially with tech.

(Image courtesy Marina Perevezentseva. Used under Creative Commons.)

  1. Acquisitions mean less local ownership, which isn’t a win-win.

    I’m curious how you see these sales as something that will “create wealth for their employees”? Owners (obviously) are the winners here, but many employees leave or lose their jobs after a takeover. How do each of these sales benefit employees? Something structured in the deals you didn’t mention?

  2. I assume that a few of the employees of some of those companies had a bit of equity.

  3. I have used my tech startups to help startup my non tech startups. It’s a beautiful thing.

  4. This sounds promising but as a person who works with the tech industry as a whole, and in looking at the ‘signs’ out there, I would predict that 2016 will be the beginning of a slow down period leading to a small bubble. Portland has made headway but may be too late to the ball this time around.

  5. I agree Rick, these are good exits and meaningful for our community. So much about growing an ecosystem like this is to know it’s possible to succeed and these are important examples of that. I’m excited to see where the capital ends up and how it’s used for new investments.

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