Remember a few weeks ago when I was waxing philosophic about Bill Lynch joining Cloudability? And how maybe, just maybe, I had hoped that it was an indicator of things to come? Well, what could very well have been a one-off occurrence has been happening with more regularity in the past few weeks. With a number of local startups recruiting experienced executive talent—who bring with them their knowledge of how to grow successful Portland companies.
Who? You say as if you didn’t already read the headline. Well okay, I’ll tell you who.
- Cedexis announced $22 million in funding. Which is impressive. By any measure. But that funding was predicated on a belief in leadership and the strategy for the company going forward. And who is the primary driver of that strategy? The former CEO of Hillsboro based Radisys, Scott Grout, who brought with him more than 20 years of senior leadership experience.
- Educating and engaging big brands around compelling technology that empowers marketers has been part of Brent Hieggelke‘s resume for more than a decade, from Webtrends to Omniture to Urban Airship. Now he’s moved on from his post as former CMO and Chief Evangelist at UA to join Portland Business Journal startup of the year Vadio as Senior Vice President of Marketing. (Fun fact: Both Urban Airship and Vadio are alums of PIE.)
- Following a similar path of making desirable—but not necessarily readily intelligible—technology more palatable to its customer base, Jeff Hardison moved from his role on the executive team of Meridian (acquired by Aruba which was in turn acquired by HP), this year. Now he’ll be bringing his substantial experience—honed in the trenches by, among other things, helping launch Amazon Web Services—to bear on Portland startup Lytics, as vice president of marketing.
- And finally one whom I’ve been watching since he sat across a parking lot from me in Beaverton at Unicru more than a decade ago. Since then, he’s founded and sold companies, started an accelerator, and served as COO for Chirpify. But this could be his biggest move yet, as Greg Rau takes on the role of COO at Rigado, a brand new company formed by the merger of Greg’s Internet of Things software shop, Rivetry, and Rigado, an amazing prototyping and hardware shop out of Salem. With the whole IoT space moving from geeky to mainstream, this could be yet another case of great timing for Greg and crew.
So it’s starting to happen. Slowly but surely. Those executives who’ve gained valuable experience are finding ways to return to earlier stage companies, share what they’ve learned, and learn new ways to apply their strategic thinking. As I’ve often said, this knowledge—this reinvestment—is often far more valuable than any financial investment. And stands to have far more significant returns.
I like what you’ve done so far 2016. Let’s keep that momentum going.
[Full disclosure: Lytics and Vadio are PIE alums. I am the cofounder of PIE.]
(Image courtesy Wackystuff. Used under Creative Commons.)