A recovering banker and venture capitalist. He was born to live in Portland, as he came into this world an hour after the Portland Trailblazers won their first and only NBA championship. He has worked tirelessly to support, connect and grow under-represented founders on the west coast for almost two decades.
Stephen spends his time helping area startups with access to capital. He serves on a number of boards including the Oregon Growth Board, Black Investment Corporation for Economic Progress (BICEP), Built Oregon, Oregon Public House (cause using a brewery for good is so Portland) and the Governor’s Small Business Advisory Cabinet.
Spreadsheets are his super power and sneakers are his kryptonite.
What are you up to?
I love using my talent for numbers and strong relationships in the startup community to unearth the stories of the founders who are debunking “Portlandia” stereotypes. Current efforts include “The50” program which assists local Black, Latino and Native-American makers get onto the shelves of retailers like Made Here PDX. I am also the founder of PitchBlack, an effort to connect black founders with mainstream entrepreneurial regional ecosystems all over the country.
The best place to catch me is at Deadstock Coffee where me and the “Swoopes Crew” hatch most of our crazy ideas.
I am one of the few mythical Portland natives (moved here when I was 3 months old), the only other place I have laid my head is Detroit, MI. As I travel around the country as an adult, I appreciate Portland even more. We have one of the most collaborative entrepreneurial communities I have ever seen. You are literally a text, tweet, or coffee away from getting the help you need.
As a “Blatino” I know I am just a nod away from connecting with the founder of a local tech or a future conspirator in the cause. As one Portland area black founder told me “In Portland we aren’t isolated, we are unique.”
Interested in being featured?
Silicon Florist introduces one person, each day of the work week, to the Portland startup community. If you’re interested in being one of those folks, please let us know a little bit more about you and you’ll be selected at random to be featured.