Glimmers of a Portland startup accelerator renaissance? Built Oregon, PIE, and XXcelerate Fund show promise in 2018

There was a time, not so long ago, when Portland had an embarrassment of riches on the startup incubator and accelerator front. But as the pendulum swung from early stage to growth stage—and as regional offices and bigger players promised increasingly attractive wages and benefits—the once crowded incubator and accelerator community thinned. But all of that may be changing in 2018.

Word around the campfire is that there are a couple of new accelerator models under development. (When I know more, you’ll know more.) But the year is already off to a good start with accelerator efforts from the likes of Built Oregon, PIE, and XXcelerate Fund.

Built Oregon: Consumer products accelerator

A nonprofit focused on helping Oregon take advantage of its unique consumer goods resources, Built Oregon is currently working to assess the needs of the consumer product industries in the state to inform the creation of a nonprofit consumer product accelerator.

We can only meet so many people. And to be honest, folks like me are single points of failure. The front door needs to be bigger and more impactful. To that end, and the first step in the launch of the Built accelerator, is to gather baseline information about the ecosystem. Information on company size, location, product, revenue, connection to Oregon (headquarters, regional hub, etc).

They’re asking companies and potential founders to complete a quick survey to assist in that effort.

For more details, see Built Oregon: Accelerating the Oregon consumer products ecosystem from the ground up.

PIE: Early stage startup accelerator

Founded in 2009, PIE was among the first of a new generation of accelerators based on the model popularized by organizations like Techstars and Y Combinator. The program has been on sabbatical since 2015 as the organization focused on documenting its learnings and helping other accelerator programs. Now, PIE is ready to get back to its roots.

Build out a physical space that can serve as a hub for early stage founders. Many of our conversations in 2017 centered around the absence of PIE as a physical space and how that vacuum was negatively impacting the startup community. The prevailing feedback hinted at the role PIE had played from 2009 until 2015. As a center of gravity. So in 2018, we’d like to get back into the role of being that hub. And being the open front door and welcome mat for new founders. And to do that, we’ll need physical space.

And they’ve hired a new program manager, Chevonne James, to help lead the effort.

For more of PIE’s objectives for the year—which include opening a new application period for potential startups—see PIE 2018: What experiments are we cooking up next?

XXcelerate Fund: XXcelerator for women founded companies

One of the newest accelerator efforts in town is in the middle of their first cohort of women founded companies. It’s already showing great promise and definitely has the potential to become a leading resource for a historically underserved and undercapitalized market.

The XXcelerator provides the education, mentorship, peer support and accountability that women entrepreneurs need to succeed. This intensive 12 month business building program was designed by women entrepreneur, for women entrepreneurs, and is supported and backed by the best mentors, teachers and comes with access to the resources and help you need at this critical stage in your business growth.

For more information, visit XXcelerate Fund: XXcelerator.

[Full disclosure: I’m the cofounder of both Built Oregon and PIE. And PIE and Built will be working together on the consumer products accelerator.]

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