You’ve no doubt heard about Sightbox — or maybe seen their logo on the Portland Timbers jerseys. They’re the Portland startup that was successfully acquired by Johnson & Johnson. An acquisition that made any number of local investors’ IRR look pretty darn good. Now, they’ve got a renewed focused on being an active participant in the Portland startup community. And the first step? Showing you where they work.
It’s debatable whether this is fortunate or not, but whatever the case, the term “startup” is inextricably linked to technology companies. Even though any type of company that has the potential to be capital efficient and scale quickly can technically, ahem, be a startups. So I try to share other startups from outside the realm of tech.
You may have heard of a little company called WeWork. (Actually, the company is called We Company, now, but bear with me…) They’ve got a few spaces where folks can, you know, work. They even have a few of those spaces here in Portland. But what you may not know is that they’ve recently launched an accelerator program for startups called WeWork Labs. And we’re getting one of those here, too.
Do you want procrastinators? Do ya? Because this is how you get procrastinators… TechfestNW was kind enough to open a second application period for PitchfestNW, their annual startup pitch competition, which recently closed. Now, they’ve announced the selections from that batch. But guess what? You can still apply.
Lately, it seems there’s been an uptick in sizable funding rounds and private equity investments in the state. With 2018 being a record setting and landmark year, in that regard. But in order to get to those multimillion dollar rounds — or liquidity events — companies have to first get out of the gates. And if they’re seeking seed funding in Oregon, that doesn’t seem to be happening at a rate on par with other states. According to Crunchbase.
If there’s anything good to come out of the completely ridiculous and negative inequities of the technology and startup scenes, it’s a series of vibrant organizations that celebrate and champion more diverse groups. Especially in regards to women. You know, those folks that comprise 51% of our population?
A lot of my focus tends to fall on companies that call Portland home. But that doesn’t mean that’s the only spot in the region with amazing startups. Beaverton, Vancouver, Bend, Eugene, Corvallis… they’re all over the state. And I need to do a better job of highlighting that. So let’s start with Beaverton startup Bigleaf, who just so happens to be holding an open house, this week.
Tucked back away in the recesses of my brain are any number of trivial Portland startup community facts I’ve gathered over the past two decades. One of those tidbits — for which I rarely have use — is the fact that Brad Fitzpatrick, the creator of the iconic LiveJournal — arguably one of the earliest and most popular harbingers of the modern social media world — grew up in Beaverton and attended Aloha High School.
[Editor: If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times. Not every startup event has to happen in the evening. Folks have families. And lives. That’s one of the reasons I’m rebooting Portland Lunch 2.0. And that’s why I’m glad that we have event organizers like Josh Carter who organizes Coffee w/ Co-Founders, a caffeine fueled morning happy hour for founders. This is a guest post from Josh.]