Fundraising is hard enough. Let’s encourage the State of Oregon not to make it harder. Before noon on June 6, 2019.

Fundraising is hard. I think that’s something on which all of us can agree. Constructing grammatically correct sentences even if they seem awkward? No. Oxford commas? Probably not. But agreeing that fundraising is a grind? Yes. Definitely. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a company looking for a loan, a startup chasing venture capital, a VC chasing LPs… even an employee looking to get their budget approved. It’s all difficult.

Even if you match the pattern. Even if you speak the lingo. Even if you’ve proven yourself.

It’s just hard.

And one of the dynamics that makes it all the more challenging for folks further down the chain — that’s you entrepreneurs — is that the difficulties cascade, compounding and increasing the arduousness of the process with each new party.

If it’s super difficult for an LP to get funds, then it’s going to be even harder for the VC trying to secure those funds from the LP, which is going to make it even harder for the startup pitching the VC to get those funds, which is going to make it even more difficult for that employee at that startup to get the budget they need.

Shit, as they say, rolls downhill.

So when I got the news that the State of Oregon had approved around $600,000 for Business Oregon — instead of the requested $2,000,000 (which, itself, isn’t much) — I started thinking about its impact on the fundraising of the startups in our community.

And it dawned on me, that it’s going to make fundraising more difficult for them. And I hate that.

Now if this sounds whole thing sounds oddly familiar, it should. We’ve been here with Oregon innumerable times before. Or at least three. Like in 2012. And in 2015. And today.

Our local startup ecosystem is supported for Business Oregon. Business Oregon makes investments through the Oregon Growth Fund, overseen by the Oregon Growth Board. Governor Kate Brown and Business Oregon requested $2M in this year’s budget to support underserved entrepreneurs, specifically women, minority, rural, and veteran-led companies. The Ways & Means committee (co-chaired by Reps. Johnson, Rayfield, and Steiner Hayward) approved $630K. Let’s show them that Oregon entrepreneurs need this full support!

Yes, it’s great that have $600k. But it would be better if they had more.

But all hope is not lost. There’s still an increasingly thin sliver of time to voice our opinions. To ask the State of Oregon to reconsider their stance. And to maybe, just maybe, ease a bit of the fundraising burden.

And so, we’re calling our startups and founders to act. Once again. And to act with all due speed. Because any letters to the legislature need to be delivered by noon Pacific Time on June 6, 2019.

So to make it easier on you — and more expedient — there’s a letter that’s already been composed. All you have to do is sign it. And that’s as easy as filling out a form.

Please review the content below and, if you’re moved to sign on in support, complete this short form to sign on as a, um, signer.

June 6, 2019

President Courtney, Speaker Kotek, and Co-Chairs Johnson, Rayfield, and Steiner Hayward:

We write in support of the Oregon Growth Fund (OGF) which is included in Business Oregon’s budget. We request that you increase the proposed OGF funding of $629,000 to the $2 million included in the Governor’s recommended budget. The OGF supports underserved entrepreneurs, specifically women, minority, rural, and veteran-led companies.

As startup entrepreneurs, we represent the state’s economic future. We create jobs, catalyze innovation, and bring dollars to our state in the form of additional, outside investment. Entrepreneurship by underrepresented founders offers the opportunity to increase the percentage of business ownership, close the wealth gap, and provide social impact to our communities. It is critical that programs like OGF continue and grow if we are to have a stable economy that benefits all, especially those historically left behind.

Since it began investing relatively small dollar amounts in 2014, the OGF has committed over $2.9 million to 27 funds, resulting in over 60 companies receiving investments they otherwise would not have. The leverage on these investments has ranged from 1:1 to 25:1. With additional funding, we can increase our impact and reach, and strengthen our state’s economy.

Recipients of OGF investments include Wildfang, a nationally recognized brand that has elevated our state’s entrepreneurial visibility and changed the national culture; local favorites like Garden Bar that support our local food systems; and companies like Lumen that bring affordable and accessible learning resources to the education industry to improve student outcomes.

Research shows that a healthy, thriving startup ecosystem is imperative for the growth, sustainability, and stability of our local economies. Investments by OGF represent a commitment to these values.

Thank you for your consideration of our request and your commitment to Oregon’s economic vitality.

Sincerely,

(Add your signature to this letter)

Again, if this strikes a chord with you, I encourage you to voice your opinion to the State of Oregon by signing this letter. Like right now. Stop what you’re doing. Do not pass go. Do not let the State cut this $2 million.

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