If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Oregon culture, it’s that we’re often driven by curiosity. We like shiny objects. We’re early adopters. And we’re often inspired by folks pushing the envelope. That’s what makes InventOR such a great event for us.
Grabbing coffee with your fellow cofounders is nice, but grabbing some time with them in their workplace can be even better. That’s why WeWork Labs Portland is hosting Coffee w/ Co-Founders, this month.
If there’s one thing founders and startups know how to handle, it’s a fire drill. Last minute requests. Crazy deadlines. Random hail marys. It’s all in a day’s work. But stepping outside of that work to help out the community? That’s above and beyond. And yet more than 80 folks took the time do that yesterday in response to a call to action from Business for a Better Portland and PIE which was designed to address a severe case of underfunding activities directed at the Oregon startup community.
Part of building a self sustaining ecosystem is reinvesting capital and wealth from one generation of companies to the next. But that’s also true for talent. That’s an important resource as well. Especially founders who can help the next generation of founders build their businesses. That’s why I was really happy to see Eric Winquist, founder of Jama, was joining Bigleaf’s board.
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.
Here in Oregon, we’ve got more than our fair share of amazing consumer product companies. I mean there’s Benchmade, Columbia, Deschutes, Keen, LaCrosse, Nike, Resers, and Tillamook, just to name a few. And there have been exits from companies like 10 Barrel, Brazi Bites, Dakine, Hydroflask, Pacific Foods, Schmidt Naturals, and Stumptown that rival any tech exit. So why in the world don’t isn’t there an accelerator program to connect all of this knowledge and experience with the next generation of consumer products companies?