Portland startup news for the week ending October 27, 2023

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For this week’s recap, we’re only talking about winners. We’ll talk a lot about winners like Emilio Estevez’ dad in the Breakfast Club. Which is a reference that’s lost 90% of you, but that’s fine.

This week, as promised, lots of winners to talk about. We have winners from Bend Venture Conference. Winners from Pitch Latino. Other people who are winners for doing things like winners being good startups and that kind of thing.

There was just so much news, this week. I’m not going to be able to talk about all the stories. So I’m trying to keep all this stuff in my head, all these details, trying to spit them out, so that you have access to these details. But don’t worry, I wrote them all up there on the blog. But this is easier to digest. So I’m just trying to help you there.

Obviously, the big story this week, I teased it a few times was down in Bend, but let’s go over the winners. For the Bend Venture Conference. Not all of them were local. There were some out of state winners. And by out of state, I don’t necessarily even mean Vancouver, Washington. Because we feel like Vancouver’s part of the family here with the Oregon startup community. But there was a Californian or maybe two that won. Probably won’t be giving them a lot of love.

But Oregon companies Washington companies? For sure. We’ll give you some love.

So the Bend Venture Conference winners at the earliest stage Finnegan of the Dragon, Polaris, and Symphony Markets. Finnegan the Dragon from the Portland area. The other two out of the Bend area, There were two impact winners. One of them from a state that I’m not interested in. And the other was Opconnect from the Portland area. So congrats to Opconnect. They do EV kind of stuff. If you’re interested, check them out. And then there is the growth stage winner. Talk about one winner their Toolbelt out of Vancouver, Washington, walked away with one of the prizes at the growth stage.

So congratulations to all those folks. I know Bend Venture Conference can be taxing. I know it’s nerve racking. But congrats to all of you.

So those were a whole bunch of winners. But they’re not the only winners this week because we had another pitch competition. That’s right, Pitch Latino 2023 was held this week at the red sold out show. Great crowd. They had a trade show environment. When you’re talking to the startups, you’re talking to the founders about what they’re building. Lots of folks from the community. Saw Malia Spencer, from Portland Business Journal. There were elected officials, funders, VCs…

Nine companies total pitched all of them received prize money. It’s better than a participation trophy. It’s money. At the end of the day when the dust settled, the company that walked away with the win was Barro, which is a Mexican bakery. Really great energy on stage really won over the crowd. And since it’s a crowd voting competition thing to decide the winners, Barro walked away with the big prize of $10,000. But the other big winner, so many winners, so many winners.

The other big winner of the night, of course was Latino Founder, which, you know, the organization that was behind Pitch Latino, that is behind the Latino accelerator… They revealed about $325,000 in grant money that they’re receiving to continue running these programs. So that, to me is a huge win. Because of any organizations that are busy helping entrepreneurs helping startups helping founders getting the money they need to run their programs.

That’s a huge win winners all around. Bend Venture Conference, Pitch Latino, Latino Founder, Barro, Finnegan the Dragon… There’s OpConnect, Toolbelt… All kinds of folks winning.

You know, what would make me feel like a winner? That’s right, just subscribe now. If you feel like I’m doing something worthwhile and you’re getting something out of it. Right. That’s that’s enough about that.

The big story that everybody was most interested in this week was Sixty. And if you’re not familiar with Sixty, it’s the new company started by Matt Ellis. It’s using AI to help you make better use of your time and take control your calendar, get all the information you need. And we love that artificial intelligence. It’s the new hot thing with the startup kids these days. And Matt Ellis is a successful founder with a successful exit. So that makes 60 really exciting.

They launched on Product Hunt, which is a really hard one to pronounce. It’s really the place to launch products. Hence the name. Sixty did really well on there. I don’t know that they cracked the top 10 But they were definitely trending all day. That’s a win.

If you’re interested in trying out Sixty, head on over there. I’ll link it up.

This is not a this is not a winning story. I lied. Not all the stories are about winners. This one’s pretty depressing. It’s the amount of VC that is being used to fund Black founded companies continues to decrease. It’s like at abysmal levels now. It’s a huge issue.

We have a great event every year called PitchBlack, that really highlights and showcases the amazing black founded companies in town every year. But fact of the matter is it. It’s an immense problem. One of the stories I wrote up was just coverage on the data. The data of what’s actually happening. For all the promises… it’s not moving the needle, and we got to fix it.

That’s not a that’s not a very happy read. It’s an important read, though. So I will link that up. Please take a look at it. And I think it’s important that you be informed about what’s going on because we don’t, we don’t win unless we’re all winning. And I want this episode to be about winners. And I want all of our founders here in Portland to be winning.

Speaking of black founded companies, Fridie Outdoors — full disclosure PIE alum — has just been accepted into the Black United fund of Oregon’s emerging entrepreneur program along with four other companies. This was exciting. Fridie Outdoors was really the standout tech company in that group of folks. But I’m excited to watch all these companies and see where they go and nice to see. Black founded company here in Portland finding success, and you guessed it… being a winner. So they won to right they got accepted into a program. That’s a win.

Big story out of the federal government funding… Oregon wound up landing a few tech hubs and one research project. There was a mass Timber Tech Hub. There was a microfluidity. I don’t I don’t know what microfluidity is. But we have a tech hub for that with Oregon State. Yet another winner? Corvallis. Because Oregon State is involved in those two tech hubs. So the microfluidics sorry, I might have said microfluidity… they got that they got the mass timber thing, Pacific Northwest mass timber dealio.

And then there’s also an opportunity for Portland State to research the potential for a smart energy hub, not an official tech hub. But really the planning and research to figure out if there’s the capacity for having that kind of tech hub, that’s significant capital to be pursuing those things. And so that makes each and every one of them a winner.

I made the reference to Breakfast Club that none of you got, but that’s fine. That’s fine. All you do is win.

Oh, here’s a good one. You know, I like the Buzzcutt. They’re doing the Sober October thing. Maybe you’re trying to drink less alcohol, you’re looking for alternative beverages, zero proof cocktails, you still want to go out with your friends, you still want to go out to a bar restaurant, but you want to have those options. That’s what this card is for. And since it’s Sober October, they’re throwing together pubcrawl at the end of the month, so October 29. There’ll be bouncing around — bouncing around — to a bunch of establishments that have non alcoholic beverages for you. Maybe some fancy non alcoholic cocktails, zero proof spirits.

But the thing is, you can go out have that same experience you would have with a bar with alcoholic drinks or beverages and you get to have good time with no buzz, you basically get to cut the buzz. Hence, let’s cut let’s get to winning at sober October. See I brought it right back to the winning. It’s all about winning this episode. Go join the buzzcutt crew on their on their pub crawl and experience the non alcoholic side of Portland because it’s pretty damn good.

Heard of Expensify? Used Expensify maybe for work? Well guess what? Expensify is now available for your personal expenses as well. They’ve updated the app, there’s a new version, you can use that for both business and personal expenses. You can go down to the food cart pod down there by Expensify that they helped you refresh. And you can you can track your expenses with their app, your personal expenses that you buy at one of the carts down there.

So really impressive. They’ve been a good b2b company. Publicly traded… you know, they went public —full disclosure, I’m a shareholder because I wanted to support them — but now they’re getting into the b2c which could mean a whole new realm for them and then potential for growth, so I’m excited to see where it goes. But the Expensify go and b2c still stay in beta. b still sort of in that market, but also now going b2c. So it’ll be interesting to see what happens there.

Flex Axion, out of I think battleground Washington. So another company across the river that is using AI for asset management, and financial kind of stuff. So don’t know a ton about them, but just came across them. They were recommended to me. So I wanted to highlight them, it’d be interesting to see, I’m excited about the the cool kids playing with the AI.

I don’t know who won the race, but 4k4Community won by the amount of money that they raised for charity. They raised $12,500. For Rosemary Anderson, high school. So great, cause great school, great community turnout, even though it was raining, it was pouring that day, I can’t remember. But it was really nice to hear that report out on the amount of money they were able to raise, I can’t wait for the next race that I won’t run because I don’t run but keep your eye out for my voice cracking and me reaching puberty at some point, but keep your eye out for future news from 4K4Community, I’ll make sure and link it up. And I will always alert you when they have a race locally or in the region. So that you can participate in those and the amazing organizations they work with, can get the funding that they need.

So good job Field Day, who helps organize that good job on them for bringing 4k4Community back, and for doing such a good job of raising money. For Rosemary Anderson, that’s a win.

So I know I said subscribing makes me feel like a winner. You know, what else would make me feel like a winner? If you introduce yourself to the Portland startup community, that was by far the most popular post, probably because I use chat GPT to write my bio.

The AI I tell you… AI, it’s a thing people people seem excited about. And thank you to chat GPT for for writing such a kind bio for me, who knew?

All you have to do a link it up, you fill out the form. And that’s it. That’s all you have to do.

And then I will take the information you provide, along with you know, a photo, and I will craft up a post one a day, and introduce all of you out there in Portland startup community land to one new person a day, five a week or so depending on how many submissions we get. I don’t care if you’re a service provider. I don’t care for your founder. I don’t care if you’re somebody who works in a startup. If you’re somebody who would like more connections in the Portland startup community, please complete that profile. And I will be happy to post your info to Silicon Florist. I’ll even highlight you in this thing. And I’ll post it and we’ll see where it goes from there. And then I’ll talk about you on here.

So you’d be like watching this. And you’ll be hearing your name television star. It’s like you’re a winner. See, winner episode. Okay.

So that’s about it for this week. Hope you enjoyed this recap. There was so much going on. Like I posted so many stories. It’s just a lot of great activity, like the energy is coming back to the Portland startup community. And I’m hoping that this format here helps keep you in the loop and helps make you feel connected. And in the coming weeks you’re going to meet a whole bunch of new people in your community that you should connect with as well.

Alright, so that’s it this week. Hang in there. Hope you’re doing well. Keep up the good work.