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?
Working on a Blockchain startup? Curious as to how the Oregon Enterprise Blockchain Venture Studio is going to work? Wondering if your company is a good fit? Well, you can get all of those questions and more answered this week. Because R/GA is hosting an information session on the Oregon Enterprise Blockchain Venture Studio.
I always say that the “P” in “PDX” stands for “procrastination.” It’s all but a definitive cultural trait around these parts. But sometimes, we all miss out on something really special due to that dragging of the proverbial feet. That’s why I’m really happy to announce that — instead of closing today — the XXcelerate Fund’s startup accelerator, XXcelerator, is giving you another week to get your application completed.
Being in the startup acceleration and mentoring business, I do love me some status reports and updates. Even if that startup happens to be an accelerator itself. And that’s why I was happy to see this latest update from Mitch Daugherty on the Built Oregon consumer product accelerator project.
It wasn’t that long ago that global coworking giant WeWork announced that Portland — specifically the Custom House — would be a WeWork Labs instance. And like all startuppy things, changes are already afoot. In the past few months, WeWork Labs has been experimenting with its Portland presence and going through some iterations. And now, there’s a new person heading up the Portland efforts, Josh Carter.
Accelerators are nothing new. They’ve become a quintessential part of many startup ecosystems. But more often than not, they’re rather one note. Because the vast majority of those accelerators are only accelerating one thing: tech. But there’s more to startups than just tech. Especially around here. That’s why Built Oregon is rethinking the accelerator model to support consumer products companies.
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.
In the world of startup accelerators, there are two juggernauts: Y Combinator and Techstars. So I’m always happy to hear when a local company makes it into one of those programs. Especially when it’s the original Techstars in Boulder, which — at least in my mind — carries with it an additional prestige. And that’s where Bend startup LuDela will be spending a three-month stint.
Startups have to juggle a lot. A lot. So picking their battles — or applications as it were — is an important part of deciding how they’re going to spend their time. And in my opinion, if you’re a founder who identifies as a woman, person of color, or LGBTQ, you’d be smart to spend your time applying to the Backstage Capital Accelerator. Because there isn’t a more truly and earnestly inclusive investor and accelerator, local or otherwise.