The Portland startup community got the chance to hear from Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, this morning. Thanks to WeWork Labs Portland and its Manager Josh Carter — who also is the founder and lead organizer of Coffee w/ Co-Founders.
It’s been more than a week. I’m still processing. To be honest. It was the biggest PitchBlack I’d had the opportunity to attend. It had the most people pitching. It was sold out. And for all of the energy and love I’d felt at previous PitchBlacks, this one just seemed to be something special. I’m really really glad I got the chance to attend. But it’s taken me a while to take it all in.
This Wednesday marks the fifth installment of PitchBlack, an event created by Stephen Green to showcase Black Portland founders that has grown into a national happening. Wednesday’s event will be the biggest PitchBlack Portland ever, held at Wieden+Kennedy’s headquarters in the Pearl. By all accounts, this is a big deal — and probably a little stressful for participants. That’s why Stephen reached out to former PitchBlack presenters to get some last minute words of advice and a bit of a pep talk.
It’s not like you’re actively trying to procrastinate. It’s just that you’re a founder. And you’ve got a million things to do. And a bunch of fires burning. So I’m not asking you to do anything at the moment. But I did want to remind you of four rapidly approaching deadlines for programs that could be beneficial for your startup.
You know those days where it seems like everything just kind of points to the same issue? And how you know it’s definitely been a problem that has been solved in the past? But somewhere along the way, a new group of folks have joined the community, who — through absolutely no fault of their own — have no idea the solution exists? That’s kind of the experience I had today. So I wanted to remind folks of — or introduce folks to — Calagator.
Portland is always said to be an incredibly collaborative place. With all kinds of organizations designed to foster that collaboration. But until recently, we didn’t really seem to have an organization that facilitated collaboration among startups and government. Until Business for a Better Portland came along.
I’m always encouraging founders to celebrate small wins. And to take pride in the progress they’re making. So for once, I’m going to follow my own advice and take a moment to celebrate. PIE, the startup accelerator that I helped cofound and continue to run as general manager, is turning 10 years old in August. So let’s celebrate.
There’s nothing quite like peer support. That’s why I’m always a fan of events and programs that get peers together. Not even necessarily to talk shop. Just to let them know that they’re not alone. And if you’re the cofounder of a company, one of those events is happening tomorrow: Coffee with Co-Founders.