So if you’re a regular car sharing user here in town, you’ve likely tried both ReachNow and car2go, two of the providers here in Portland. Not so long ago, those two entities merged and started calling everything Now. ThisNow, ThatNow, NowNow. So when news that ReachNow was shutting down in Portland and Seattle broke, everyone seemed to conclude that we had no more car sharing in town. That is not the case.
We’ve seen it time and time again. The next big thing. Web, open source, cloud, mobile… And time and time again, Portland, with its early adopter culture, has been at the forefront of nascent industries, patiently waiting for their markets to form. I’ve been waiting to see what the next big thing might be. And with today’s news from RealWear, I’m inclined to think augmented reality may be the next industry that Portland is known for.
As much as I love local coverage of the Portland startup community, it’s the national and international coverage that really tends to move the needle for companies around here. That’s why I was psyched to see recent mentions of Ride Report and Open Sesame in Forbes. And even more excited to see this CNN piece featuring Portland startup in-it.
As always, I’ll start this with the caveat that I promised Bill Lynch, cofounder of Jive, that I wouldn’t just write posts that celebrate funding for the sake of funding. Which is actually more work. (Thanks, Bill.) But in the long run, I’m hoping my bag-full-of-cats startup-history brain full of tangential facts and likely little known context can be helpful in providing a broader picture of why these funding events are important.
While they tend to be fairly quiet around these parts, Portland has been home to Mozilla employees — and more recently, a Mozilla office — for years. So even if they weren’t in a court battle to protect one of the very most basic tenets of the Internet as we know it, I’d still be looking for ways to write about them. But lucky for us, that’s exactly what they’re doing.
I love seeing Koan starting to get more engaged in the Portland startup community. First, they’ve been out and about running workshops designed to help companies better understand management through Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) — in a really grassroots and Portlandy way. And now? They’ve signed on Portland startup juggernaut Vacasa as a client.
You’ve heard me talk about the growing prevalence of regional offices as a compelling and growing part of the Portland startup community. To date, many of these offices — which often rival or fully eclipse (Intel) full fledged Portland companies in size — have played the role of employers, event hosts, and sponsors for the community, as a whole. And that’s a trend that I hope to see continue.
In the early days of any new technology, there is always the challenge of compatibility. As various file formats, schemas, and structures spring to life, interoperability is often the last thing to consider. So it’s always nice to see this sort of thing happening sooner rather than later. Like Portland startup The Wild enabling folks to work with SketchUp files within The Wild VR environment.
Given that you’re in the startup world, you likely know a few folks who work from home — or that might describe you. But what you might not realize is that it’s far more likely to have those kinds of acquaintances and gigs around these parts. With nearly 10% of the workforce employed remotely, Portland ranks as the fourth most popular metro areas for remote workers.