I love startup folks. They’re creative. And resilient. And optimistic. And when one path doesn’t pay off, they’ll quickly start right down another one. So it should come as no surprise that two Portland founders—both representing notoriously under funded demographics among the ranks of venture capital funded startups—would look for an opportunity to fund their companies in new way. Meet Fund a Founder.
One of the challenges of the Portland startup community has always been momentum. We sometimes have great—at times even fantastic—startup news, like an exit or a major announcement. But more often than not, that happens as a solitary instance. And then it’s some time before the next major announcement. So it’s rare to have a day like today where both Torch 3D and Vacasa have major news.
Way back when… as a previous generation of the Portland startup community was starting to come together, Raven Zachary launched something called “Portland on Fire.” It was a project that played a critical role in helping introduce members of our community to one another — and provided a starting point for deeper personal connections among various folks Portland. He called the process “slow social networking.”
Used to be that Portland had a regular cadence around Startup Weekend. And while that cadence seems to have slowed, we still have our fair share of amazing opportunities for would-be founders to engage with a host of mentors in an effort to test their startup concepts. In fact, there’s exactly that opportunity this weekend with Portland Startup Weekend Latino.
As motivations for startups and more sustainable business models continue to evolve, there are an equal number of organizations rethinking the support structures for those founders and their businesses. One of those organizations has been working on the problem for half a decade. And they’ll be in Portland tonight. Meet Happy Startup School Portland.
Not so long ago, banks were a viable means of financing business. But as the terms of that financing became more inaccessible and onerous, we saw new models arise. One of those models was venture capital. Now—thanks in part to efforts like the Zebra movement—the VC model is beginning to show its own imperfections, inadequacies, and inaccessibility. So it only makes sense that folks would start thinking about new models for financing. One of those folks is Portland’s Luke Kanies, founder and former CEO of Puppet.
As much as I love our Portland companies, I’m even happier when they can expand their markets by exporting their goods and services to other communities. It doesn’t matter if they’re tech, creative, food & beverage… you name it. Being part of the “traded sector” helps Portland. So you can only imagine how happy I was when I heard PitchBlack was being shared with other communities as well. They’ll be in Seattle on Wednesday night as part of Techstars Startup Week Seattle.
We have more access to more data points than we’ve ever had. And the more data we consume, the more ways we find to leverage that data. Perhaps no one finds this opportunity more compelling than digital marketing. But with an abundance of data—data which often falls into silos—there are challenges, as well. That’s why Portland’s Lytics has created Orchestrate.
As we, as a community, continue to cope and process the recent senseless loss of Sam Blackman, many of our conversations have turned to remembering other amazing contributors to the Portland startup community. Contributors who inspired and impacted untold number of entrepreneurs. Contributors who, like Sam, were gone far too early. And of course, one of the names that has come up, time and time again, is Shelley Gunton.