Category: Startups

Portland Startup Weekend: Could it be what the Rose City needs?

One of the best things about writing this blog is getting the opportunity to chat with a wide variety of folks. I mean, sure, a lot of us are geeky. And that’s pretty much where I focus the coverage. But I think you would be pleasantly surprised at the wide range of folks who are interested in Silicon Forest startups.

And in the conversations I’ve been having, there’s one consistent theme that comes through time and time again: For all the activity in Portland—all the cool startup energy and amazing tools being built—people feel pretty darn isolated in our relatively small town.

I think that’s part of the reason why Portland’s Twitter community is so active and responsive. It’s why there’s a ever-growing number of us who are really getting excited for Ignite Portland 2. It’s why things like the PDX Tech Calendar project are taking off.

But there’s still more to do. There’s still more crossover needed.

I mean, let’s be honest: This needs to be more than just techie-types leading the charge. It needs to be a group effort. And a diverse effort.

And that’s what appeals to me about Startup Weekend.

“What’s Startup Weekend?” you say? I’m glad you asked.

Startup Weekend is very much like the Ignite concept. Only it’s for a company.

I know. I hear you. “I’ve been to weekend codefests before.”

But, see, here’s where this one is a little different: It’s not a product. It’s a company.

One weekend to create one company.

That means design, development, marketing, public relations, business development, user experience, legal, and project management. All of those disciplines. In one room. Working to create a company under the gun.

What’s more, this isn’t some “Oh wasn’t that fun. Now let’s throw away all that work and go back to our lives.” This becomes a real company.

Startup Weekend recruits a highly motivated group of small business entrepreneurs to build a community and company in a weekend. The founders decide what to make as a team, and earn an equal share of stock in the developed business. Attendees are responsible for bringing the desire and passion to the project and walk out of the room with a brand new business, in a short 54 hours. Sound intense? It is.

So why all the hoopla from me? Well, there’s a little voting platform for deciding who gets to host Startup Weekends. And Portland is already on the list. So, we’re already part of the way there. All we need is to provide a little more oompf and we could have our very own Portland Startup Weekend.

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? And I’m confident that with the brilliant folks in this town—and the great organizations that are working to bring us together *cough* Legion of Tech *cough*—we could turn it into quite an interesting event. A spectacle, if you will. In a good way. And an example of how we, as Portlanders and Silicon Forest… um “creatures” can come together to build something great.

And to start to eliminate some of those feelings of isolation.

If you’re even partially convinced that this might, just might, be a good idea. And that it might be good for our community. I highly encourage you to take two seconds to vote for Portland Startup weekend.

For more, visit Startup Weekend.

Portland tech startup co-op, concept proposed

As any small company or individual developer discovers, there are a number of requirements to “running a business” that often detract or steal time from your “building cool and useful stuff” time. And while many developers currently outsource these tasks to business-service professionals, the cost and time to manage those services and contractors can be equally draining.

Peat Bakke of Blue Hill Solutions and Adam DuVander may have a solution: a co-op that supports the business-services needs of small and independent technology developers in the Portland area.

There are lots of independent software developers and consultants in the Portland area, and while the technologies and applications vary wildly, there are probably some very common frustrations that could be aided under a co-op structure.

Sounds like an idea whose time has come. A sort of “Really Small Business Administration” to fill the gap for the market that the local SBA isn’t really designed to serve.

The concept is interesting—and appealing—to say the least. If you agree, read Peat’s post on the topic and then head over to Portland Web Innovators to join the discussion.

Reminder: LUNARR preview tonight

Bringing two years of stealth to a close, LUNARR, the Portland-based company founded on the premise that every knowledge worker in an organization has the potential to be a creative contributor, will unveil its Web-based collaboration product, this evening, at CubeSpace. The event starts at 6:00 PM.

What should you expect to see?

LUNARR is a service that allows people to create and share documents in an efficient and convenient way. As a member, once you login you can create or access a document, and then revise or simply share the document with whomever you like. Share a report with a colleague. Change a contract with your attorney. LUNARR makes it fast and simple.

LUNARR was founded by wildly successful Japanese entrepreneur Toru Takasuka of Cybozu fame. Takasuka is scheduled to present, as is LUNARR Chief Operating Officer, Hideshi Hamaguchi.

For more information on the event or to RSVP, please visit the Upcoming page.

Portland at TechCrunch40: Not according to the leaked list

With high hopes, I had posted earlier this weekend, asking if anyone had a line on any Portland companies that might be participating in the much-anticipated TechCrunch40.

Well, a blog post surfaced this evening, claiming to be the actual list of TechCrunch40 presenters. And after a bit of due diligence, I am completely saddened and a bit dismayed to report that I can’t find a single Portland company on that list.

(And no, I’m not going to post or link to the rumored list, as I can neither confirm nor deny that it is truly the list. In fact, this is the only company on the list I can even remotely confirm. Maybe the leaked list is a fake and in reality there are only Portland companies on the real list. Then how would I feel?)

Why am I telling you this? Because I know you have better things to do than sitting around, hitting refresh on the Silicon Florist site, waiting to see the Portland companies that made the list.

I mean, you were planning on doing that, right?

That’s what I thought.

There still may be Portland companies exhibiting down there. And, who knows? A Portland company may wind up being the crowd favorite that gets the #40 slot. And if that’s the case, when I know, you’ll know.

But I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Oregon Startups sees 37, raises 13

Oregon Startups, an information site for Oregon-based entrepreneurs, has been working to capture a list of all the Web 2.0 startups that call Oregon home.

And that list continues to grow.

What started as an original list of 37 companies at the beginning of September is now sitting at 50 Oregon-based Web 2.0 companies.

Don’t think you’re a “Web 2.0” startup? Don’t think you’re a “startup”? If I were you, I’d submit your company to the list, anyway.

I did err on the side of being inclusive rather than exclusive, so you might debate how good a Web 2.0 fit some members of the list are — and certainly not all are startups. But nonetheless, the list is a good indication that there is quite a lot of web activity in Oregon.

Whatever your professional disposition, I’d encourage you to spend some time reviewing—and improving—the list. Let’s get a little wisdom of the crowd going to help Oregon Startups develop a comprehensive list.

For more information, see the Oregon Startups list of Oregon Web 2.0 companies.

Silicon Forest Universe: Get yourself into orbit

Have a hard time visualizing the Silicon Forest? Maybe the Silicon Forest Universe can help.

The Silicon Forest Universe tracks the massive celestial bodies in the Portland-area—like Tektronix and Intel—and the startups that have launched because of them—which slide into an orbit around the originating company.

Brings “spin off” to a whole new level, doesn’t it?

Well, now that you know what it is, what’s in it for you?

I’m glad you asked.

Apparently, universal shifts are underway. And those cataclysmic events are your gain. You’re invited to launch your own planet.

Heike Mayer was a PSU student in 2002 when she helped create the original. Now a Virginia Tech professor, Mayer is working with PSU’s Sheila Martin (from the Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies) and a host of regional technology associations to update it.

That’s right. It’s like our own local version of the International Star Registry. Or maybe Virgin Galactic.

Either way, if you’d like to get your startup into orbit, head on over to another Portland-based startup, Survey Monkey, to fill out the Silicon Forest Universe survey.

I’m looking forward to seeing you among the stars.

(Hat tip to the Silicon Forest blog)

To-do: Name that stealthy Portland startup

It’s Friday. Isn’t it? It is right? I’ve kinda lost track of time.

What’s that? It is? Okay, great. In Portland, too? Okay, cool.

Ahem.

It’s Friday, so why not give yourself a little treat?

Ryan Williams of NetworthIQ fame has a new project in the works. It’s stealth. Super stealth.

Well, that’s what I’m claiming, anyway. Because the project doesn’t have a name. And in my book, you can’t be much more stealth than that.

Worse yet? He doesn’t quite know what to call it.

So you get to help.

Which is the best domain name for a site that aggregates feeds from traditional and social sites for a city?

  • socialmetro.com
  • metbuzz.com
  • vibelocal.com
  • localsignal.com

Exercise your inner-entrepreneur—or your outer one for that matter—by swinging by Ryan’s blog, Web things considered, and placing your vote. Or suggesting a new name.

[Update] Ryan was nice enough to drop by a provide a link to the work-in-progress. Might provide a little more inspiration for your vote.

Meet: Portland Internet Astronauts September 20

Continuing to lead in the “quirkiest Portland group name” contest, Portland Internet Astronauts has announced the date for their monthly gathering. The event will be held the evening of September 20.

Talking about current internet hot topics, looking at the latest web start-ups and sharing our ideas for projects and what we’re working on.

Current start-ups are covered by sites like www.techcrunch.com.

Portland has a pretty great creative scene and I know lots of sites owners are out there… Why don’t we get together and chat about what we’re doing and share experiences?

Space is limited, so if you’re interested in attending, please RSVP at Meetup. Currently, Goboz and Loud Is Relative are planning on attending. Colour Lovers is the organizer.

[Editor’s Note: As an aside, Loud Is Relative admits to “wanting to be blogged by TechCrunch.” Well, they’re now in a blog entry with TechCrunch. One step closer to the dream. Baby steps, but steps nonetheless.]

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