Category: Startups

Guest Editorial: Scott Kveton

[Editor’s note: Continuing the Silicon Florist’s guest editorial series, we welcome Scott Kveton, a well-known force-of-nature in the Portland technology community. And, as you’ll see, the de facto Chamber of Commerce for the Portland startup scene.]
Made in Oregon

Image courtesy Modified Enzyme under Creative Commons

Falling in love with Portland again and again

Last week was amazing. I spent most of it with Luke Sontag here in Portland, meeting with folks, spreading the good word about Vidoop and generally being in the city.

Having grown up in-and-around Portland, it’s always fun to see the reaction to everything-that-is-Portland from someone who doesn’t live here. (Oh, and the weather we had last week didn’t hurt either.)

I got a chance to talk a little bit about this at Ignite Portland 2, but I’ll say it again: This is the beginning of a fantastic renaissance period for Portland. It’s such a vibrant, eclectic, talented and diverse city with so many things going on, that it inspires the mind and spirit around every corner you turn. Even more, I think Chris Logan had it right: it’s time for Portland to step up and take its place.

There has been some talk about how “if you don’t live in the Bay Area and you’re in tech, you’re basically a wuss.”

So be it. The very last thing I want is for Portland to turn into the Bay Area or Seattle. I want it to be Portland. I want other cities to be saying “wouldn’t it be great if we were more like Portland?” I simply want Portland to come into its own in tech, in the arts, sustainability, green, etc.

But, how do we get to that point?

Well, it takes a bunch of us, it takes some time and, ironically, the city does most of the work for you.

For the past couple of years, I’ve made it a point to try to help people who are considering a move to Portland. I’ve spent countless days taking people around the city, introducing them to others in the city, and generally trying to give them a “locals’ view” of the city.

Now, the tour I take folks on covers a bit of ground and I’m seeking some input on the route. A couple of places I go to:

  • Tour of SW waterfront area with gondola love
  • Sellwood district (possibly for lunch, definitely for dinner at Saburo’s if it’s a weekday night)
  • SE towards 78th or so … Marshall has been kind enough to meet me more than once at the Bipartisan Cafe… soooo PDX
  • Alberta or Killingsworth… I used to live at Billy Reed’s at the turn of the century and I can’t believe how much it’s all changed since then
  • Pearl District for coffee (Caffe Umbria is amazing) or drinks (the Vault or even the Clyde Commons)
  • NW on 21st or 23rd… just too much to do, to eat, to see

Where would you take a touring visitor to get a taste of Portland from a local’s point-of-view? Bear in mind, I’m not looking for just a tech-person view on this. I’m all about diversity here.

The key to all of this, and the thing that I keep in mind at all times, is serendipity. Yeah, yeah, I know. Hard to quantify, huh? Well, I’m not the cheerleader type unless I really, really believe in it. Portland I can believe in. This city, the people, the places. It’s easy.

If you’re not predisposed to drink the PDX Kool-aid, then you’re probably not the type of person I’d want here anyway. And, if you’ve ended up in my Inbox or with my phone number, odds are, there’s a reason.

I’ll put this out there; if you have a friend or colleague that is thinking about making the move to Portland I’ll offer up my time for coffee or even the full-fledged tour to introduce them to the city and the people I know. It’s just the right thing to do. And, I’d challenge you to do the same.

Again, it’s not about trying to make Portland something it’s not… it’s about embracing serendipity and helping Portland realize its potential.

P.S. – first round is always on me … 🙂

Scott Kveton is a digital identity promoter, open source advocate, and Chairman of the OpenID Foundation. He has worked at Amazon, RuleSpace.com, JanRain, and MyStrands, and founded the Open Source Lab at Oregon State University. He is a regular speaker on the topic of identity and open source. Kveton currently serves as the Vice President of Open Platforms for Vidoop, a company he recently wooed to the Silicon Forest.

Portland Start-up Index: February 2008

As promised, Techvibes [Full disclosure: I contribute Portland articles to Techvibes] has released its monthly update to the Portland Start-up Index, which has now increased to 50 companies.

And that’s not all that has changed. Now, the index has some movement indicators, showing who was where and where they’ve gone—up or down.

New additions include Kongregate (didn’t realize they had a Portland office), Rocketbook, Iterasi [Full disclosure: Client of mine], Active Reload, WeoGeo (recently relocated from Florida), VocalNation.net, GoLife Mobile, and Worldwide Nest.

As far as movers go, ChoiceA, Lunarr, and MomHub saw the biggest upticks. As expected, number of folks were sent screaming down the list with the addition of the new companies.

The mixture of companies and products on the index are ranked by the average of their Alexa and Compete rankings.

Since each revision of the index replaces the previous one, I’ve captured the list, for posterity:

  1. AboutUs
  2. Discogs
  3. Kongregate
  4. MyOpenID
  5. Splashcast
  6. Earth Class Mail (now located in Seattle)
  7. Jive Software
  8. Sandy
  9. Gone Raw
  10. Cliq
  11. Stikkit
  12. NetworthIQ
  13. Grabbit
  14. Walker Tracker
  15. Pibb
  16. Attensa
  17. UrbanDrinks
  18. Rocketbook
  19. Iterasi
  20. Active Reload
  21. ChoiceA
  22. fmyi
  23. Lunarr
  24. GadgetTrak
  25. Iovation
  26. KnitMap
  27. WeoGeo
  28. FreeRange
  29. Picktastic
  30. Goboz
  31. Imindi
  32. Art Face Off
  33. MomHub
  34. Avnera
  35. VocalNation.net
  36. Box Populi
  37. Pheedo
  38. GoLife Mobile
  39. Workplace2go
  40. Techchex
  41. Kryptiq
  42. Jama Software
  43. Lumeno.us
  44. GoSeeTell
  45. Lightfleet
  46. Cendix
  47. Worldwide Nest
  48. YourList
  49. IDP Solutions
  50. Kumquat

For the complete listing, metrics, and movement indicators, please visit Techvibes.

Startupalooza: Start making your plans to attend

Portland’s Startupalooza, the March 29th bootcamp for startups—both existing and planned, continues to expand its roster of speakers. And it’s shaping up to be quite a gathering of local startup talent.

As part of the continuing build-out of its schedule, Starupalooza has announced the addition of a Toonlet demo, a Vidoop demo, and the formation of a “Technopreneur” panel featuring Sarah Gilbert of Cafemama, et al., Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWrite Web, Justin Kistner of Metafluence, and some other guy.

Startupalooza is an interactive forum for the Portland tech startup community. Find out about cool tech startups, learn from successful tech entrepreneurs and meet local tech-business people in a candid, no-BS environment. Admission is free.

Startupalooza announces date, initial speakers

It’s official! After some stealthy preparation, Startupalooza, the latest Portland-technology event from the Legion of Tech team, has been slated for March 29, 2008. The event will be held at CubeSpace.

What’s the deal?

Starupalooza is an interactive forum for the Portland tech startup community. It’s where you can find out about cool tech startups, learn from successful tech entrepreneurs and meet local tech-business people. The event features discussions, presentations, demonstrations and networking allowing participants to share, learn and connect in a candid, no-BS environment.

Oh, and I did I mention, it’s free?

A number of speakers have already been announced:

For more information, visit the Startupalooza, subscribe to the RSS feed, or follow @startupalooza on Twitter. To RSVP, visit the Startupalooza page on Upcoming.

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)

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