There used to be a time when Portland didn’t have much of a support system for the startups here in town. But that’s starting to change.
A few years back, I had the opportunity to run a BarCamp Portland session called “From side project to startup.” I’ve always liked that thought. Because it’s a dream that so many of us have. To work on something we love—even if it’s on the side. And for that project to build so much momentum and find users and find revenue. And that we could make it our job. Day in and day out.
New models for accelerators and incubators are becoming the cornerstone of the early stage startup. And it’s not just juggernauts like Y Combinator, TechStars, and 500 Startups. There are any number of incubators popping up all over the place.
But what’s it take to get into one of these things? And even more importantly, what are the red flags that are going to prevent you from making it into these programs? Read More
[Editor: I received news late last week that one of Portland’s original coworking spaces, Souk, was launching a new $8/day drop-in incubator. At first blush, I didn’t really understand how it constituted an incubator. So I asked for some clarification. What I received from Alex Linsker at Souk seemed like a damn fine guest post. With permission, I’m sharing it here.]
Coworking (at least at souk Jellies and other special programs here, and at some other spaces and Jellies I’ve worked at in other cities) can work as an incubator program that’s self-led, peer-to-peer. Read More
For all the incubators and accelerators popping up, one of the most interesting has to be Dave McClure‘s 500 Startups. Part startup accelerator, part seed fund. The vision for 500 Startups is change the way that startups and investors collaborate and interact—to the benefit of both groups.
And now, you can get a little glimpse into what one of those 500 Startups demo days is like. Read More
Let’s say you’re a startup that’s interested in helping other startups grow and prosper. You’ve had a successful run at the local level. But you’re still looking to continue to expand and improve your programs. What to do?
Well, you might consider expanding outside the Portland area. Increase your reach. And take your program nationwide. That’s exactly what the Portland Ten—a local “startup bootcamp”—is proposing to do. Read More
[HTML2]As more and more Portland types begin to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams, there has become a need for locations where small teams can work side by side—without it taking a great deal of investment to make it happen. To support this growing market, we’ve seen reasonably priced office space like the Leftbank Project and Olympic Mills, coworking locations like NedSpace and Souk, and hybrid workspaces like the Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE).
Now, Webtrends is doing its part to help small businesses launch by offering up an incubator of its own—Webtrends 101, a space designed specifically for fledgling Portland digital marketing companies. Read More
When you get going with a startup, it’s usually driven by passion, desire, and the hopes of making the world a better place. Rarely—and I do mean rarely—does that initial drive involve the world of contracts and legal shelters.
But fact of the matter is, if you’re going to make your startup a reality—and a going concern—you’re going to need to make sure that you’ve crossed all the “I”s and dotted all of the “T”s. Or um. Well, you’re going to need some legal advice. But where to start? That’s where the Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE) is trying to help. Read More
After spending the better part of the year researching the Portland startup community, Carolynn Duncan has come to the same conclusion as the many of us: Portland is one huge R&D shop. Which is great for innovation. But not always as good for revenue-generating business.
- The pre-revenue, pre-funding entrepreneur community lacks a core understanding of the fundraising process, and perceives that there is a lack of seed capital.
- Local investors and funds appear to be few & far between, while investors outside the area fly between Seattle and San Francisco, without paying serious attention to what’s happening in PDX.
- Geeks prefer working on their own side projects independently, rather than joining a startup, or taking their technologies to a commercialized level.
In essence, the area as a whole interacts much like a national laboratory or research university, with results being that the entrepreneurial talent neglects to convert side projects into startups, and the geeks, while coalescing as a supportive & sociable community, tends to be underutilized/underemployed.
So how do we address that problem? Traditional venture capital models? No. How about something that better meshes with the existing startup culture? An incubator along the lines of Y Combinator.
Meet Portland Ten.
The goal? Incubate 10 Portland startups capable of generating at least $1 million in revenue per year—by August 2010.
Ten by ’10. Get it?
But Carolynn doesn’t see this as a problem at which one can just throw capital. It requires something more educational. More focused on mentoring. Using the expertise she’s gained on the VC side of the desk and her co-advisors—Mark Grimes and Josh Friedman—have gained running (and in Mark’s case, selling) their own startups.
It’s an intensive bootcamp, but there isn’t any money going to the startups. With Portland Ten, the startups are paying:
[We’re looking for] an entrepreneur right on the cusp of starting a high-growth business. A teachable entrepreneur who will commit to the required activities, and the optional activities when possible.
An entrepreneur who will consider themselves the first investor in the project and raise the funds to pay the $500/month program tuition.
Interested in applying to participate? Portland Ten is currently accepting applications for its first 12-week session, beginning February 23.
If you’ve got a side project that you’re convinced will be a viable business, it’s time to grab those bootstraps, my friend—and check out Portland Ten.
[UPDATE 2/12/2009] This post elicited some great comments and it sparked an interesting discussion on Y Combinator’s Hacker News. As a result, Carolynn has taken the opportunity to address 14 of the questions/critiques about Portland Ten.