There seems to be a constant stream of chatter about how the Portland startup ecosystem compares to the Bay/Seattle. Inherently, a major piece of this conversation is about the ability or inability to raise money locally. This assumes that if there is money to be had locally, it’s the better choice—raise locally, hire locally, and in doing so support the Portland startup scene. Read More
If January is any indication, the Portland startup scene is in for an interesting year. First, Janrain announced a big round of investment. Now, Puppet Labs has landed a $30 million strategic investment from VMware. Read More
The Portland startup scene always likes it when known entities choose to call our city home for their newest endeavors. So was the case when Joe Stump—of Digg and SimpleGeo fame—announced he was relocating to Portland and bringing his new effort, Sprintly, along. Read More
You might not realize it, but Oregon’s legislature is in the midst of determining the entrepreneurial future of our state, this week. Currently on the floor is Oregon House Bill 4040: The Oregon Investment Act which “Establishes Oregon Growth Fund and Oregon Growth Board to encourage investment in and availability of capital to Oregon businesses and to further economic development in Oregon.”
Problem is that the legislature adjourns on Wednesday. Read More
Even as Portland startups continue to make waves and land capital, we’ve still got a lot to do to step up to the big leagues. So what does Portland need to do to step up and be among the premier cities for startups?
One thing is for sure. Being attractive to venture capitalists can only help the cause. And ensure that Portland startups have the capital they need to succeed. But how? Well, why not ask a VC? That’s what happened on TechCrunch’s “Ask a VC” last week. Read More
Yes, I know. 11 steps. Yes, most of these things are supposed to be 12 step programs, but this one—11 Steps for Getting Investor Ready—goes to 11. Besides, we’re looking to feed your addiction to startups. Not curtail it. Oh wait. I think step 12 may be “Profit!”
In any case, our friends over at OTBC in Beaverton are offering to coach entrepreneurs on pitching their ideas and companies to would be investors. All it takes is an hour, beginning at 4:30 PM on November 16. Read More
During a SXSW panel on startups in smaller metropolitan areas, I spent some time talking about how venture capital was a bit more difficult to come by in towns like Portland. But I’ll be darned if some awesome Portland startups—like Urban Airship, ShopIgniter, and ActiveTrak—aren’t working to prove me wrong. And now? Another Portland startup has joined the list.
This week, Second Porch announced that they have secured $1 million in investment led by the Oregon Angel Fund. Read More
With all the talk about the Oregon Investment Fund (OIF) and the new $100 million entrepreneurial fund that Nedspace and Harvey Mathews are trying to start, I have found myself with a unique—and completely unexpected—opportunity: I get the chance to chat with the folks at CreditSuisse who are in charge of managing the OIF, Friday morning.
For those of you not familiar with the OIF, it was a fund established by the state of Oregon in 2004 to reinvest a portion of the Oregon Public Employee Retirement Fund (OPERF) in Oregon and Pacific Northwest businesses—to the tune of $158 million in potential investment.
Or, according to the OIF:
In 2004, the Oregon Legislature passed HB 3613 that allowed the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund (“OPERF”) to develop a fund-of-funds strategy specifically to take advantage of the private equity opportunities in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest (“PNW”). Managed by CFIG, the Oregon Investment Fund (“OIF”) commits capital to private equity and venture capital funds (“Underlying Funds”) that will, in turn, invest in companies located in the State of Oregon as well as the PNW.
Comprised of combined commitments of $150mm from OPERF ($100mm in Fund 1 and $50mm in Fund 1A) and approximately $8mm by CreditSuisse ($5mm in Fund 1 and $3mm in Fund 1A), the $158mm, return oriented program seeks to build successful, innovative enterprises for the benefit of its investors by:
- Fostering the creation and growth of young and maturing companies in Oregon and the PNW
- Encouraging the development and growth of a vibrant Oregon and PNW private equity community
- Facilitating public and private partnerships within the State of Oregon
And one of the areas in which CreditSuisse has authority to invest? That’s right, you guessed it: high tech.
The high tech industry represents more than 50 percent of Oregon’s economic output and includes leading semiconductor manufacturers as well as makers of computer components. Semiconductor companies with operations in Oregon include, Intel, ESI and TriQuint, among others. These companies make up 10 percent of the annual semiconductor production in the U.S. Oregon’s computer component companies include digital projector manufacturers, electronic design automation leaders and liquid crystal display (“LCD”) makers. InFocus, Mentor Graphics, Planar Systems and Hewlett-Packard are among the corporations who represent the State’s computer components sector. Each of these companies presents a breeding ground for creative innovation to spur the development of new businesses and a growth economy.
Yeah, I hear you. I don’t see much about open source, Web applications, or Mobile development, either. And “InFocus, Mentor Graphics, Planar Systems and Hewlett-Packard… [presenting] a breeding ground for creative innovation to spur the development of new businesses and a growth economy”? Seriously?
Now, as anyone who has read Silicon Florist can attest, I’m not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer. So this is where you come in. (See? Dangling preposition. I repeat: not sharp.)
I realize it’s terribly short notice. But I was wondering if I could get some of your input?
What would you like to ask CreditSuisse about the OIF?
Please feel free to comment or ping me on Twitter. I’ll do my best to ask your questions along with my own.
And rest assured, that once I’m done with the interview, I’ll no doubt blather on about it here, as per usual.
Thanks in advance for your assistance.