You don’t hear as much about it as I would like, but I love the small and scrappy fintech startup community in Portland. What started with companies like Simple has spawned any number of interesting takes on banking, financing, and investing. Even the cofounder of Acorns—which enables folks to round up purchase prices to invest small increments of money—has a Portland connection. (He graduated from Lewis & Clark.) So you can imagine my excitement when I heard that Giftango founder David Nelsen was getting back in the startup game with a fintech play. And now, it’s come out of stealth. Meet Bumped.
In the world of equity financing and startups, it’s not rare to see folks adding new board members when they announce funding rounds. Because it’s usually VCs who have invested who are getting those seats. So when Portland startup Sensu announced a new round of funding and new board members, it was a pleasant surprise to see that one of them was an independent, Luke Kanies, founder of Puppet.
I get it. No. Seriously. I do. We all understand that the “P” in “Portland” stands for “procrastination.” It’s cool. But there comes a time when procrastination turns into actually having to do something. And that time is nigh. Because Portland Startup Week starts in a matter of hours. I know right? Kinda snuck up on us.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: Portland has an incredibly promising AR/VR/Mixed Reality community. From folks who create content to companies that are building the infrastructure and tools to deliver it, we’ve got a wealth of interesting startups and creatives in this still nascent market. And it’s always good to get all of those folks together. Which is what’s happening during Portland Startup Week with Immersive Startups.
If there’s one place that the Portland startup community shines, it’s working together to help others. We’ve seen that play out multiple times with efforts like Business for a Better Portland, as one example, and with any number of fundraisers and food drives. So with Portland Startup Week 2018 coming up, it makes perfect sense that the community would use that as an opportunity to come together again to help others. Introducing the Startupathon, a 24-hour podcast fundraiser put on by the Startup Radio Network.
A couple of years ago, Stephen Green put together an amazing Reverse Pitch event that I got the chance to attend. (If you’re not familiar with the format, a “reverse pitch” is where investors get on stage to describe the types of startups they’re seeking.) During the event, I had the pleasure of hanging out in the audience with a newcomer to the venture capital world who was visiting Portland. Her name? Arlan Hamilton.
Last year, it was Madorra. They seemed to be everywhere. Winning pitch competitions. And gathering accolades. And with good reason. This year, as they continue to grow their company, Madorra seems to have handed off those reins to a new early stage startup. And, like Madorra, they seem to be well on their way to garnering a ton of attention and winning any number of pitch competitions. Meet AllGo.
You’ve no doubt heard the news that one of the seminal Portland startups of this generation—Jive Software—is shuttering its Portland office. Or at the very least, maybe you happened upon the epic Twitter thread talking about Jive’s impact on the Portland startup community. Either way, it was a bit of a bummer. And that’s why it was really nice to see Jive cofounder Matt Tucker turn my frown upside down with the product reveal on his new startup, Koan. And yes, it’s in Portland.
It’s starting to get exciting now. As we draw closer to the beginning of Portland Startup Week, I always get a bunch of inbound requests from amazing Portland folks who are interested in doing something. Which is awesome. What’s not awesome is when folks are stressed about what to do. Sometimes they’re struggling to come up with a concept or event that works. Sometimes they believe that it’s more difficult to participate than it is. Sometimes they’re not even clear on what the options are. With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to provide some examples of what other folks are doing.
Remember when I said it was feeling a bit like a Portland startup accelerator renaissance? Well, today upped the ante. Because Portland had two new accelerator announcements. R/GA announced the first Portland version of their series of brand-powered accelerators—like ones they’ve done with LA Dodgers and Snap—and Uncorked Studios announced a startup accelerator in collaboration with Autodesk and PIE.