One of the most successful early stage startups in Portland isn’t actually in Portland. It’s not even in Oregon. But it is just across the river in Vancouver, Washington. So it’s definitely part of our community. That startup is Hubb. And they just moved into a new space.
I’m a huge fan of Brad Feld’s Startup Communities. (Well worth the read or listen, if you haven’t already. I reread it every year.) And with it, the concept of “leaders and feeders.” That’s the idea that there should be folks who lead the startup community — entrepreneurs — and those that feed the startup community — like government — but don’t attempt to lead. Most startup communities I visit have plenty potential leaders but a dearth of potential feeders. That’s why seeing a reboot of legislation like the bipartisan Startup Act (which, in itself, was a reboot of a previous effort) is heartening. But it’s only a small step forward.
As a startup, you have to make best use of your time — your most limited and valuable resource. And when you’re making products that require partners to make it into the hands of your customers, you’re even more strapped for time. Like consumer products. That needs often needs shelves or marketplaces to get in front of their consumers. That’s why companies like Parsnip are super interesting.
I love seeing Koan starting to get more engaged in the Portland startup community. First, they’ve been out and about running workshops designed to help companies better understand management through Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) — in a really grassroots and Portlandy way. And now? They’ve signed on Portland startup juggernaut Vacasa as a client.
You’ve heard me talk about the growing prevalence of regional offices as a compelling and growing part of the Portland startup community. To date, many of these offices — which often rival or fully eclipse (Intel) full fledged Portland companies in size — have played the role of employers, event hosts, and sponsors for the community, as a whole. And that’s a trend that I hope to see continue.
While we’ve all been geeking out about VR for a while now, it’s not always easy to understand the practical and needed applications of that technology. Until we see them. And then we’re like “Ohhhhhhh. Yeah. That makes sense.” Like the work Portland startup The Wild did with adidas and the HTC Vive.
You’ve no doubt heard about Sightbox — or maybe seen their logo on the Portland Timbers jerseys. They’re the Portland startup that was successfully acquired by Johnson & Johnson. An acquisition that made any number of local investors’ IRR look pretty darn good. Now, they’ve got a renewed focused on being an active participant in the Portland startup community. And the first step? Showing you where they work.
It’s debatable whether this is fortunate or not, but whatever the case, the term “startup” is inextricably linked to technology companies. Even though any type of company that has the potential to be capital efficient and scale quickly can technically, ahem, be a startups. So I try to share other startups from outside the realm of tech.
Do you want procrastinators? Do ya? Because this is how you get procrastinators… TechfestNW was kind enough to open a second application period for PitchfestNW, their annual startup pitch competition, which recently closed. Now, they’ve announced the selections from that batch. But guess what? You can still apply.
In the world of startup accelerators, there are two juggernauts: Y Combinator and Techstars. So I’m always happy to hear when a local company makes it into one of those programs. Especially when it’s the original Techstars in Boulder, which — at least in my mind — carries with it an additional prestige. And that’s where Bend startup LuDela will be spending a three-month stint.