Tag: Startup

Portland Economic Development Strategy passes, City formally recognizes open source, mobile, coworking, and startup communities

Aside from being the first publicly recognized Portland economic development strategy in 15 years, it’s the first time that Portland has formally recognized the open source, mobile, coworking, and startup community.

[HTML2]While the news coming out of yesterday’s Portland City Council meeting will likely be mired in heated he-said she-said debates about the fate of the 39th Avenue / Cesar Chavez hoopla, something very important happened late in the day: Portland’s City Council unanimously passed the Portland Economic Development Strategy.

Why is this so momentous? Well, aside from being the first publicly recognized economic strategy for Portland in 15 years, it’s the first time that Portland has formally recognized the open source, mobile, coworking, and startup community. And that’s a big step forward. As Eva Schweber says, we should be proud. Read More

REMINDER: Find the cofounder of your dreams with OTBC startup speed dating

This Saturday the folks at the OTBC will be hosting another round of cofounder speed dating. Starting at 1:00 PM, the session is designed to help like minded startup types find one another in hopes of making their startup dreams a reality.

Are you looking for that special someone? Someone to help fill those lonely hours? Someone who complements your personality and skills? Someone who can help you get that startup from vision to reality?

Well, get ready to meet Mr. and/or Mrs. Right Entrepreneur, my friend. OTBC startup speed dating is back. Read More

REMINDER: Your side project or startup effing rocks

So, there are you are. Sitting there banging away on some code. Or working out your strategy for how you’re going to move that side project along just a little bit more. Or just trying to tweak that one blog post a little more.

And everyone’s bitching about the economy. Or how this is a bad time to do anything “risky.” Or about the time you’re wasting. Or how you should be doing something else.

But you know this is the right thing to do. And you know what? You’re right. And you will get there. Read More

LUNARR in retrograde: After several beta products, startup decides to close up shop

I always hate to report on this stuff, but sometimes you just have to. Portland-based LUNARR, one of the first companies to come out of stealth mode after I started Silicon Florist, has decided to close its doors.

Last Thursday, users of LUNARR’s Elements and Themes products received the following notice: Read More

Positive press: The Oregonian points to the potential the startup community holds

Hang in there, you entrepreneurial type you. You’re making progress. I know it. You know it. And now, other folks are starting to take notice. Like The Oregonian.

In a recent article entitled “Oregon’s high-tech better off now than in dot-com bust” business and tech reporter Mike Rogoway—one of the mainstream media folks in Portland who clearly “gets it”—had the following to offer about the under the radar startup scene: Read More

Startup stimulus: EasyStreet offers free services for Oregon entrepreneurs

EasyStreetWe all know that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. But what may not be as obvious is that when the going gets tough, the really super awesome tough realize that other folks need some help. And entrepreneurs reach out to help their would-be peers—especially here in the Silicon Forest.

That’s exactly what’s happening with Beaverton-based EasyStreet, one of the original Internet providers here in town. Today, they announced that they’re stepping up to help other startups during these less than satisfactory economic times with their “EasyStreet Stimulus Package for Entrepreneurs.”

Are you an innovator? Entrepreneur? Head of a skunkworks project inside an established enterprise? Let EasyStreet giving innovation a jump-start with free data center and Internet services for qualified Oregon startups through September 30, 2009.

What’s that? Free hosting and email accounts?

EasyStreet Stimulus Program

But wait. There’s more. Entrepreneurs can also qualify for a free Clear Wireless modem thingamajig if they sign a two year Wi-MAX aggreement.

Best of all? No binding contracts. Well, from EasyStreet, anyway.

“Tough times are great times for entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs are great for the Oregon economy,” said EasyStreet President & CEO, Rich Bader in announcing the stimulus program. “As the economic downturn was being felt here earlier this year, we asked, ‘What can EasyStreet do to best help boost innovation here in Oregon?’”

How does an entrepreneur qualify? All you have to do is apply through one of the partnering organizations that are helping EasyStreet promote the stimulus package.

And they’re names we all know. Well mostly anyway. I mean, one organization just changed its name, so you might not know them. But you know them. If you know what I mean.

What’s that? Oh sorry. Where are my manners?

The partnering organizations include Oregon Entrepreneurs Network OEN, Oregon Technology Business Center (OTBC), Portland State Business Accelerator (PSBA), Software Association of Oregon (SAO), andTechAmerica Oregon Council (formerly AeA).

So maybe you’re a startup looking to save a little cash. Or maybe you’ve been forced to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams a little more quickly than you expected. Or maybe you simply just need that little push to get your project rolling. Whatever the case, EasyStreet is waiting to help.

Now, you have absolutely no excuse to avoid starting that project. You know the one. The timing is right. And as our old Portland friend Tom Peterson used to say “Free is a very good price.”

For more information, see the EasyStreet Stimulus Package for Entrepreneurs.

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Startup Now Oregon form is still up? What gives?

Oregon loveOkay okay. I’ll admit, it may look like I’m crying wolf.

But I got a call late last night that we had some more breathing room to fill out the Startup Now Oregon form.

You know the one. The one that will convince the Treasurer for the State of Oregon that we have a ton of viable startups in the area—startups that deserve access to state managed funds.

While we’ve had a bunch of people take a moment to fill out the form—more than 60 at last count—we’d still like to see some more.

What’s more important is that I still don’t see your idea on there. Yes, you. Procrastinator. You know who you are. Don’t make me call you out.

Even if you don’t want, need, or like the idea of the money, it’s still important to make your voice heard. Why? So that the powers that be in Oregon understand what we’ve got going here. Because it’s something special. And it deserves their support.

Remember, geeky or not. Codified or not. Oregon-based or willing to become Oregon-based. Come one, come all.

I’m not putting any deadlines on this, but I’ll likely be pulling the form down within the next few days.

Don’t make me beg—or continue to whine. It’s not pretty. Fill out the form.

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REMINDER: Oregon startup? Want to be? Interested in $250k funding? Chime in

Welcome to the “How many questions can I ask in one headline?” edition of Silicon Florist.

Just a reminder that the submission form for “Startup Now” will close today at 11:59 PM.

How about you take a few seconds to provide some details about one, two, or 12 of your current side projects? Take a moment to reflect on what you could do with $250,000 in the next year, to help bring your product or idea to fruition.

Don’t think you’re worthy? Not interested in getting funding? I’d still encourage you to take a few moments to respond. Really, what could it hurt?

The point is this: rising water floats all boats. And our state treasurer needs convincing that we have a viable entrepreneurial environment filled with viable startups just waiting to take form. What’s more, if these folks can pull off putting together a $100 million fund for Oregon startups, it’s going to help all of us.

Come to think of it, I don’t even care if you live in Oregon right now. If you’d be willing to relocate to Oregon to start your business, you’re more than welcome to fill out the form, as well.

I’m looking forward to seeing you get some money to bring that idea to fruition. And if we can all work together to help the state understand the, um, state of our startup scene, it just might happen.

More than 50 startups—in addition to those who presented at the event—have provided details on how they would reinvest $250,000 in funding in Oregon over the next year. Why haven’t you?

How would you use that money? Complete the Startup Now form.

Mugasha selected for SXSW Accelerator

MugashaMugasha—the DJ-set splitting startup founded during Portland Startup Weekend—has been selected to participate in the Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator at SXSW. They are the only Northwest company to make the cut.

SXSW is a big stage for the young company. With the event’s mix of music and technology, it’s sure to give Mugasha access to some noted movers and shakers who will no doubt appreciate the service and its capabilities.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Mugasha has stepped into the limelight. (Akshay Dodeja of Mugasha took the chance to speak with Robert Scoble, last year, and I got the chance to profile them on ReadWriteWeb.) But SXSW marks Mugasha’s first chance to demo their private beta to a large group of people outside the immediate Portland tech scene:

Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator is the newest addition to the SXSW Interactive schedule of activities. Scheduled Monday, March 16 at the Downtown Austin Hilton, the event spotlights some of the web’s most exciting new innovations, enabling the entrepreneurial visionaries behind these new products to demo their creations in front of a live audience of industry professionals and technology trend-setters.

It’s great to see Mugasha—and by association, Portland—getting this sort of recognition.

Even if you’re not going to SXSW, you should give Mugasha a spin—especially if you like electronica. What’s Mugasha do? Basically, it parses DJ set podcasts—usually one long multi-hour track with no song info—into separate song tracks, allowing user to play the songs they want to play and actually know which tunes they’re playing.

For more information or to get an invite to the private beta, visit Mugasha.

Portland Ten: Incubating 10 $1 million startups by 2010

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.

Carolynn writes:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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