I remember when TechfestNW — then called the Portland Digital eXperience — barely had 75 people in the audience. Now they have 75 startups — and potentially more — attending the event to participate in PitchfestNW. And that’s not even the main event.
For all the optimism about the beginning of the new year, there’s also a fair amount of realism. And some well informed pessimism. Most notably, for the latter, surrounding the economic correction that we’ve all been anxiously awaiting as we watched the longest running bubble in startup history continue to gently waft along.
In my opinion, one of the most promising threads in the Portland startup community as of late has been the whole conversation about financing startups. Because not every startup is right for an equity based investment from venture capital. And even if they are, VC brings with it some pressures that can be less than positive for many companies and founders.
[UPDATE] Unfortunately, an unforeseen travel conflict for the speaker is going to require Design Museum Portland to reschedule this event.
In the cannabis industry — where it often seems that 90% of the dispensaries have chosen green as their main color — the case for imbuing the industry with more creativity and design talent is a compelling one. Because, as we’ve seen before, enabling consumers to differentiate among brands in a increasingly crowded marketplace may be the difference between success and failure — especially for startups.
It happens to the best of them. We start a Slack instance. And then it grows. And folks add channels with the best of intentions. And then some of those channels flourish. While others wither away in anonymity. Creating clutter. And impacting discovery. But worst of all, increasing frustration and a feeling of disconnectedness. Which is entirely counterproductive.
As we draw closer to the end of the year, it becomes a time to reassess things, measure your progress, and maybe, just maybe, chart a new course. For many folks, that means looking for a new job. And if you’re looking for a tech or startup job in Portland, there are a number of interesting opportunities.
PitchBlack is the premier local pitch event for black and brown founders. Built Oregon is striving to be the voice for consumer products in Oregon. So when you put the two together, you get an interesting night of pitches on consumer products from some of the most promising entrepreneurs in the state. And it’s all happening as part of the Built Up Festival.
With funds raising larger and larger rounds, the economics of cutting smaller checks for seed stage companies get more and more lopsided. And that leaves a gap for the youngest and most vulnerable of companies. That’s why it’s always nice to see folks raising funds specifically targeted at early stage companies. Like Seven Peaks just did.
For all of the hype around tech and tech startups, we seem to be sorely lacking in events that celebrate all of the amazing consumer products that call Oregon home. That was the motivation behind last year’s Built Up Festival. And it seems to have gone pretty well. So well, in fact, that it’s happening again, September 28-October 5, 2018.