Said someone, probably. And thanks to local investor and startup accelerator director Dylan Boyd, there is. It may be incomplete, but it’s likely far better than any list you’ve got going currently. Nearly 2000 folks and firms in the venture capital industry. All talking about what they had for lunch. And probably some VC stuff too.
Last Friday, the New York Times published a piece on the Zebra movement, a movement with Portland roots that highlights any number of things broken about the prevailing venture capital model and its pursuit of unicorns and calls for more rational and accessible means of funding startups.
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.
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.
We all know the myths. Scrappy founders creating something out of thin air, raising millions of dollars, becoming an overnight success, and exiting with wealth beyond their wildest dreams. And if you’re happy with those myths, then you can stop reading, right here. But if you’d like to hear the not-so-pretty-and-often-unhappy truth about being the founder of a venture funded startup, then you’re going to want to join Rand Fishkin when he swings by Portland to talk about his new book.
While still striving to hold true to my promise to Jive cofounder Bill Lynch—that I would stop using Silicon Florist as a platform to celebrate fundraising announcements—I feel obligated to take a little tangential liberty to share a developing theme I’m seeing… Because this isn’t a typical. Portland companies have announced more than $51 million in venture capital, this year. And it’s not even a month old.
In the startup world, there are some prevailing assumptions about venture capital and building companies. But just because those assumptions are prevailing doesn’t mean they’re correct. That’s why I always like resources that help demystify the world of venture capital and its impact on companies. Like Venture Deals by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson.
One of the challenges of the Portland startup community has always been momentum. We sometimes have great—at times even fantastic—startup news, like an exit or a major announcement. But more often than not, that happens as a solitary instance. And then it’s some time before the next major announcement. So it’s rare to have a day like today where both Torch 3D and Vacasa have major news.
Not so long ago, banks were a viable means of financing business. But as the terms of that financing became more inaccessible and onerous, we saw new models arise. One of those models was venture capital. Now—thanks in part to efforts like the Zebra movement—the VC model is beginning to show its own imperfections, inadequacies, and inaccessibility. So it only makes sense that folks would start thinking about new models for financing. One of those folks is Portland’s Luke Kanies, founder and former CEO of Puppet.