We’ve seen it time and time again. The next big thing. Web, open source, cloud, mobile… And time and time again, Portland, with its early adopter culture, has been at the forefront of nascent industries, patiently waiting for their markets to form. I’ve been waiting to see what the next big thing might be. And with today’s news from RealWear, I’m inclined to think augmented reality may be the next industry that Portland is known for.
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.
In the early days of any new technology, there is always the challenge of compatibility. As various file formats, schemas, and structures spring to life, interoperability is often the last thing to consider. So it’s always nice to see this sort of thing happening sooner rather than later. Like Portland startup The Wild enabling folks to work with SketchUp files within The Wild VR environment.
If you’ve talked to me about markets that have a lot of potential in Portland, we’ve no doubt discussed reality of some flavor or another. Virtual, Augmented, Immersive, Experiential… whatever you want to call it, folks in Portland have been exploring creating content with those technologies for years. And now, XR is inspiring a new crop of products in town that enable folks to create that content more easily.
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.
Looks like we have another acquisition to talk about today. Portland startup Provata Health has been acquired by StayWell, a division of healthcare giant Merck.
So by now, you’ve all likely heard the news that AutoDesk is moving their Lake Oswego office to the Burnside Bridgehead in the Central Eastside Industrial District. That has prompted any number of folks to say to me, “Wait. AutoDesk has a Lake Oswego office?” But it also has a lot of folks asking for more details about AutoDesk and what they do. And now there’s an event to help answer some of those questions.
One of the things that has defined the maturity of the Portland startup community has been a notable lack of serial founders, folks who have had the experience of building and exiting from a company who then take the opportunity to build their next company. Slowly but surely, that’s starting to change. Take, for example, Portland startup Streem.
It’s no secret that Portland likes its shiny new technology. We’re among the earliest of adopters and the most curious of hobbyists with all sorts of newfangled stuff. And that means that once a technology enters the popular lexicon, we tend to be fairly well phrased in its applications and potential. So when it comes to technology like Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Artificial Intelligence, folks in Portland have a great deal to say. And they’ll be doing exactly that during the next Portland Business Journal Power Breakfast.
It’s no secret that the Portland startup community has more than its fair share of virtual reality and augmented reality activity. But it’s only going to be a truly interesting, compelling, and vibrant with a variety of voices and experiences. That’s why it’s awesome to see folks like Kerri Lynne Thorp who are working to ensure that everyone feels welcome in this burgeoning community.