An initiative to put Portland on the map as a player is underway. In a controversial move, they are moving their focus from spreading services across all businesses to focus on the Top 100. This is sort of like dropping the ambition bomb on ourselves. The hoped for outcome is that we have more and larger success stories in our coveted 3 industries (technology, beer, spirits).
A follow-up meeting was held yesterday at Puppet Labs to discuss the current state of affairs. I was there mostly for the free booze, but have been roused from my comfortable day job and searching for the next thing. It was an interesting hodge-podge of speakers. Nitin Khanna started it out with his outline of how he feels the city needs to approach mentoring and supporting the strongest companies. He thinks the outcome is that we’ll have more local angel investors and mentors if we grow great companies.
I wasn’t always aware of who was speaking, but the PCC was well-represented. One face I recognized from the recent StartupWeekend was Angela Jackson from the Portland Seed Fund. She was well-received and well-loved, so somehow she’s a player here. I was sort of appalled, coming from SF, that when they announced a meager 2 Million dollars to work with the whole room broke out in cheers. That’s big money here? People were talking about how founders spend lots of their time looking for funding in the 10k to 25k range! How can you start a company when there is NO money coming around?! It’s bittersweet to watch. There’s a lot of excitement and strategy, but so far there’s no money here in Portland.
One of the best parts of last night was getting acquainted with all of these meta groups that are all rallying around a new startup culture in Portland. Here are some of the names:
Calendars to follow: