Portland Business Incubators and Accelerators, Part 3 of 5: Technology
By Jacen Greene, Ames Fellow for Social Entrepreneurship at Portland State University
In part three of our week-long series on Portland-area business incubators and accelerators, we cover programs that cater to technology-based ventures, such as bioscience, medical devices, software development, and web and mobile applications. To see a complete list of our posts and the programs covered in each, please read the first post in the series.
Oregon Bioscience Incubator: Launching early next year, the recently announced Oregon Bioscience Incubator, operated by the Oregon Translational Research and Development Institute (OTRADI), will provide office space, labs, and equipment to member firms.
“OTRADI rapidly screens thousands of chemical compounds developed by Oregon research laboratories and companies to identify new potential drugs, speeding progress on bioscience discoveries, and bringing more economic development, grant funding and scientific talent to Oregon. OTRADI’s specialized high-throughput and high-content robotic equipment is unique in the Northwest, offering previously out-of-reach drug screening capabilities as well as the expertise necessary to analyze results and quickly identify the best products to commercialize.” — From the website.
Oregon Technology Business Center (OTBC): “We’ve worked with a broad range of tech ventures, from web/mobile to medical instrumentation and cleantech. Our focus is helping very early-stage tech startups, typically 2 or 3 people, pre-revenue and pre-investment. Typically that means helping them validate the market need and, eventually, helping them get investor ready.”
“What makes OTBC unique is that we provide a combination of:
- Office space
- Workshops and seminars
- Online courses for entrepreneurs
It’s easy for startups to find office space, and possibly even office space with some mentoring, but OTBC is unique in offering all of the above.” — Steve Morris, Executive Director.
Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE): provides office space, mentoring, investor exposure, and investment in exchange for a small equity stake. “PIE focuses on teams first and ideas second. We’re specifically attracted to technology companies that can be incredibly efficient with capital and who have the potential to scale rapidly. Thanks to our growing mentor network and the companies we count among our alums, PIE boasts a depth of expertise in platforms for mobile and Web development. So we tend to gravitate to startups that are building platforms that enable others to develop products and solutions.”
“If I had to pick one thing that sets PIE apart from other accelerators in town, it would be our relationship with Wieden+Kennedy. Having exposure to the creative talent here in Portland — as well as their global network of talent — have proven to be a valuable asset for our startups, from mentoring to hands-on effort.” — Rick Turoczy, General Manager.
Portland Seed Fund: “We select entrepreneurs with a great idea and the passion and grit to see it through. We invest in ‘classes’ of 6-8 entrepreneurs at a time, start them with an initial $25,000 investment, and see what they do in 90 days. We surround them with mentors, subject matter experts and a peer group of entrepreneurs that understand their challenges and share their successes. We reserve follow-on capital for top performers and introduce them to other funders, partners and acquirers. We repeat the cycle every six months, resulting in ~25 investments every two years.”
“We are sector-agnostic in our investments and favor capital-efficient, highly-scalable companies with high-growth potential. We passionately believe that the Portland, Oregon region is the best place to build entrepreneurial companies and proud of our role seeding the best growth companies efficiently and effectively.” — From the website.
Portland Startup Weekend: Over 54 hours, form a multi-talented group to design and build a web or mobile application with the potential to become a full business. “All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54-hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.”
Portland Startup Weekend also offers Startup Weekend NEXT, an “intensive in-person, mentorship-driven 3 week follow-on course to Startup Weekend” in partnership with Steve Blank , Udacity, TechStars and Startup America. — From the website.
Portland State Business Accelerator (PSBA): the Accelerator provides office and lab space for science and technology startups, as well as a menu of services including turn-key affordable work space; conference room access; monthly CEO meetings and topic-related brown bags, plus ready information on business basics, raising funds and managing people. The Accelerator is also a connection point to PSU resources, linking companies to research and development capabilities of university faculty and the talent and energy of student project teams. Informal socials, pitch practice and office hours by skilled mentors and investors round out the offerings. — From the website.
Upstart Labs: Provides a range of services to web and mobile startups for a fee, equity stake, or combination of both. “Types of ventures we consider our core focus/have the most experience working with:
- Software as a service
- Analytics and big data
- Apps for the enterprise
- Web apps
- IOS (iPhone and iPad) apps”
“What makes us unique:
- Investment is applied directly to services from a team of startup experts
- Emphasis on services truly accelerates a startup’s velocity
- Startups have intensive mentoring across several business functions (operations, finance, sales, design, development, marketing)
- Fewer startups mean more individual attention for each business”
— Greg Rau, Founder.