Startups hoping Portland's seed fund helps them grow

Startups hoping Portland's seed fund helps them grow

PORTLAND, Ore. – The money local startups receive from the Portland Seed Fund can mean the difference between success and failure and the economic impact they bring.

Some of the money that they get comes from taxpayers. The Portland Seed Fund is a combination of public and private money that is supposed to translate into hundreds of local jobs over the next several years.

Each company gets an initial $25,000 investment and some guidance.

Paola Moretto, co-founder of Cloudy Days, hopes the Portland Seed Fund can help grow her business, which helps other organizations ensure their websites are ready for high traffic. She and her co-founder started in the spring and applied to the fund Sunday.

"It's a lot of trial and error," she said Monday. "So having somebody that could guide you through that process – (can) accelerate the process dramatically."

Tellagence has already found success with the program and was one of 26 companies chosen for seed money in the last year and a half.

"It's hard to find that first batch of money," said Matt Hixson, co-founder of Tellagence.

The capital and the mentoring have helped mold an operation about to double in size. Hixson plans to hire five more employees, up from six.

And just like the conversation his company tracks on social media isn't stopping, neither is he.

"As big an impact Google had on the Internet, we could have on social media," Hixson said.

It's an in-progress success story Moretto and her technology startup, Cloudy Days, hopes to emulate.

"It's a very exciting process," she said.

The companies do not have to pay back the money from the Portland Seed Fund, but the idea is that it's stimulating the local economy.

Even out-of-state companies are applying with plans to move to Portland if they're chosen.

So far, the Portland Seed Fund says it's helped create more than 125 jobs.

The deadline for companies to apply to the Portland Seed Fund is midnight Monday.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to Cloudy Days as a coffee shop start-up. The company helps clients with cloud computing needs. We apologize for the error.