Stumptown Startups Blog

Nike to help startups succeed

Nike to help startups succeed
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I remember hitting the reset button on my odometer and feeling anxious. While I had run the distance around my parents house at least a dozen times times, I couldn't shake the curiosity: how far did I really run? So, I got in my car and drove the distance. The best I can tell you today is that it was somewhere between three and four-and-a-half miles. Somewhere around six if I took the long way.

Well, now I rely on the Nike+ Running app. I can now tell you exactly how far I ran (or show you on a map), how fast I ran and how often. Some woman with an accent even tells me I did a great job when I'm finished (who needs a running partner now?!).

But imagine the next step. Imagine sunglasses that allow you to race the ghost of your best self. Yep, that's in the works (more on that coming on KATU News soon). Startup companies are creating the next big thing in fitness and athletics and Nike plans to get in on the action by helping some succeed from an office in Northwest Portland.

The new program is called Nike+ Accelerator, powered by TechStars. It will give funding and guidance to ten startups for three months beginning March 18. TechStars will get six percent equity in the companies and Nike plans to deliver at least some of the ideas/products through its Nike+ and NikeFuel platforms.

The ten startups, chosen from applicants around the country, will work out of an office at 1714 NW Overton. Nike and TechStars announced the venue during a recruiting meeting Tuesday night.

The program is following a national trend for companies to work within city limits, despite the location of the Nike headquarters in a suburb. One Nike employee simply told me, "“That'’s where the energy is."”

According to Techstars, the first month will be intense mentoring (a.k.a. "mentor whiplash").  The second month will be focused on rebuilding the business and idea with the new knowledge from the first month. The third and final month will prepare the startups to explain themselves to the people that matter most: investors and consumers.

The program is not the only accelerator in Portland (see PIE, Portland Seed Fund and Upstart Labs, for example), but it is the newest. And it sounds pretty cool (do I need to mention the sunglasses with a ghost of you thing again?).

Hurry up startups! The deadline to apply is only a few days away: Sunday, February 3.