It’s dubbed Pitchlandia, but it’s more like a local version of Shark Tank than Portlandia. Portlanders pitch their best business ideas and the audience decides who walks away with cash.
Ultimately, we get to see the new startup companies emerging in Portland, and maybe use their products, while the startups get a little extra financial support.
The 20 finalists pitched their new companies and ideas for four minutes each Tuesday night at OMSI’s Empirical Theater. Ten of the highest scorers got about $3,000.
The top winner: GRASP.
Jordan Nickerson was born without a hand but could never afford the $5,000 prosthetic hands available now. He also didn’t like the look of a hook. Instead, he’s teamed up with other Portland entrepreneurs and created a 3D printer that produces a mechanical hand.
“It works a lot like a hot glue gun,” Nickerson said. “Within a work day, you can print a hand, and with multiple printers going, you can print multiple hands in a day.”
Instead of thousands of dollars, the GRASP hands cost about $250.
Another winner: Blueshift.
Founder Sam Beck created Bluetooth speakers that last six to eight hours but only need to charge for five minutes.
“When you wake up in the morning and your device isn't charged and you can't use it all day, that's no fun,” Beck said. “This way you don't have to plan ahead. It's always ready to go. You just need five minutes.”
The founders of BND, pronounced bend, also walked away with cash.
The company’s bendable, portable guitar stand lets musicians leave the heavy equipment at home.
Also a winner: YumOYum.
It’s an affordable personal chef-for-hire company, where customers can look for local chefs in their neighborhood and pay as low as $10 an hour.
Founder Manju Anandan said she thought of the idea after wanting an alternative to take-out as a pregnant, working mom.
“I was really struggling with every day meals,” Anandan said. “I tried to hire a personal chef, but it was very expensive for us. I couldn’t afford it every week.”
Congratulations to all the finalists and winners! Be sure to keep me updated when you make it big ... #StumptownStartups.