Stumptown Startups Blog

Vizcards offer new way to be more visible online

Vizcards offer new way to be more visible online

Ever get that feeling you’re just not good enough on social media?

We all know by now that just signing up for the big sites like Twitter and Facebook doesn’t impress potential followers or future employers. You have to take it to the next level.

You’re supposed to be fun and professional, witty and informative - all at the same time.

Portland startup Vizify, which offers a quick and free way to create an interactive, online slideshow about your life, is now offering what the company says could be a cure to social media writer’s block: vizcards.

Nike, TechStars bring 10 tech companies under their wing

Nike, TechStars bring 10 tech companies under their wing
Image courtesy nikeaccelerator.com

There are few other companies a fitness or athletics startup would want to be associated with as much as Nike. Now, ten are getting the chance.

The startups, which were announced this afternoon, are moving in today to a new, shared office space. It means the next cool gadget or app from the prestigious brand could come not from its Beaverton headquarters, but rather from the brains and sweat of people working out of Northwest Portland for the next few months. The office space is located at 1714 NW Overton.

The next big thing? Portland Seed Fund chooses next round of startups

The next big thing? Portland Seed Fund chooses next round of startups

Since starting my #StumptownStartups blog here at KATU, I've taken a special interest in the Portland Seed Fund

As a journalist reaching out to the average TV viewer, the 90 day "business boot camp" for startups stands out because it uses a combination of private and public money (thanks to the state of Oregon and cities of Portland and Hillsboro).

So, Oregonians, here is the first public list for the next "class" of startups that you are helping along.  The idea is that they'll find success and then bring jobs, tax revenue and recognition to the local area.

Which do you think will be the next big thing?

A Portlander's take on Austin's SXSW Interactive

As Portland startup mentors, hopefuls and success stories return home from a busy, and I would imagine pretty fun, few days in Austin, Texas for South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW), I find myself intrigued and a little jealous that I wasn’t there. 

But thankfully, my co-worker got to go.

Lucid Energy first in U.S. to get investments through Israeli crowdfunding site

Lucid Energy first in U.S. to get investments through Israeli crowdfunding site
Courtesy: Lucid Energy

World collaboration just has a nice ring to it. Well, here’s more proof that innovation, creation and investing are more important than country lines or language barriers. 

Lucid Energy, a Portland-based startup I wrote about in January that is doing a pilot project to put turbines in the city's main drinking water pipe and create clean energy, is the first U.S. company to receive funding from a new crowdfunding platform based in Israel, OurCrowd.
 

PIE anyone? Startup accelerator accepts applications next week

PIE anyone? Startup accelerator accepts applications next week

Heads up: you may have more than your taxes to turn in by April 15.  That’s also the deadline for applications to the Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE)

The startup accelerator is a collaboration of people and organizations that provide space, funding and guidance to a group of aspiring businesses over a three month period.  PIE has a proven track record with alumni like Urban Airship and Simple.

Libraries becoming startup accelerators? It's happening.

Libraries becoming startup accelerators? It's happening.
Multnomah County Library.

We all know the public library can be a great resource and physical space for job seekers, but what about for job creators?  

A friend and co-worker sent me this recent article that got me thinking: maybe the Multnomah County Library could benefit from helping startups just as much as the startups it could help.

Fun stuff near you? There's an app for that...

Fun stuff near you? There's an app for that... »Play Video

Fear not – you won’t miss out on any local discounts or specials with a new smart phone app launching this week in Portland.  It’s called FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) Sonar.

It uses GPS technology to notify you on your phone about discounts and happenings at the places you’re near at any particular time.  You have control over what businesses you allow so you aren’t overwhelmed with pop-ups. So far, six businesses have signed on to be included in the FOMO app.

Here's how it works: When you're in the area of a particular bar, you'll get notifications for what's happening at that bar. Certain bars and restaurants offer deals for discounted or free items if you are signed up for the app.

City hopes to lure startups with money and office space

City hopes to lure startups with money and office space
Image from producerowpdx.com

With a new mayor in town reevaluating each area of the budget, I had questions about the city’s future financial support for local startups.

Those questions would be part of a series I’m working on about the Portland Seed Fund, which gets about half its funding from public money (Portland, Hillsboro and the state of Oregon). It then provides funding and mentoring to several new startups twice a year. I wanted to know if new Mayor Charlie Hales would continue to back it.

Well, it seems the city isn’t just supporting that startup program, it’s also starting its own.

New CEO helps GigaPan picture bright future

New CEO helps GigaPan picture bright future
Josh Friedman

The team at local startup GigaPan has painted a pretty nice picture over the last few years.

According to a press release, the company creating “interactive gigapixel imaging technology” is experiencing record growth and has partnered with companies like CNN and National Geographic. It has even gotten a feature here on KATU (obviously the most important media). 

But zoom in to the man at the helm and you’ll find someone new: Josh Friedman is taking over as CEO.

Friedman replaces the company’s founder, Henry Hillman Jr., who served as the interim CEO and founded the company in 2008.

He points to Friedman’s hire as a way to take GigaPan to the next level.

New partnership to benefit early-stage startups

There is some good news for early-stage startups in Portland.

Today the startup incubator Upstart Labs announced a partnership with Portland-based private equity firm Rogue Venture Partners. Rogue Venture Partners intentionally invests in Oregon-based companies and has worked with accelerators like PIE and Portland Seed Fund.

Race a ghost of yourself with upcoming product from Portland startup

Race a ghost of yourself with upcoming product from Portland startup »Play Video
Want to race yourself? This is what you'll see in the glasses. (Image courtesy OnTheGo Platforms)

Having trouble finding a running partner?  Look to race yourself, instead. 

A tool coming out by Christmas this year will help you do just that, according to Portland startup OnTheGo Platforms. The founders are building software and applications for the Vuzix Smart Glasses.

“It records your route, time and distance, then you race that recorded route,” explained founder Ryan Fink.  “When you start to fall behind, you'll see a 3D avatar start to run out and run exactly where you ran from the time before.”

Portland's 'Urban Airship' lands $25 million in new funding

Portland's 'Urban Airship' lands $25 million in new funding
Scott Kveton's Urban Airship has landed another $25 million, bringing its total venture capital investment to $46.6 million in three years. (Photo by Cathy Cheney, Portland Business Journal)

There are some people smiling over at Portland tech startup Urban Airship this week; the software developer just landed $25 million in new funding.

As our partners at the Portland Business Journal reported, the money will be used to help the company expand internationally. You can read more about the deal in the Business Journal report.

Super Bowl Sunday is almost here!

Super Bowl Sunday is almost here!
Flickr/Creative Commons Photo: Triple Tri

Food, drinks, and football.  That's all we need on Super Bowl Sunday, right?.  Oh, and it’s the only day of the year we actually want to see commercials, too.

But I’m thinking our day can be made better.  Come on Portland-area startups: what can you offer to make Beyoncé’s half-time show that much better for me?  I want your suggestions!

Nike to help startups succeed

Nike to help startups succeed
Image courtesy nikeaccelerator.com

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.