The Startup Scene in Portland

We can talk about a startup wave forming in Los Angeles. After all, the name ‘Silicon Beach’ seems to be sticking. But can there also be a startup wave forming in Portland? If you follow the scene there, you’ll quickly learn about startups doing innovative work.

Simple is fielding a sleek mobile app that helps you budget and spend money intelligently. Cozy builds rental management software. The Cozy team relocated from San Francisco to Portland, because, in the words of CEO and co-founder Gino Zahnd, quoted in Business Insider, ‘We found that after we raised seed funding, we were having a hard time finding top-notch Ruby engineers. We decided to look in Portland, just because we knew of conferences they had there before, and we immediately found three people. Zahnd said the company gave new hires the choice between living in San Francisco or Portland. ‘100% chose Portland.’

It’s a quality of life decision for those who feel San Francisco’s startup scene has become too hard to break into, LA’s too consumerist, and New York simply unaffordable on a startup budget. Portland has become a place where startups feel at home.

Lars Topelmann is a Portland photographer who started to feel the limitations of what an iPhone can do to capture image and sound together. With the help of a Portland development team at gammapoint and a focus group of Portland State University marketing students, he created Takoo, which is now on the iTunes Store.

Design recognition is also coming to Portland-area startups. Rick Turoczy wrote in his blog Silicon Florist about a Portland startup called Panic receiving an Apple Design Award for Coda 2, a web code editor.

Other US cities, like Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Provo, and New York are hosting their own startup scenes, each with their own personality and success levels. Successful startup towns embrace the lean mentality, focus on change, and they are not resistant to innovation.

That all works for Portland. After all, Portland even has its own drone development startup. (You can’t officially be a startup town unless you are developing a drone app.) It’s called skyward.io.

Image courtesy of Sam Beebe via creative commons license.