#TFNW Update: PitchFestNW Accepted Startups From Across the Globe
TechFestNW started as a way to celebrate the diversity and quality of the tech community in Portland, but has blossomed into a tech festival that has become an international hub within the startup community- especially with the addition of PitchFestNW, a startup pitch competition.
PitchFestNW is the conference-within-a-conference devoted specifically to the startup ecosystem. While the TechFestNW conference happens upstairs in the main hall with a collection of top-tier speakers (including Director of Innovation at Nike Shahab Salemy and YouTube star Flula Borg), dozens of startups will be workshopping their pitch decks and getting advice from an invited group of investors and venture capitalists. From as close as the Pearl District to as far as Singapore, this conference-within-a-conferencee festival has now fully embraced the international tech entrepreneur scene and is bringing it to the Portland Art Museum for two days of pitching, networking, startup-building, and of course, that Portland vibe.
With more companies applying this year to attend, up 24% from the previous year, PitchfestNW has accepted a diverse group of companies into the program that incorporate this year’s four main themes: AI/Robotics, Virtual Reality, Lifestyle Tech, and Digital Storytelling.
From just a cursory look at some of the accepted companies, the diversity of technology shows that there are needs to be fulfilled within new emerging markets. “Market creators with disruptive tech is the sweet spot I am looking for,” says Diane Fraiman, one of the investors participating on the judging panel at PitchFestNW. “Though I’m excited to see the new opportunities within machine learning and analytics, I’m here to meet new companies working within the B to B market.”
One such company, Medifies, is working to create “virtual waiting rooms” for hospitals to facilitate better communication between hospital staff and patient support. Portland-made Scout Military has created an app and marketplace that helps veterans, servicemen, and their dependents find military discounts. Moondust, based in New York City, is an app that helps you solidify the people you meet by creating a exchange at the tap of a button, and then displayed on a timeline that shows when and where they occurred, highlighting not only who you met but the context of that original meeting. Out of Dallas, Texas, JackAI has the mission to create a personal 24/7 assistant that’s available everywhere, supporting you with daily decisions and tasks in every area of your home, on all of your devices.
Fraiman, partner at Voyager Capital, speaks to the importance of “promoting our ecosystem to the outside world. That is a priority for me.”
This year, only 55.56% of applicants are from the Pacific Northwest, which speaks to how Portland is becoming a more robust tech hub in recent years. Eleven companies that applied have their base of operations outside of the continental United States.
Lionrock Industries, a battery innovation company, is based in Hong Kong. uHoo uses data on indoor air quality to bring health, safety and energy savings for commercial and residential spaces, is built in Singapore. Both are coming to learn and network with the local tech and venture capital community.
Here is a breakdown of companies accepted to the 2017 Pitchfest NW:
47% of applied startups are in the Launch/Seed Stage (looking for $500K-$3 million, early revenue, validating market sales process)
37% of applied startups are in the Concept Stage (looking for 0-$500K, pre-revenue with prototype)
16% of applied startups are in the Growth Stage ($3 million-$8million, focus on go to market)
The top three market categories of applied startups: HealthTech, IoT (Internet of Things), SaaS (Software as a service)