A sampling of PIE in 2016
It’s that time of year. You know, that time when you’re supposed to take a moment to reflect on your organization and its accomplishments over the past year? Or maybe it’s more that your team has been so heads-down-busily-quiet over the last few months that you want folks to know what you’ve been doing. And your team hasn’t been publishing as much as you thought they would. Because they’ve been working on any number of things…
So without further ado, let’s get to it. Here’s what happened with PIE in 2016:
First and foremost, PIE made a strategic change to its mission in 2016. In an effort to better scale our offerings and help even more startups, we transitioned our efforts from working directly with a handful of companies each year to working, instead, with other accelerator programs. This move enabled us to scale PIE more effectively and experiment with new models for helping founders, all while having exponentially more impact on a wider variety of people, companies, and organizations in our region. Programs with whom we had the opportunity to collaborate in 2016 included CENTRL Office, the Chehalem Valley Innovation Accelerator, Daimler SPIN, Oregon Story Board, and Startup PDX Challenge, among others.
Getting the chance to work with these amazing accelerator programs — coupled with a consistent influx of questions from other countries, cities, and corporations about how PIE functioned — inspired us to make our knowledge of startups and accelerator programs even more accessible. With that inspiration, we began efforts on the PIE Cookbook, an open source project designed to share all of the things we’ve learned over nearly a decade of sitting at the intersection of corporations and startups.
In an attempt to gauge the startup community’s interest in the PIE Cookbook concept, we launched a Kickstarter campaign with the hopes of validating a few of our assumptions. The result? We were pleasantly overwhelmed by the support of more than 600 folks from around the world who embraced the concept… and clearly liked our socks.
Following the end of the campaign and the fulfillment of our backer rewards, we spent the remainder of 2016 building the PIE Cookbook out in the open. From outline to chunks of text, we continue to work on the documentation as it takes form, week after week, in an attempt to document all of our learnings. The community gets to follow along with every typo, bad pun, and run-on sentence in real time, blemishes and all.
But PIE isn’t PIE without the incredible Portland startup community. So we tried to do our fair share there, as well. We engaged in hundreds of conversations with wouldbe founders, new startups, folks relocating to Portland, investors, and groups who were interested in better supporting the startup community as a whole. Some specific examples:
- At the beginning of the year, we again led the organizing of Portland Startup Week which boasted nearly 100 events around the city (and we’re organizing it again in 2017 if you’re interested in sponsoring or hosting an event).
- We partnered with Built Oregon and CENTRL Office to launch Portland Community Hour[s], a series of gatherings designed to connect the startup dots in our community — beyond purely tech pursuits — in the hopes of breaking down the silos that separate the many talented, creative, and passionate founders in the Rose City.
- When we learned that Intel was going to be laying off a significant number of local employees, we saw it as an opportunity for startups to find the talent they needed. So we threw together an impromptu job fair with the help the Falcon Building and were able to help hundreds of people explore options for new careers.
But for all of that, PIE remains, at its core (filling…?), a family of amazing mentors and alums with whom we remain in close contact. Among the highlights of the year in the PIE family were:
- The acquisitions of alums Athletepath and Little Bird.
- We experienced an equally important milestone when alum Vadio announced a major deal with Shazam.
- We were happy to see PIE alums struck by new inspiration, motivating them to move on from their original pursuits to form wholly new companies in our community, like some of the original folks from PIE alum Cloudability who went on to found Reflect, itself a Techstars Seattle alum.
- And perhaps most proudly, we were in awe as a group of folks from the PIE family took it upon themselves to rethink the way businesses and the city could interact to solve real problems in Portland with the formation of PICOC.
So there you have it. Those are just a few of the things that PIE managed to accomplish in 2016, all thanks to our amazing community.
And we’re sorry for being so quiet. We’ll work to change that in 2017.
Originally published at blog.piepdx.com on January 5, 2017.