Why we’re extending the PIE application period until August 9, 2020

Rick Turoczy
Portland Incubator Experiment
3 min readJul 30, 2020


Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

We realize that referring to what we’ve all been going through as “a weird and unusual time” is an understatement. And we also realize that many folks in our startup community have a number of other compounding stressors during this time.

It’s not just a global pandemic weighing on them. It’s any number of other things. Some new. Some centuries in the making. It’s unimaginable combinations of systemic racism, their lived experience, their health, their family situations… the list goes on and on.

Were this a different time, we’d usually say something along the lines of “We get procrastination. And that founders are very busy…” But this isn’t just typical procrastination. This isn’t just forgetting a deadline.

This time, it’s different.

We’re hearing from a number of founders — founders with whom we would love to work — about the heaviness in the startup community right now. And in the world. People are dealing with a lot. And that “a lot” is a lot more important than considering applying to PIE.

And because of all that, deadlines seem less important. Motivation is lacking in ways it hasn’t before. And “Why bother?” seems to be doing its best to outweigh any and all potential benefit. No matter how hypothetically promising it could be.

Reality is outweighing founder optimism. And that is always concerning.

Admittedly, it’s not unlike PIE to extend our application period a bit. We’ve done it practically every year. And honestly, if we’re being completely transparent, part of our decision to extend applications has often been motivated by a desire to report a higher number of applicants. It’s a vanity metric. And one which folks have used to judge the perceived validity of our program for more than a decade.

But we get it. And we play into it. It is what it is.

But this time… our application numbers are actually ahead of what they usually are at this point in the process. Things just feel really different. People aren’t nervous about applying. They’re nervous about everything. They’re scared. People don’t just have questions about the program. They have questions about life. And people aren’t merely fussing with their wording. They’re figuring out how to survive.

So this time, PIE has decided that it is absolutely necessary to give people more time to complete their applications. Not for vanity metrics. Not to juice our numbers. Not because people waited until the last minute. But because the feedback we’ve been receiving from our community is that folks truly and absolutely need more time.

Strange and unusual times often call for strange and unusual measures. But sometimes, they simply call for something exceedingly familiar. And hopefully, calming. Like PIE extending its application deadline.

PIE applications — be they for PIE, PIE Shop, or PIE Consumer — are now due by 11:59PM Pacific, August 9, 2020. You are welcome to either complete our written application or simply upload a pitch deck or one pager.

We know an extra week isn’t much. But from our experience, we do know that founders can accomplish an awful lot in 168 hours. So we hope that this, in some small way, inspires you to share what you’re building with us.

In closing, we hope that you and yours are safe and healthy during this time. We hope that this extension gives you a brief respite from at least one point of stress. We hope it gives you some breathing room to complete your thoughts. But most of all, we hope it truly exemplifies the thing that PIE holds most dear. That we are first and foremost about founders. And founders as people. With lives and families and friends outside of their startup pursuits. And we want you to know that we’re here to help and support you however we can.

We look forward to learning more about you and your company.

Originally published at http://blog.piepdx.com on July 30, 2020.



Rick Turoczy
Portland Incubator Experiment

More than mildly obsessed with connecting dots in the Portland, Oregon, startup community. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cj98mr_wUA0