At their software industry summit, after a long series of surveys, the takeaway was that people in Portland value quality of life over making more money. That's great, but that's not what's going to drive serious entrepreneurs to Portland. So I'm not sure why this would lead the idea that we need more funding here for startups. And to top that, the Portland Seed Fund along with most of the other funding networks in Oregon are pay to apply.
At a the recent UpdatePDX event one of the comments was "Several people commented on how lovely Portland was – even in the rain. But damn, they wish they could hire the types of people they needed here."
The conclusion that I keep coming back to seems to be "There aren't enough people here ready to dive into a startup, yet everyone thinks we need more startups and likes that idea, but we value our quality of life more anyway." I'm afraid that this is just a huge setup for more pay to apply and pay to mentor programs designed to profit off this notion that we need to have more startups in Portland. Call me skeptical, but I just don't see all the movements in Portland leading anywhere significant.
P.S. And I'm saying this as someone who just moved his services business into Portland.
I was worried about the pay to play issues with the Portland Seed Fund and heavily encouraged them not to do that. In fact I told them I wouldn't help or speak if the pay to play stayed and they removed it.
So hopefully they'll talk about this next week because they've told me that they will NOT be charging an application fee.
I've been unsure about what I've seen from the Mentoring and Knowledge networks (I'm not following the Financing network) that were started after the software summit, but I think they could prove to be very valuable.
I don't hire strictly based on paper and education (being a high-school dropout type) but for many bright people, that is their best entry into CS and engineering. We'll have to work with PSU to increase the breadth and depth of their students - the really good news, no disagreement from them!
In particular, non-20-somethings who understand about life balance and that "life is short" but still have the entrepreneurial drive are going to consider quality of life more than "live your startup" type younger folks. Though I've noticed a lot of younger people move to portland for the recreational opportunities and social scene.
Portland Seed Fund is another win for everyone in Portland and Oregon.