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Portland Seed Fund seeks inspiration from Y Combinator grads (oregonlive.com)
38 points by turoczy on Apr 14, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 11 comments

Feels like most of the people in Portland need to figure out what they want first.

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[1] 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."[2]

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.

[1]http://www.meetup.com/updatepdx/events/16416694/ [2]http://www.chesnok.com/daily/2011/04/05/updatepdx-nosql-oper...

P.S. And I'm saying this as someone who just moved his services business into Portland.

One of the things I hated most about Portland was the culture around startups needing to pay for coaching, etc...

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.

Awesome, I hadn't heard that news yet, that would make me much more comfortable recommending the program. The other big one that stands out to me is Portland Ten.

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.

One thing Portland really doesn't have compared to the other West Coast cities is a good university. (Sorry Portland State, it's true). I don't see that being fixed anytime soon, so that's always going to cause a problem for recruiting new grads.

Back in February I met with the Dean of CECS and Chair Harris of the CS department. One "good" problem for them is that nearly all (but few exceptions) are hired after graduation by the existing large businesses in Portland.

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!

I have to disagree here both Oregon and Oregon State are underrated universities. I'm a bit biased towards Oregon State as I graduated from there but their Engineering and Science colleges do a fantastic job.

Neither is actually in (or especially close to) Portland, though, right?

"but that's not what's going to drive serious entrepreneurs to Portland" - have to disagree with you on that one.

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.

I'm moving my family and business to Portland, OR in order to grow. 4 days in Portland and I was able to meet with a couple of dozen people. I haven't seen a better city in this country ready to grow, try new things and be willing to support themselves and others become successful.

Portland Seed Fund is another win for everyone in Portland and Oregon.

What should the role be of (local) public money in private investments?

Good question, does anyone know if they're using public funds as a loan instrument or are they taking equity in these companies?

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