(We have a $100 challenge– if any of the founders in Portland Ten are able to quit their day job during the program, because they’ve generated sufficient revenue/funding, we will give them $100).
$100!? That is insulting... It doesn't look like they have very good advice to give when they have something like that.
There are actually a bunch of triggers for getting the $100. Like getting outside investment, deciding that the business won't work and quiting, and a pile of others.
Its like getting a coffee cup at work with the company logo on it for being there a year. Its not the reason you do the job.
Huh? They should be paying THEM to participate! What value-add do they actually provide? If they're mentoring, what credentials do they have? From what I can see, they interview you and tell you your idea/product sucks or rocks and either boost or crush your ego. Is that all? You can find a desk in some quiet office for less than that amount and hack something out on your own and let the market tell you if your product is any good.
They don't even say if they're taking any equity for this 'service' that they're providing... but they must be. They also don't say how exactly they'll find your project once your own funding runs out. They're throwing the $1M figure around but they're not saying that they'll be actually providing you with that amount of funding or they expect you to make $1M by then end of 2010. My guess is the latter.
"we don't invest capital" @ http://portlandten.wordpress.com/about/
"Portland Ten is a Y-Combinator-like incubator for high tech startups in Portland, Oregon, with one caveat– we don’t invest capital; we train entrepreneurs to get things done without it, and attract the necessary funds or resources as a result."
But seriously, they're getting very little for this "tuition." Unless they have Bill Gates, Vinod Khosla or Marc Andreessen mentoring them, I wouldn't pay a dime.
My experience with the Portland "startup" scene was that there were a lot of MBA-toting shysters with little-to-no ability to develop a product on their own, cashing in on the "it's cheaper to live here than in San Francisco" tech crowd by offering below-market compensation.
I hate to be so disparaging, and I'm sure there are good startups up there. However after working for a small company there, interviewing elsewhere after it was obvious it wasn't going to work out, and talking to lots of other people in similar situations... I ended up moving back to San Francisco and not looking back.
This reminds me a lot of a vanity book editing scam, cash up front to make your work "submission quality".
Learn to earn $5000 at home every month... on the internet!
Don't get me wrong, this is probably no scam. It just seems like it's aimed at exactly the wrong people: million-revenue earners on the way up who would've figured all this out anyway. And if you believe pg, cash on the table is the resource startups need most...
500 a month for advice is consulting. This is a wolf in sheeps clothing.
1 million is a very arbitrary number. What size businesses are they going for? If it's a venture backed size business, 1 million could be a failure. If it's a lifestyle business, that's awesome. A hard feat to accomplish.
I'm sure the intentions are good, but the execution isn't there in my mind.
How's this for startup advice? If things are that bad in Portland, move to Silicon Valley. Come to the Hackers and Founders Meetup, or any number of other meetups in the area. We'll give you all the advice you want for free, and we'll probably buy you a beer in the process.
Long story made short, its a training program to get your business to the point where you can can take outside investment. This is a very solid program developed by an expert in the fund raising process, for getting the financial and business put together so your startup doesn't flame out.
The $1M figure is from the goal of the program which is to develop at least Ten companies in Portland (i.e. Portland Ten) with over a million dollars in REVENUE. So you don't necessarily have to get outside funding, but in either case your ready to grow.
No equity is being traded for this program. The costs are quite low compared to other programs of its kind.
Also office space is not provided, its an add-on at the new Portland co-working space, http://nedspace.com you don't need to use it but its recommended.
The program is solid. Check out http://bigpaperblog.com/ for the program developers website.
1) Not sure about the quality of advisors - doesn't mean they're bad, I've never really heard of them.
edit: It seems that although Carolyn may be well connected, she hasn't run a startup herself. Not promising.
2) I don't really see a lot of conviction in their ability to pick winners, else they would be more interested in equity.
3) "we don’t invest capital; we train entrepreneurs to get things done without it" - It seems kind of funny that they expect entrepreneurs to pay to learn how to conserve capital :)
If I were YC, I'd be annoyed that they claim to be similar.
2. The equity question is something that I asked about... basically the thought was that its your work, you should get to profit from it. Just like when you buy a server from dell, dell doesn't get a slice of equity from your company.
3. This program as being run as a low cost high impact bootstrapped startup itself. That said the costs are a LOT lower than just about anything like it. Tech Stars for example is six percent of your company for office space, and coaching for 120 days. This is just $1500, for just the coaching. (And there are quite a few coffee shops in Portland that will let you work from them if you so choose.)
2) I'm not sure the analogy makes sense. Dell doesn't judge a company's business plan before it decides to sell you a server.
One of the important considerations with Portland 10 isn't whether or not I should get 100% of the ownership/profit, it's whether or not their advice helps me grow my business enough that I don't care that they get a cut of the equity.
3) That's fine - I don't agree that the trade-off (upfront capital with relatively unproven advisors vs. giving up equity with more proven investors who have a track record of investing in strong companies)is optimal.
That said, it's good to see something happening in Portland.
Here are some of my thoughts and responses to specific items discussed:
For those who are excited about the project, we appreciate the support. For those who have concerns, I appreciate your effort in letting us know, and hope that you'll continue to follow the project and help us stay on track, or make changes when necessary.
Portland10 looks more like the UC Santa Cruz Extension two day Startup Foundry (See http://www.ucsc-extension.edu/startup ) that costs $855-950