March 01, 2010
The Portland Development Commission recently launched four innovative components to the agency’s emerging entrepreneurial development initiative. Improving the environment for entrepreneurs and promising young firms is critical to meeting the ambitious job creation goals of the city’s recently-adopted economic development strategy. The strategy specifically calls for a focus on the region’s entrepreneurial, high-growth potential, small and emerging businesses as rich sources for organic economic growth.
Angel Oregon investment
On Feb. 24, the board approved PDC’s participation as an investor in Angel Oregon 2010. Angel Oregon (www.oen.org) is an annual investment competition and conference (scheduled this year on March 5) that invests in one launch-stage company and one seed-stage company. Individual investors, known as angels, fund the investment pool and vote on the winning companies. PDC will invest $21,000 in the same companies on the same terms as the angel fund but as debt rather than as a purchase of stock in the company.
PDC’s participation in Angel Oregon leverages an existing pool of private capital to expand funds for early stage companies. In addition, participation by PDC sends a strong message to both the entrepreneurial and investment communities that PDC and the city are committed to improving the environment for locally grown companies with significant job creation potential.
Portland Start-Up Fund
As announced by Mayor Sam Adams in his State of the City address on Feb. 5, PDC and the city of Portland will establish a seed fund to invest in early stage businesses, providing up to $250,000 to startups at the earliest stage of development. The Portland StartUp Fund will fill the most critical gap in funding for growing companies, increasing the job creation prospects for startup firms and the pipeline of viable companies for later stage investors.
The Portland StartUp Fund will be an independent private entity managed by an experienced financial investment and management team. PDC anticipates issuing a Request for Proposals in April 2010 for firms interested in managing the fund, and expects the fund to make its first investments by June 2010.
PDC is a presenting sponsor of Pivotal Leaders (www.pivotal-leaders.com), a community-nominated and peer-selected network of top prospective clean technology business leaders in the Northwest launched Feb. 23 by Pivotal Investments. By identifying and establishing a business network of entrepreneurial talent in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and British Columbia, Pivotal Leaders seeks to expand resources for innovation in clean technology, a sector that is vital to the economic success of the region. Pivotal Investments is a Portland venture capital firm investing in companies, primarily in the Northwest, that are delivering solutions in the rapidly growing markets for clean energy, clean water, green materials, sustainable agriculture and clean air.
PDC has awarded $35,000 in grant funding to Portland Ten (www.portlandten.com), an entrepreneurial development organization with a mission of improving the success rate of Portland’s early stage startups. Funding from PDC will be used by Portland Ten to expand the organization’s 12-week, intensive boot camp for startups, which seeks to assist ten Portland startup companies to reach $1 million in revenue by October 2010.