March 18, 2011

The Portland Development Commission took a new step toward cultivating innovative local technology companies by launching a competitive application process to identify local companies in the energy and healthcare industries that would benefit from investment capital, licensing or technical expertise, product development and commercialization efforts, or export assistance.  The application process, contained in a Request for Expression of Interest (REI) released today, is designed to engage local companies with representatives of GE, a global leader in the targeted industries, who will visit Portland on Tuesday, May 17 to meet with selected companies and explore ways to work together.

“GE’s interest in providing critical assistance for our local entrepreneurs and innovators is further validation of the city’s strategic focus on building Portland’s position in the global green economy,” said Mayor Sam Adams. “GE has been actively engaged with us as we move forward with the Oregon Sustainability Center, EcoDistricts and Clean Energy Works, and I’m pleased that they are moving ahead with us to help local businesses that create jobs in this community.”

The City of Portland and GE signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in June 2010 in which they agreed to explore ways to assist local businesses. GE invests in later-stage emerging companies that are likely to scale rapidly with access to GE’s research, development, operational and manufacturing expertise, markets, and global footprint. Along with capital, GE can provide commercial, technical, and IP assistance to accelerate the companies’ growth.

“The city of Portland’s particular passion for sustainability creates a unique environment to cultivate innovative technology companies that align with GE’s strategies to help solve some of the world’s toughest problems,” said Kevin Skillern, managing director of venture capital at GE Energy Financial Services. “We look forward to getting to know some of the region’s most promising energy and medical companies that are ready to enter the next phase of growth to power the local economy and create local jobs.”

“Portland is rich with innovative companies in a wide range of industries, but we need more financial and human capital to help these companies grow and achieve their full potential,” said Gregg Semler, managing director of Pivotal Investments.  “I am very excited that GE recognizes Portland’s unique strengths. This kind of engagement with the local business community will bring additional attention to Portland as the hotbed for companies that will thrive in a world addressing the rapidly growing need for innovation around healthcare, sustainability and smarter, more productive use of resources.”

For the complete REI visit Responses are due to PDC by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 8, 2011 and will be evaluated initially by a committee composed of government, private, and non-profit representatives; select respondents will be forwarded to GE for final selection for the meetings on May 17.