August 04, 2014

The Portland Development Commission has narrowed a field of 134 Startup PDX Challenge applicants from the United States and Canada to 19 semi-finalists in Portland’s search for startups with diverse founding teams and the ambition to scale to a national or international market.

Up to six for-profit startup businesses will receive a package valued at $50,000 per company with a $15,000 working capital grant, a full year of rent-free office space at 115 SW Ash in Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown, and free professional advice, memberships and services. Up to four more startups will be named merit finalists and will receive a package valued at $4,000 per company.

The Challenge selection committee will consider each semi-finalist’s application and personal interview in determining the winners. The general public is invited to visit the Startup PDX Challenge website to learn more about each semi-finalist and vote for their favorites. Public voting begins Monday, August 4 at 8:00 a.m. and runs through midnight Friday, August 8; the results will determine one of the four merit finalists.

Patrick Quinton, PDC Executive Director, said, “The Startup PDX Challenge seeks the best new members of our growing entrepreneurial community. This year’s applicants were a particularly impressive group – and we are very excited by the level of both industry and demographic diversity among the semi-finalists. We look forward to welcoming the winning startups to our expanding network of experienced, innovative companies competing in the global economy.”

The 19 semi-finalists are Aquadrop; Carehubs; Design+Culture; Genki-su; Graph Alchemist; GRASP; NoAppFee; RAFTsyrups; Science Girls; Society Nine; Sugarlump Factory; Switchboard; Talisha’s Secret; Tique Box, and VDO Interpreters, all from the Portland metro area; Flipcause and Scrumpt, from San Francisco; ICOM, from Atlanta; and Soulbe, from Las Vegas. The group includes 15 startups with women founders; 11 with African American founders; six with Asian/Pacific Islander founders; three with Hispanic founders; three with Native American founders; three with disabled founders; one with a military veteran founder.

Challenge winners will be announced in early September. The move into the Old Town/Chinatown space is slated for early October.