Portland Incubator Experiment

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Exterior of the Portland Incubator Experiment offices in Portland, Oregon in 2013

The Portland Incubator Experiment, often abbreviated as PIE or stylized as Pie, is a business incubator based in Portland, Oregon that provides mentorship and resources to select startup companies. Co-founded by Renny Gleeson and Rick Turoczy, PIE is run by the Portland-based advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy (W+K). The program was informally launched in 2009 before converting to a formal structure in 2011. PIE participants are chosen by a selection committee, following an application process. Startups receive seed money and spend three months developing their businesses with support from W+K and participating mentors. Companies that have provided financial assistance and mentorship include The Coca-Cola Company, Google, Intel, Nike, Inc. and Target Corporation.

The program's inaugural "class" supported eight businesses primarily focused on mobile technology, most of which were Portland-based. PIE's 2012 class included a wider variety of business models. Following graduation, startups are provided with an opportunity to pitch their business plans; several companies have received investments as a result.

Program structure[edit]

Program participants spend three months developing their businesses at the Portland offices of advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy (pictured in 2012).

The Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE), co-founded by Renny Gleeson and Rick Turoczyis, is a business incubator based in Portland, Oregon that advises and provides resources to startup companies. The program, "informally launched" in 2009 and converted into a structured program in 2011,[1][2] is run by the Portland-based advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy (W+K).[3] Following an application process, startups are chosen by a selection committee. Participants receive $18,000 in seed money in exchange for six percent stakes and spend three months at W+K's Northwest Portland offices, developing their businesses with assistance from "mentors, W+K, big brands and other startups".[3][4][5] Program rounds are often referred to as "classes", from which participating businesses "graduate".[2]

The Portland Incubator Experiment is similar to the Portland Seed Fund, a public-private program (funded in part by the cities of Hillsboro and Portland and the Oregon Lottery)[2] that encourages entrepreneurship and invests in startups.[3][4]

Classes and results[edit]

2011[edit]

Applications for the inaugural class were due on August 8, 2011.[6] PIE received 290 applications from interested entrepreneurs, sixty percent of which resided outside Oregon.[3][6] PIE initially selected nine companies to participate in the incubator project, but one withdrew early.[3] Program participants in 2011 included:

  • Athletepath, a social networking service "connecting races and results"[3]
  • Cloudability, a software service that "compares how companies use cloud services with what they spend"[3]
  • DailyPath, a service that provides "short" inspirational messages, helping people to reach their goals
  • MoPIX, a platform that helps video producers release custom iOS application software
  • Revisu, a cloud site that "connects designers and clients for feedback and approval"[3]
  • Spotsi, a platform for mobile multimedia "tours"[3]
  • Stayhound, a social networking service for locating pet sitters
  • VendScreen, a technology that adds "Android-based touchscreen devices to vending machines", offers cashless transactions, provides nutrition information and stores data[3]

Seven of the companies were based in Portland; the eighth (Los Angeles-based MoPIX) planned to open a two-person office in the city. According to Turoczy, each "[had] a part in the city's budding mobile technology scene".[3] W+K connected entrepreneurs with some of its clients, including The Coca-Cola Company, Nike, Inc. and Target Corporation.[3] Financial assistance and mentorship was also provided by Google.[6]

In January 2012, the participating companies offered eight-minute presentations, pitching their products to a crowd of 400 at the Bagdad Theater. VendScreen announced that it had received a $12 million investment for its technology.[5][3] Athletepath and Cloudability also confirmed investments of $300,000 and $1.25 million, respectively.[3] The Oregonian reported in February 2012 that two of Stayhound's three founders left after the class ended, seeking stable income.[4] In July 2012, the Willamette Week reported that Cloudability had received $8.7 million in investments.[5]

2012[edit]

PIE began accepting applications for its second class in February 2012.[3] However, the application process was postponed in order to confirm "expert" participation.[4][7] PIE also made changes to "improve the mentorship program and the overall experience for entrepreneurs".[2] The application deadline was extended to June 12.[2][7] 300 applications were submitted despite little promotion from PIE.[7] Companies were chosen by a "loose" selection committee consisting of at least eight people.[7] According to Turoczy, the program's second class included a greater variety of business plans, with "fewer daily deal pitches... and fewer location-based check-in companies".[7] Businesses selected to participate included:

  • AppThwack, a service for testing application software and websites on Android smartphones and tablet computers
  • KS12, a studio that "tells stories which blur the line between documentary and fiction, artwork and essay"[5]
  • Lytics.io, an API that provides analytics to developers
  • Plexus Engine, a tool suite for influencer marketing and "expert discovery and engagement"[5]
  • Portland Women's Software Academy, a nonprofit organization focused on "educating and encouraging would-be software developers"[5]
  • Stublisher, a service for "capturing and curating event experiences"[5]
  • Vadio, a service that turns "terrestrial" radio station websites into live video channels[5]

The program began on July 16. Participants received assistance from sponsors at The Coca-Cola Company, Google, Intel, Nike and other Oregon technology professionals.[7] PIE added a staff position for the program, designating Wieden+Kennedy's Kirsten Golden as "class manager".[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rogoway, Mike (June 29, 2011). "Wieden+Kennedy launches incubator to develop Portland tech startups". The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications). ISSN 8750-1317. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Rogoway, Mike (May 30, 2012). "Intel joins Portland Incubator Experiment as applications open for PIE's second class". The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications). ISSN 8750-1317. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Young, Molly (January 17, 2012). "Portland Incubator Experiment graduates first class, including one that landed $12 million investment". The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications). ISSN 8750-1317. Retrieved March 19, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d Young, Molly (February 24, 2012). "Portland Incubator Experiment halts next class as it lines up big-name partners". The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications). ISSN 8750-1317. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Brown, Ruth (July 27, 2012). "Exclusive: New PIE Class Announced: Meet the new Portland tech startups on the block". Willamette Week (Portland, Oregon: City of Roses Newspapers). Retrieved March 19, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c Rogoway, Mike (August 12, 2011). "Portland Incubator Experiment attracts 290 applicants, most from outside Oregon". The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications). ISSN 8750-1317. Retrieved March 21, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Rogoway, Mike (June 20, 2012). "Portland Incubator Experiment attracts 300 applicants for its second class". The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications). ISSN 8750-1317. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 

External links[edit]