Below are some of the frequently asked questions that PIE + co has been getting regarding Portland, the PIE experience, our partnership with Wieden+Kennedy, and a few other things for good measure.
What sort of companies do you work with and what stages?
Our area of expertise tends to be technology companies, specifically platforms and enabling technologies. We focus on early stage companies – that can mean a lot of different things for our companies – pre revenue or revenue positive, back of the napkin concept, bootstrapping there is no right answer. Honestly, we like being challenged. We’re always looking for new types of companies that will help us expand our capabilities. See a full list of our companies here.
What requirements do you have for being in PIE?
We require that the team has someone who is a technical “builder” It doesn’t have to be a founder, but someone on the team needs to have technical acumen. Why? Well, the second requirement of PIE is that you have product in market (meaning someone besides your team and your mom needs to be using your product, early alpha, beta, etc.) in order to go on stage for demo day.
How structured is the day-to-day time in the accelerator?
Heavily unstructured and chaotic. We customize our program to each company; acceleration is not a one-size-fits-all solution. While we have some programming that applies to all of the startups, the vast majority of our time is spent one-on-one with our companies, helping them get to the next stage that they define as their goal. We then take that intimate knowledge of the startups and the challenges they face and sync them up with mentors who have expertise to explore those issues.
This matchmaking — putting startups together with the appropriate mentors for the specific problem they are attacking that day and repeating that process with each new problem— provides the most value for both the startups and the mentors.
Who are the mentors?
Tech + business powerhouses – who else? PIE has an extensive network of mentors spanning from founders, top-notch engineers, VCs and a ton of other folks who are much smarter than we are. We also have the added benefit of having our alumni included in the mentor pool, as well as the creative folks who make up all 8 of Wieden+Kennedy’s offices.
What benefits do you see in being in Portland?
Portland is a vibrant and growing city with very active tech, startup, and maker communities. The cost of living is low and you can easily walk, bike or take public transit to most, if not all, places. Companies like Airbnb, Mozilla, New Relic, and Salesforce all have recently opened offices here. The bay is a quick and direct flight away. Oh, and Portland is gorgeous in the summer time, why else do you think we run the program from July – October? Don’t just take our word for it, check out this post on the AppFog blog.
What is the involvement of W+K in the process?
The companies who participate in the PIE program have the opportunity to work with teams at Wieden+Kennedy from branding and strategic positioning, to folks who want to muck around on your platform. We look for new opportunities to engage with Wieden every year so don’t be surprised if other opportunities happen.
Where do we apply?