We’ve all heard it. “Going through an accelerator is an emotional rollercoaster.” And we’d be the first to agree. It’s not an easy or smooth experience. For anyone.
But what, exactly, does that rollercoaster look like?
At PIE, we’ve spent time analyzing the behavior of founders in our accelerator as well as other programs in which we’ve had the opportunity to participate. And that analysis has led to a rough sketch of the general ebb and flow of emotions that founders experience throughout the course of an accelerator program.
Happy Pi Day!
One of the most active PIE alums from our first accelerator class, Cloudability, continues to grow — through both acquisitions and hires — and solidify its position in the Portland startup community.
A couple of newsworthy items this week, an acquisition and new office space:
Fun fact: The new Cloudability office was previously home to PIE alums Urban Airship and Simple, among others.
Oh. And Cloudability is hiring, too.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned after nearly a decade of working with Portland startups — and startups that are attracted to Portland — it’s that financial gain is often the last thing motivating and driving our founders. And even if there are financial motives, they do not often come with a “growth at any cost” mindset.
Long story short, we do not chase unicorns. Because we do not have the resources that will help those types of companies. We have different strengths.
At PIE, we have found our motivations aligning with our founders’ motivations. We are here to build better founders. And a better community. We’re here to make new mistakes. And to help Portland be the next great version of itself. We’re not in it for the money, because honestly, there are millions of easier ways to make money than running an early stage startup accelerator — or helping other accelerators help startups.
So we’re an accelerator without the unicorns. So what do we have? What types of companies do well as part of the PIE family? To whom are we being helpful? What companies do well in Portland? And what were we supposed to call those companies?
Well, thanks to Jennifer Brandel and PIE alum Mara Zepeda, we now have a term for the types of companies that PIE loves: zebras.
- To state the obvious: unlike unicorns, zebras are real.
- Zebra companies are both black and white: they are profitable and improve society. They won’t sacrifice one for the other.
- Zebras are also mutualistic: by banding together in groups, they protect and preserve one another. Their individual input results in stronger collective output.
- Zebra companies are built with peerless stamina and capital efficiency, as long as conditions allow them to survive.
Sound like something you’re building? Join your peers at Zebras Unite. And consider attending DazzleCon in October. And, of course, we’d love to hear from you, too. We could always use more zebras in the dazzle that is Portland.
It’s always nice to see PIE alums continuing to thrive and grow. Outdoor Project, an alum of the Derby PIE class, recently announced they had secured funding to fuel continued growth — and more hires.
Here’s some of the local coverage:
Outdoor Project, an alum of the Portland Incubator Experiment, has been building in Portland for several years. The site lists more than 4,000 adventures that include camping on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, staying in a ski hut near Lake Tahoe and rock climbing in the Colorado desert.
The Portland company’s backers include the Oregon Angel Fund and Cascade Angels, two organizations that invest in early-stage technology companies. Outdoor Project said it will use the money to hire five more employees; the company currently employs six.
For more information, visit Outdoor Project.
Now in its third year, Portland Startup Week is a (little longer than a) weeklong celebration of the founders, companies, and supporters who make the Portland startup community what it is. PIE is proud to have been the founding organizer for this event, and we’re happy to continue as the organizer of the event, this year.
Because it’s important for startups. And for Portland.
From reviving classic Portland startup gatherings to discussing how we become an even better startup community, the week promises something for everyone. If you’re in Portland — or close enough to swing by — we’d love to have you participate.
For more information or to stay in the loop, visit Portland Startup Week, follow @pdxstartupweek on Twitter, or like Portland Startup Week on Facebook.
As if waking from communications hibernation, PIE recently shared a recap of some of the highlights from 2016. Which immediately begs the equally traditional New Year question: What will PIE be doing in 2017?
It’s that time of year. You know, that time when you’re supposed to take a moment to reflect on your organization and its accomplishments over the past year? Or maybe it’s more that your team has been so heads-down-busily-quiet over the last few months that you want folks to know what you’ve been doing. And your team hasn’t been publishing as much as you thought they would. Because they’ve been working on any number of things… Read More
Shazam now delivers the video of that song you’re trying to identify. All thanks to PIE alum Vadio.
Vadio-powered video channels make it possible for people to consume music video content through the sites and apps they already use. By partnering with companies like Shazam, Vadio anticipates video views to skyrocket month over month. Vadio music video channels can be assembled in several different ways. Now when a person Shazams a song, they are presented with a music video channel. Video channels can also be curated by editors, automatically generated by trending data or built by brands to reflect genres or the interests and attributes of their audience segments.
With this partnership, Shazam is extending the opportunity to engage audiences in more than 190 countries with highly engaging videos of the latest artists and popular music from around the world. Currently, there are over 1,800 artists verified on Shazam that are sharing content with their over 3 billion cumulative followers. The addition of music video playlists powered by Vadio makes it possible for brands to connect audiences through content that is relevant, targeted and highly engaging.
For more information, see the Shazam press release.
Since 2008, PIE has been an ongoing series of experiments. First as a coworking space then as an early stage startup accelerator then as an accelerator for accelerators. Now, we’re embarking on our next experiment: the PIE Cookbook, an open source guide designed to help anyone, anywhere accelerate anything.
We’re excited to share what we’ve learned over the last 8 years — especially with the hopes that we help you avoid the mistakes we made.
To provide more context on the PIE Cookbook and why we’re so motivated to give away what we’ve learned for free, we’ve gathered up some of our Medium content for you:
We’ll continue to publish on Medium and here as we learn from — and screw up with — Kickstarter, as we work to develop and share our content out in the open, and as we collaborate on this new offering with communities around the world.
And if you’re interested in getting more details on the PIE Cookbook and its potential applications — even if you have no desire to start an accelerator of your own — please visit us on Kickstarter. We’re hoping to connect with as many amazing startup communities as we possibly can.