News

PIE testimony to Portland City Council on 2019 accomplishments

When PIE spun out of Wieden+Kennedy a few years back, we decided that one of the new experiments should be testing the waters as a nonprofit startup accelerator. Which meant that, rather than relying wholly on generating revenue to keep the accelerator running, we would also have the opportunity to partner with grantmaking organizations with whom we share common goals.

One of the organizations with whom we were able to partner from PIE’s earliest days as a nonprofit was Prosper Portland, the economic development agency for the city of Portland, Oregon. As part of our partnership with Prosper, we receive both grant money as well as access to the Inclusive Business Resource Network, a community of practice which includes any number of entrepreneur support organizations in our city.

To close out the year, PIE Community Manager Marquita Jaramillo was invited to give testimony to the Mayor Ted Wheeler and the Portland City Council. Video as well as the transcript of that testimony follow.

Good afternoon Mayor Wheeler and City Council Members. Thank you for your time. My name is Marquita Jaramillo, I am the community manager for PIE, the Portland Incubator Experiment, an ongoing experiment designed to foster collaboration among established corporations, government entities, educational institutions, and the Portland startup community. Throughout our 10 year history, PIE has accelerated more than 100 local companies — companies like AllGo, Black Founders Matter, Cloudability, Dorsum, MilkRun, Nexgarden, Simple, Uncorked Studios, and Workfrom, among others — and fostered the creation of more than 1000 jobs in the Portland area

We have two program locations. PIE Shop located within Autodesk in the Towne Storage building at 221 SE Ankeny and PIE/ Innovation Lab within Puppet located at 308 SW 2nd Ave, a few blocks from here.

PIE supports founders building scalable traded sector businesses in the software, manufacturing, and consumer product industries. Our program at PIE Shop focuses on manufactured products, with a digital/technical component, the program running at Puppet Innovation Lab supports SaaS. (Software as a Service) businesses, and our partnership with Built Oregon accelerates consumer product companies from Portland and around the state of Oregon. The current cohorts of PIE Shop and PIE residency programs are home to 54 startups, which includes both newly founded companies as well as PIE alums who serve as mentors in residence. That totals to more than 120 hard working Portland entrepreneurs building innovative companies that will serve as the employers and community anchors of the future. All of this work is currently shouldered by two part-time employees who split time among the programs and a vast network of hundreds of local mentors who volunteer their time and expertise in support of these amazing founders in the program.

As an entrepreneur, myself, for the past 5 years and a microbusiness owner for the past year, I fully understand the struggles associated with owning/running a business and strongly support BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) founders. PIE echoes similar values and support for these underestimated communities. We see an exciting future ahead, but it isn’t without concerns. Each day we encounter the difficulties our founders face, firsthand. We have very real worries about the lack of risk tolerant, early stage funding available to start/grow a business in our community, the lack of health insurance, and mental and behavioral health support, especially for individuals who are likely going through the most stressful experience of their lives. PIE is happy to partner with Prosper Portland and the City of Portland to participate in the Inclusive Business Resource Network (IBRN) because it makes sense for us and the community.

The parts of the IBRN I am most excited about are the ones that address these issues and will make Portland better for everyone, including the people who work here and for those who call it home. The IBRN offers an array of services rather than a one-size-fits-all solution to the very real problems that come with being an entrepreneur/founder and a person of color. Through valuable partnerships and community engagements PIE aims to be a positive change in the startup community, and in the greater Portland community in general.

Thank you, again, for your time.

News

PIE a la mode: A new class in an old dairy

Today, we’re announcing our fifth startup accelerator class — after a four year hiatus —through a program funded in part by Prosper Portland and its Inclusive Business Resource Network. The program, helmed by PIE program manager Chevonne James, is housed in The Dairy Building in the central eastside industrial district at the southeast corner of the Portland IQ, through a collaboration with Intrinsic Ventures.

The companies in the fifth cohort of PIE are:

“Throughout PIE’s history, we’ve tried any number of experiments to help early stage startups in Portland,” said James. “Through that experimentation we’ve determined that providing a shared workspace where founders can collaborate with one another is critical to our program. While we’ve been working with these companies virtually for a number of months, we’re already seeing exponentially more progress now that we’re all in the same physical space at the Dairy Building.”

“The Dairy Building is very excited to be hosting PIE and the burgeoning new companies they house,” said LeAnn Raschke, Real Estate Manager for The Dairy Building at NAI Elliott. “With private call rooms, large central meeting area, conference rooms, and a common kitchen, The Dairy Building provides the perfect meeting place for collaborative events and meet-ups. PIE is a welcome addition to the community of like-minded small business owners and entrepreneurs in the building. We look forward to seeing the growth and networking opportunities that PIE will bring.”

The latest version of the ongoing PIE experiment in collaboration among the Portland startup community and other established organizations—like corporations, government, and educational institutions—refactors its former model for early stage startups, moving away from the typical “three months and out” format to embrace a rolling cohort model where mentored companies grow up and out of the space as quickly or as slowly as needed. In addition, through its partnership with Prosper Portland, PIE has increased its efforts to attract founders who identify as women and/or people of color in an effort to better represent the wealth of entrepreneurial activity in the Portland community. Two of the companies in the current cohort, Additive Care and AllGo, are graduates of the TiE XL Bootcamp, which is also part of the Inclusive Business Resource Network.

“PIE has long been an essential partner in our work promoting inclusive entrepreneurship in Portland, and we are excited to support Chevonne, Rick, and the PIE team as they mentor a new group of startups,” said Prosper Portland Executive Director Kimberly Branam. “These businesses represent the full array of diverse founders, interests, and industries that reflect Portland’s vibrant startup scene.”

About Prosper Portland Inclusive Business Resource Network
From tech startups to neighborhood retail, small businesses are vital to the city’s economy. The Inclusive Business Resource Network is a citywide program that brings multiple services for small business into a single network to provide greater efficiencies and cross-functional innovation. The Network leverages the power of partnership to increase the success of underrepresented entrepreneurs.

Through focused resources, collaboration and client-centered services the Network seeks to drastically shift outcomes for business owners of color, immigrants, women founders, and other underrepresented minorities. Approximately 600 businesses are served through the Network each year, and 400 businesses – 65 percent owned by women and 75 percent owned by people of color – receive long-term support (30+ advising hours a year).

For more information, visit https://prosperportland.us/portfolio-items/inclusive-business-resource-network/

About Intrinsic Ventures
Intrinsic Ventures and its affiliate companies acquire and develop commercial real estate in transit-oriented, urban areas, and endeavor to create public benefits in unique locations. Our goal is to invest in the future of urban areas and to establish projects in pedestrian districts where alternative forms of transportation, like buses, bicycles and trains, are easily accessible. We create some measure of public benefit through our efforts in conjunction with a viable investment.

Our buildings—which include The Dairy Building—are vital, mixed-use hubs that thrive because their location and close proximity to other, minor-commercial properties creates a draw for local, repeat customers. By developing clusters of contiguous properties, we create a sense of community amongst our multi-tenant buildings. Developing and preserving historic buildings on tree lined sidewalks, establishing thriving communities in open public spaces and job creation are at the core of Intrinsic’s philosophy.

For more information, visit http://www.intrinsicventures.com/

About PIE
PIE is an ongoing experiment designed to enable established organizations — corporations, government, and educational institutions, among others — to more effectively collaborate with the Portland, Oregon, startup community in mutually beneficial ways. Throughout its history, PIE has served as a curated coworking space, a community event space, a startup accelerator, a flashpoint for corporate innovation, an accelerator for accelerators, and a home-away-from-home for startup types — and the startup curious — from around the world. To further support all startup communities, PIE provides access to its learnings and programs through the PIE Cookbook, an open source guide for building a startup accelerator

PIE is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization through its fiscal sponsor, Built Oregon. PIE and Built Oregon are founding partners of the Portland IQ.

For more information on the program, visit http://www.piepdx.com/. To access the PIE Cookbook, visit https://github.com/piepdx/pie-cookbook/blob/master/README.md  

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MEDIA CONTACT

Rick Turoczy
Cofounder and General Manager, PIE
rick@piepdx.com

Community, News

Prosper Portland selects PIE to carry on diversity and inclusion incubator efforts

If you follow PIE on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, you know that we’ve been hinting at some new flavors of PIE. Now, we’re able to reveal one of those new efforts: PIE is among 11 partners who have been chosen to help Prosper Portland (the organization formerly known as the Portland Development Commission (PDC)) on its small business efforts.

Prosper Portland Executive Director Kimberly Branam said, “This network of small business providers will transform the resource landscape for minority and underrepresented business owners. I’m excited to see Prosper Portland take this next step in its support of Portland’s small businesses, especially those owned by people of color and in low-income communities.”

For more, see the press release from Prosper Portland.