In this month’s issue of Fast Company, there is an interesting article highlighting why Portland, OR is fast becoming a tech startup hot spot. We’re not surprised as we've taken notice of this last summer. Wedged between Silicon Valley and Seattle, Portland is increasingly becoming a magnet for entrepreneurs to lay down roots and set up shop.
Portland offers affordable living, an abundance of outdoors activities, college and professional sports, and within the last few years has earned a new nickname, "Beertown" for its 28 local breweries, which also helped spawn the country’s microbrew revolution. Full Sail Brewing pint aside, entrepreneurs can also tap into added benefits that Portland has to offer, including a new $500,000 seed fund to incubate startups and small businesses, a DIY mentality that churns out scrappy can-do entrepreneurs, a growing talent pool of engineers and developers to draw from, and with nearly 10 colleges and universities, Portland is home to a young, smart and energetic demographic. The city’s attributes have not gone unnoticed; here’s a list of different accolades it has racked up recently.
One Ignite client, open source data automation company Reductive Labs (since renamed Puppet Labs), pulled up stakes from Nashville, TN to drop anchor and call Portland home base. The company wanted to take advantage of the area’s strong roots in the open source movement (Ubuntu started here). Another Portand-based client, mobile app infrastructure startup, Urban Airship recently landed its Series A funding.
And while it certainly rains a lot in Portland, it’s increasingly raining apps --- mobile app development more specifically. Portland is also drawing in mobile app and smartphone developers of all flavors; in particular iPhone and Android app developers are proliferating. With the proliferation of mobile app stores and new devices, such as the Kindle and iPad, the market for mobile app developers has never been rosier. Mobile app developers are no longer at the mercy of having to win over the approval of some big handset manufacturer or wireless carrier. Because the industry has opened up considerably, VCs are once again bullish in the mobile/wireless arena, spurring Portland’s swing from tech manufacturing more toward mobile software development. Given the predictions of smartphones and mobile app consumption over the next few years, the outlook for this region holds a lot of promise.