Besides being a great place for strong coffee and well-groomed beards, Portland, OR is growing quickly as a startup hub.
In the first quarter of this year, Oregon even overtook Washington in terms of venture capital investing for the first time since 1993.
Besides huge, established companies like Intel, Microsoft, IBM and eBay (which all have offices in Portland), the city is churning out a wealth of interesting startups.
“Portland tends to excel at platform plays, rather than consumer-facing companies,” Rick Turoczy, cofounder of a major Portland tech incubator, told Business Insider. “So while our companies aren’t generally household names, they’re often behind the scenes working their magic for some of the most well-known companies in the world.”
The Clymb, a company that sells outdoor gear and adventure travel packages, is oh-so Portland, and oh-so cool.
On The Clymb's community-based website (you need an invitation to join) you can buy name-brand outdoor accessories at enormous discounts. Plus, the site sells 'human-powered' trips (like kayacking in Alaska or mountain biking through Ecudaor).
It was voted one of Outdoor Magazine's best places to work in 2012 and 2013.
So he swore that his online-only banking system, Simple, would never blast users with surprise fees and would make make it easier for users to set goals, save money, and track their spending.
Simple launched in 2012 and by and had processed more than $US1 billion in transactions by summer 2013.
If you're a developer, you not only want users to download your app, but then continue to use it on a regular basis. That means sometimes you have to give them a little reminder.
Enter: Push notifications.
Urban Airship helps companies deploy push notifications, use location-based targeting, and understand related analytics. It enables 5.5 billion messages to be sent per month.
Earlier this year, Urban Airship raised a hefty $US25 million.
When Janrain raised a $US33 million funding round earlier this year, it really helped put the Portland startup scene on the map.
The company works with brands like Dr. Pepper, Whole Foods, MTV, Avis, and Fox to increase, optimise, and measure their social Web presence. For example, Janrain launched a one-click Facebook sharing mechanism which companies can use on their pages to give users more control over their sharing behaviours.
Jama is a product delivery platform that facilitates easy, open communication between all the members of an organisation through real-time chat, a comprehensive dashboard for each project, and more. The company has been around since 2007, but raised a $US13 million round of funding in August.
Some of Jama's big-name clients?
SpaceX, The Department of Defence, Time Warner, GE, United Healthcare, and Amazon.com. Not too shabby.
Only founded this year, Wildfang stands out for its unique approach to women's clothing in the over-saturated e-commerce space.
Co-founder Emma Mcgilroy previously worked for Nike, which is another huge company with offices in Portland.
'The city is just at the heart of who we are,' Wildfang's other founder, Julia Parsley told Vice. 'We really love this city and we're proud to show it off.'
CoPatient, founded by Rebecca Palm and Katie Vahle in 2012, analyses your medical bills to spot mistakes and negotiate fairer rates if it finds that you're being billed above the normal amount for a service.
The company was based in Boston before moving west.
'Portland has a terrific culture and a wealth of talent to offer for startups,' co-founder Rebecca Palm told Boston.com.
Paul Berg worked as a water systems engineer in Uganda and was overwhelmed by the number of people forced to drink unsafe, contaminated water.
So he decided to do something about it.
Berg has created a pedal-powered water treatment system that allows users to turn dirty water into a serving of treated, safe drinking water through only one minute of cycling. The company he co-founded, Safi Water Works, wants to bring this product to the people that need it most.
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