From its sophisticated coffee house culture to its multitudinous breweries, Portland exists within a sphere of its own. Whether you call it “Beervana” or “Stumptown,” there’s no question that this Pacific Northwest city recognizes its individuality, and owns it. While authors and artists have long been drawn to Portland’s care-free, bohemian vibes, it seems that good beer and mountain views are not merely food for the poetic soul. Over the past several years, this creative municipality has become an unlikely tech metropolis, due to an influx of Silicon Valley expats and other entrepreneurs eager to launch their next ambitious idea. Portland’s large tech community has earned the moniker “Silicon Forest,” supported by rising employment numbers and a surplus of capital. While 2017 alone saw the addition of 3,600 tech jobs, the tech sector as a whole yields an estimated economic output of $1.9 trillion, according to a report from CompTIA.
Portland’s startup surge has been accompanied by an increase in investor interest as well. In 2018, startup investment reached a high not seen since the dot-com era, as local entrepreneurs brought in more than $600 million, according to The Oregonian. Given its promising funding numbers and close proximity to leading tech capitals, it’s no surprise that Portland has lately added a fresh new class of startups to its vibrant tech scene. While many of the city’s tech newbies are naturally delving in the cannabis industry, others are developing technologies that touch a wide range of sectors, from remote team management to environmental protection. In truth, Portland’s startups are a strong reflection of the city’s diversity and commitment to improving the quality of people’s lives, be it through social interaction or the conservation of the natural world. Here’s a look at 17 Portland startups bringing tech domination to the Beaver State.
Portland Startups to Know
- Stemless Co
- Rewire Neuroscience
Focus: Response Management
What they do: Located in nearby Beaverton, RFPIO offers a response management platform that helps businesses streamline their business proposal efforts, provide high-quality responses and develop additional revenue opportunities. The platform offers import and export capabilities, dashboards and reporting capabilities, an AI-powered recommendation engine, workflow integrations and RFP automation and intuitive design. Since its inception, RFPIO has raised $27 million in funding over three rounds.
Focus: Loyalty + Rewards Programs
What they do: Founded by David Nelsen, Bumped is committed to building meaningful relationships between brands and their customers. The company offers banks, brands and businesses the chance to reward customers in fractional shares of stock. Financial institutions and card issuers can use My Stock Rewards to create loyalty programs, while brands can deploy Bumped Enterprise to add stock options to their rewards programs.
What they do: Stemless Co helps cannabis dispensaries connect to their customers through the use of retail technology. Their platform allows users to easily and safely order from nearby dispensaries through their app, offering both pickup and delivery options. Stemless Co works with a variety of brands including Firehouse, Mind Rite, The Grass Shack and Magnolia Road.
Focus: Remote Team Management
What they do: Launched by Alex Mason and Matthew Hall, ChatFox aims to build remote team culture. The company offers creative icebreakers to help team members get to know each other, as well as online coffee chats for socializing and team shout outs. While ChatFox helps remote workers stay connected, the company also provides HR and management teams with data to help increase employee retention and engagement while defining employee technical and soft skills.
Focus: Biomedical Imaging Analysis
What they do: Rewire Neuroscience offers computer vision and machine learning services for biomedical image analysis in clinical, veterinary and research applications. The company develops a variety of laboratory equipment and analytics software including real-time freezer power monitoring and AI for analyzing biomedical images. Rewire Neuroscience’s own machine learning platform, Pipsqueak AI, provides the automation and standardization of biomedical image analysis.
Focus: Data Extraction + Application Acceleration
What they do: Created by former Intel employees, Megh Computing provides collections of codes to be used in field programmable gate arrays. Located in neighboring Hillsboro, the company enables the seamless acceleration of applications that process streams with machine learning and deep learning algorithms to extract value from data as it moves. Megh Computing’s aim is to enable the third wave of computing in the data center with scale-out FPGA-based accelerators.
What they do: Founded by Chris Rushing and Brendan Joyce, Emerald Metrics offers its hyper and multi-spectral technology to the cannabis industry. The company helps growers safeguard their crops, providing technology that detects anomalies in plant growth, identifies healthy clones, analyzes growing environments and monitors plant health. Emerald Metric aims to help cannabis growers combat pests, mold, mildew and poor plant health while decreasing costs and increasing yields.
Focus: Diagnostic Devices
What they do: Founded by Patti White and Peter Galen, Hemex Health develops affordable malaria and sickle cell diagnostic devices for underserved populations. The company is working on a diagnostic platform that can quickly and easily diagnose malaria and hemoglobin disorders from a drop of blood, providing point-of-care access to diagnostic information with greater cost-effectiveness and accuracy. Since its founding, Hemex Health has secured $6.8 million in funding over five rounds.
Focus: Open Source Monitoring + Workflow Automation
What they do: Established by Caleb Hailey and Sean Porter, Sensu offers an open source monitoring event pipeline. The company helps businesses automate their monitoring workflow and gain visibility into their infrastructure, applications and operations, enabling them to embrace auto-scaling with confidence and codify monitoring workflows. Sensu integrates with a wide range of platforms and tools including Elasticsearch, Splunk, PagerDuty and ServiceNow.
Focus: Digital Gift Cards
What they do: Mimble develops consumer technology for banks, enabling gifting within banks’ mobile apps. The company’s technology allows users to buy and send digital gift cards from local and national brands through their bank, offering users the option to upload their cards into a streamline mobile wallet. All digital gift cards purchased using Mimble come with a barcode, which can be simply scanned at a store register.
What they do: Apex Trading develops software tools needed to simplify wholesale cannabis operations, creating an environment in which buyers and sellers interact directly. The company helps sellers manage real-time inventory, quickly process orders, obtain sales and inventory reports and generate new leads, while making it easier for buyers to order from their current vendors and locate new vendors and products. Backed by $1.7 million in funding, Apex Trading is designed to facilitate multiple marketplaces, custom storefronts and data-rich dashboards.
Focus: Water Resources Protection + Environmental Initiatives
What they do: Gybe is dedicated to helping protect and improve water resources globally starting at the local level. Using data and satellite imagery, the company provides actionable information about sediment flows, excess nutrients and harmful algal blooms, enabling people to more cost-effectively manage environmental regulations, urban development and conservation, and restoration. Gybe is currently working on projects across the United States and Latin America such as a sustainability initiative in partnership with Anheuser-Busch, which analyzes the quality and supply of water for barley growers in eastern Idaho.
What they do: Launched by Andrew Lim and Devin Wiley, Circumvent Pharmaceuticals is committed to addressing the unmet needs of neurodegenerative disease patients. The company targets the heritable forms of neurodegeneration to enable drug discovery and development in both rare and common diseases. Circumvent Pharmaceuticals receives funding from Y Combinator, the Longevity Fund and Heritage Provider Network.
Focus: Lending Asset Management
What they do: Established by Mark Prior, Qualtik unlocks the information in loan documents so funds and banks don’t have to manage their commercial real estate assets in a spreadsheet. The company’s technology enables users to instantly access documents and even specific fields within them, providing real-time valuation, stress testing and modeling for both individual assets and entire portfolios. In addition to offering streamlined loan review and audit compliance, Qualtik allows users to generate reports for their Board of Directors and for management and regulatory purposes.
Focus: OKR Management
What they do: Koan has created a leadership platform that helps companies manage goals and OKRs across their organizations. The company helps its users build positive habits that impact long term results, foster strong communication, monitor progress, discover blockers and save time and resources. Koan integrates with a wide range of technologies including Slack Technologies, Okta, Zapier and Jira.
Focus: Fantasy Sports
What they do: GridRival has created a motorsports fantasy platform that enables enthusiasts to compete against their friends and other fans. On the platform, users can analyze their favorite drivers and teams, build the perfect line-up, chat with other users and get the latest motorsports news. GridRival can be accessed on mobile devices or laptops, giving users the chance to trade on the go.
Focus: Revenue Optimization + Business Analytics
What they do: Bridgetown AI offers an automated insights SaaS platform, utilizing analysis algorithms and natural language generation capability. The company’s platform enables companies to understand the metrics driving revenue, discover new opportunities for growth, determine where their money is most effectively allocated, develop behavior-based bundle and pricing strategies, and reduce customer acquisition cost. Bridgetown AI’s client base includes Schoolhouse Electric, Goodwell Co and Lacamas Laboratories.