PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On Friday night, most of the people at Portland Startup Weekend didn’t know each other — but by Monday, some of them will be quitting their day jobs and launching a new company together.
In a room of over a hundred people at local tech success story Puppet Labs headquarters in Northwest Portland, fourteen teams of entrepreneurial hopefuls race to get their product ready for the market.
Seriously, they’re racing: they’ve got 54 hours to do it.
“They do sleep, just not much,” said event facilitator Travis Cannon.
Although the startup events, hosted by the global non-profit, typically draw a mix of designers, programmers and business developers, anyone can try a new business idea on for size.
Companies range from a travel website to a coffee delivery app to organic salsa.
Portland’s Über supportive community of young and techy entrepreneurs is integral to the city’s economic success, said Cannon.
“Startups are very important here,” he said.
“It’s what keeps our economy going, we have these great companies that have grown up here and are doing very well, but it’s important that we have that next generation of companies coming along.”
Sunday night, judges will rate the teams on how viable their ideas actually are.
The winners of Portland Startup Weekend will receive (along with bragging rights) legal resources to form a corporate entity, technical training and, of course, snacks.
“It’s really about growing new businesses in Portland that will thrive here,” said Cannon.
Mentors including attorneys, successful designers and business developers help the hours-old companies on their way throughout the weekend.
Bringing the right people together
San Francisco based investor Dave McClure famously said a successful startup needs three things: hackers, hipsters and hustlers. That is, computer programmers, user experience designers and business developers.
The point of the event is to bring those people together.
“Portland’s best and brightest are here,” said 18-time startup weekend veteran Jeff Martens.
“There’s people in here with a ton of energy, passion and excitement from all different backgrounds.”
He said the supportive startup community in Portland is continually fuelling and attracting new companies and ideas.
“Portland has always had that pedigree of great tech companies, but there’s still a need for more education and more support, which is why events like this are important.”
The only thing missing from the weekend, according to volunteers?
About three dozen electrical outlets for busy teams to power through.