Portland Tech Startups Power Through a Summer of Highs and Lows—A Guest Roundup

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Iterasi, which launched at DEMO in 2008, retooled its Web archiving offering to focus on public relations professionals—a move that carried with it a more lucrative revenue stream. And Ontier—another DEMO alum—released its awaited Pixetell product to the market.

—Established startups see success as well

It’s not just the young upstarts in town who are doing well. Some of the more established startups made headlines as well.

JanRain had a series of wins for its federated login product, RPX, with mainstream companies like Sears, KMart, and Google. Webtrends, one of the old guard from the Portland dotcom heyday, partnered with Radian6, acquired Seattle-based Widemile, and released a new version of its popular analytics suite.

But the big winner this summer has to be Jive Software. After taking a great deal of flak for cutting fast and cutting deep as the economy started to crater, the company has burst back on to the scene with a vengeance. It has signed a partnership with SAP, landed customers like Lufthansa and Toshiba, and has recorded ever increasing sales quarter over quarter.

In fact, Jive has even opened a Palo Alto office to keep up with the demand. And with all of those new users, now seemed as good a time as any to launch Jive’s first user group, JiveWorld.

—And then there’s the bad news

Unfortunately, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns this summer. Portland took its share of black eyes and stumbles, as well.

The most damaging blow was the loss of CubeSpace, a co-working space that had served as the de facto hub of the burgeoning Web, mobile, and open source startup communities. The space served as the meeting space for any number of ‘Camps, the weekly gathering spot for most of the tech user groups, and the base of operations for a number of tech startups. And while the town is still recovering from the loss, we’re starting to see some new ventures rising from the ashes. Like NedSpace and the Leftbank Project, which are becoming thriving co-working spaces in their own right, helping to fill some of the void left by CubeSpace.

SplashCast—one of the few recent Portland Web startups to garner a sizable chunk of fundingclosed its doors in August. OpenSourcery, a local open source development shop that’s very active in the Drupal community, made some deep cuts to its staff.

And, of course, Portland continued to attract talented individuals who continue to remain unemployed.

—Fall looks promising as summer draws to a close

So that is how it looked here in the Rose City, this summer. Some ups. Some downs. Some progress. Some failures. But activity, nonetheless.

How’s fall looking? The mobile scene will continue to thrive. Portland will see its open source scene remain strong. And we’ll gather for a few more ‘Camps, like WordCamp Portland and WhereCamp PDX.

As for the economy and the unemployment, we’re nowhere near out of the woods. But as we enter the rainy season, there are forecasts of a few rainbows here and there.

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Rick Turoczy has been working in the Portland startup scene for the past 14 years. He writes Silicon Florist, a blog covering the startup Web, mobile, and open source projects in Portland and the surrounding area. Follow @

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One response to “Portland Tech Startups Power Through a Summer of Highs and Lows—A Guest Roundup”

  1. Yes, Portland is becoming a hub for mobile development. After working on networking apps, desktop applications and web projects, we realized that mobile is going to rule from now onwards. So, we have founded GammaPoint-Portland Mobile Apps Development.