By Ben Jacklet
Above: From left: Portland Seed Fund entrepreneurs include Tim Shields of Zinofile, Ken Levy of 4-Tell, Daniel Clancey of Homeschool Snowboarding, Sheetal Dube of AudioName, Jason Lander of Hively, Amber Case of Geoloqi and Nathan Taggart of LaunchSide.
Below: Angela Jackson and Jim Huston run the Portland Seed Fund. Huston says the quality of the seed fund applicants has surpassed his expectations.
// Photos by Anthony Pidgeon
Two weeks after becoming one of the first companies to receive startup money from the Portland Seed Fund, the 27-year-old co-founders of InvestorInMe sat down with their backers with some difficult news. The regulatory issues involved with their would-be business were proving more burdensome than they had realized. The company they had pitched, partly funded with public money, was dead on arrival.
The fund managers, serial entrepreneur and angel investor Angela Jackson and Intel Capital veteran Jim Huston, did not chastise the young entrepreneurs for failing to research the regulations more thoroughly. They did not kick themselves for lack of due diligence. Rather they applauded the youngsters for recognizing and admitting to the problem early, before wasting too much time. Then they got started on developing a backup idea, a website to connect technology startups with early adopters to test their technologies in return for free access.
The size of the investment for each company backed by the seed fund, $25,000, seems minor. But it can give a major boost to a young team like Nathan Taggart, Jason Collingwood and Chris Chong, who grew up as best friends in West Linn, started a business out of high school and set off on divergent careers with the expectation of reuniting to launch another company. When their InvestorInMe launch fizzled, they had a list of 40 other ideas to choose from. Several 60-plus-hour work weeks later, their new site, LaunchSide, was up and running. Its first offerings promote early access to other websites supported by the seed fund.