Sponsored by Oregon Business

Seed synergy

| Print |  Email
Articles - November 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
The perspective that comes from experience, and the willingness to share it openly, offers valuable insight to these entrepreneurs who were selected by the Portland Seed Fund to receive startup funding.
// Photo by Anthony Pidgeon
The company is in the rare position of participating in two seed fund experiments simultaneously. In addition to the Portland fund, Vizify is also supported by the TechStars program in Seattle. TechStars is a popular business accelerator with outposts in Boulder, Boston and New York as well as Seattle. The Vizify co-founders have rented a place in Seattle and are spending a lot of time commuting between the two cities. But Silverstein says the plan is to build the company in Portland. “There’s more momentum around the startup scene in Portland,” he says. “I’m astounded by the level of talent here. What’s been missing has been the people who can bring everyone together. That’s what Jim and Angela have been able to do with the seed fund.”

Huston is a veteran of Intel Capital who has been connecting entrepreneurs with money since Netscape went public in 1995. He says the quality of the seed fund applicants has surpassed his expectations.

Jackson is a serial entrepreneur and early-stage investor who is only half joking when she says that her past jobs of leading inexperienced sailors on sea voyages and working with juvenile delinquents were the perfect preparation for serving as camp counselor for budding entrepreneurs. Her ample experience as an angel investor also gives her a powerful perspective on how to do a lot with a little.

Of course, the ultimate goal is for these seeds to grow into a complex ecosystem. That ecosystem was already growing when the Portland Seed Fund was established, due in part to the efforts and initiatives of the Oregon Angel Fund, the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network, Silicon Florist blogger Rick Turoczy, Starve-Ups, the Portland Angel Network and other organizations. But it has not produced anywhere near the level of variety and riches that have taken root in San Francisco and Seattle.

Huston, Jackson and their colleagues and protégés hope to use the fund as a tool to chip away at the sizable gap between Portland and the powerful tech centers to the north and south. Their chosen companies will present their ideas to prospective investors at Ziba Design headquarters in the Pearl District during an all-day event scheduled for Nov. 2. Beyond that, they plan to repeat the seed fund process next year, learning and adapting as they go.

Ben Jacklet is a Portland-based journalist and former managing editor of Oregon Business. He can be reached at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



More Articles

The God complex

Linda Baker
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
093015-zydellren-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

The media coverage about Pope Francis must have put me in a Biblical frame of mind. Because after touring the latest phase of the South Waterfront development, a mind boggling 1.5 million square feet of office and retail space that will spring up north of the aerial tram over the next few years, I couldn’t stop thinking about the massive project as a modern day creation story.


Reader Input: School Choice

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015

Which of the following would be most effective in reducing the cost of operating a public university in Oregon?


Cream of the Crop

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

Bill Levy of Pacific Ag talked to Oregon Business about new residue markets, the company’s growth strategy and why a biofuel plant is like a large cow.


Big Geek

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

To attract technology companies, the U.S. Bancorp Tower repositions itself as open, light and playful.


Living the dream

Friday, August 21, 2015

smugglespearsthumbRenee Spears, founder and owner of Portland-based Rose City Mortgage, is hot to trot to sell pot.


Child care challenge

September 2015
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
0927OHSUhealthystarts-thumbBY KIM MOORE AND LINDA BAKER

Child care in Oregon is expensive and hard to find. We delved into the numbers and talked to a few executives and managers about day care costs, accessibility and work-life balance.


Down on the Bayou

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

A Power Lunch at Zydeco Kitchen and Cocktails in Bend.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02