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|Articles - September 2012|
|Monday, August 27, 2012|
Page 3 of 5
Making the case for investment
A founder of Handyman Online, Eric Doebele, who splits his time between Seattle and Portland, has invested in numerous tech startups, including Cloudability, Paydici and SweetSpot Diabetes. But when Devon Lyon, Doebele’s old painting buddy, approached him about investing in the Angel Punk project — Lyon is writer and director — Doebele was, initially, less than enthusiastic. “Film financing is a very unique beast,” says Doebele.
Oregon has spent the past decade nurturing a software and tech ecosystem that includes angel investors willing to take a risk on high-tech startups. Today, as independent filmmakers become more entrepreneurial, industry insiders hope to grow their own pool of angel investors. It’s not an easy task. Portland may be moving up the professional ladder, but, says Todd Freeman, “a lot of PDX is still seen as a sort of art-film community” and not for serious investors “who look at it as profit.”
Finding Oregon-based investors is an even tougher job, says Angel Punk writer Kevin Curry, who is relying on leads from New York and L.A. to help raise about $2 million to jump-start the film portion of Angel Punk. “In Oregon, people aren’t used to that funding model.”
Investors aren’t the only private-sector nut to crack. To help fund a three-picture deal (Execution Point, Titanium Man and The Contract), Cheezy Flicks’ Sean Skelding approached three different Oregon banks for a loan. He was met with the equivalent of a blank stare. “In L.A. and New York, banks do this every day,” says Skelding, who secured financing for his next movie, Deal Breaker, from a Southern California institution. Oregon has great scenery and great talent, says Skelding. But pushing the industry to the next level — and keeping Oregon talent from decamping to L.A. — will require getting banks and investors onboard.
To help make that happen, OMPA is one of several entities tossing around the idea of creating a $100 million film fund, a public-private endeavor that would allow Oregon filmmakers to produce bigger, more profitable movies. Doebele has a more modest proposal: education and solid business planning. “If producers can figure out ways to structure the investment, protect equity investors from the downside risk, then explain it to them in a way that makes sense — that’s really important,” he says.
In the end, the Relium team did just that — separating out the funding stream for the film and transmedia elements and courting tech investors who might be attracted to the project’s multimedia sensibilities. Doebele, for one, was sold. So far he has invested $100,000 in the project. “It is a fantastic business model,” he says.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
Everyone knows cell phones and driving are a lethal combination. The risk is especially high for teenage drivers, whose delusions of immortality pose such a threat to us all. Enforcement alas, remains feeble; more promising are pedagogical approaches aimed at getting people to focus on the road, not their devices.
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
As a general rule, the more people with autism can be provided with visual cues, the better they will be able to understand and manage their environment. It’s a lesson Tom Keating learned well. The 61-year-old Eugene grant writer spent 31 years taking care of his autistic brother James, and in the late 1980s developed a spreadsheet that created a series of nonsense characters that grew or shrank depending on how much money James had in his account.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
inDinero, a business that manages back-office accounting for startups and smaller companies, recently announced it would relocate its headquarters from San Francisco to Portland. We talked to CEO Jessica Mah about what drew her to Portland and how she plans to disrupt the traditional CPA model.
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN
Damian Smith bets on changing himself — and Portland — through consulting.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
BY APRIL STREETER
How the private sector can ride the next transit revolution.
Friday, March 20, 2015
BY OB STAFF
Join us to celebrate and network with Oregon’s best green workplaces!
Friday, March 06, 2015
BY JEFF DELKIN | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
As a local business owner, I believe it’s important to build our economy on a platform of conservation values.
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