Sponsored by Oregon Business

Young business leaders ignite startup scene

| Print |  Email
Articles - August 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010

0810_NewMoney08
The NedSpace/Starve Ups ethic values collaboration over competition, giving rise to a tightly knit community of young Portland entrepreneurs.
Friedman’s partner in launching NedSpace and proposing the new Portland seed fund, Mark Grimes, is much older than most of his NedSpace peers at 48. But it would be hard to find an entrepreneur younger at heart.

Here is how Grimes describes his exit from the first of four businesses he has launched: “After about two years I got bored, sold it, started doing other things.”

Here’s his take on innovation: “The half-baked notion where you don’t even know what the product is or what the market will be, that’s what’s exciting to me. That’s where true innovation comes from.”

Grimes says all of the companies he’s founded, including the web advertising agency he launched in 1996, Eyescream Interactive, were profitable within 90 days in spite of not having business plans. But he got hit badly by the dot-com crash and Eyescream collapsed in 2001.

“A handful of really bad things happened as a result of having a five-year lease with a personal guarantee,” says Grimes. “It was not a pleasant time, but we did not have to file for bankruptcy and all the staff was paid.”

Even that grisly business experience could not beat the entrepreneurial zeal out of Grimes. He’s invested in a dozen companies in Portland and San Diego, launched a philanthropic water service, helped organize a Maker Faire in Ghana and placed more than 7,000 loans through Kiva, an online micro-lending program that connects investors from rich countries with entrepreneurs in poor countries. He hopes to take the NedSpace concept, a “cross-pollination of experience and ideas” as he describes it, and expand it nationally along with the high-volume, small-scale seed fund that he believes would complement it neatly.

His vision for such a fund involves seeding between 20 and 50 companies per year with $25,000 to $100,000 each. Grimes insists that spreading the investments widely would produce better results than mega-investments in one or two enterprises (think ethanol plants). “Are a third of them going to fail? Absolutely. We’re going to say that going into it,” he says. “Or maybe 20% or 25% will fail. But plenty will succeed. And what’s fail anyhow? If it employs people for a year and brings in taxes, is it a failure?”

Grimes argues that the successes resulting from such a program would bring further successes, improving Portland’s reputation as a city eager to host entrepreneurs, as opposed to an environment hostile to business. “If money is flowing through the city to start-up companies, people will move to Portland to start up companies,” he predicts. “You can do amazing things for startup companies with just $25,000 to $100,000.”


 

Comments   

 
Kent Lewis
0 #1 Build & KeepKent Lewis 2010-08-09 07:56:42
Excellent article, and kudos to the entrepreneurial team featured in this article. As a friend, vendor and partner of many of the entrepreneurs in this article, I can say the cause, and their achievements are legit. Looking forward to seeing more funding and entrepreneurial resources available in Portland in the near future.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

All Rise

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Don’t just sit there. For a healthy workplace, move up and down — and all around.


Read more...

ZoomCare rolls out new on-demand health clinics

News
Monday, March 02, 2015
zoomcarethumbBY KIM MOORE |  OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Portland-based healthcare provider ZoomCare said it plans to “remake American healthcare” by expanding its on-demand urgent care model to emergency, surgery, dental and primary care, among others.


Read more...

Are wolves good for business?

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 06, 2015
030615-wolf-thumbBY 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.  


Read more...

Power Players

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY ROBERT MULLIN

A new energy-sharing agreement sparks concerns about independence and collaboration in the region's utility industry.


Read more...

Emperor of the Sea

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan

Pacific Seafood, one of the world’s largest processors, is rebranding as a more transparent and consumer-friendly operation. A controversial CEO and monopoly accusations from coastal fishermen complicate the tale.


Read more...

Oregon Business expands events portfolio

The Latest
Friday, March 27, 2015
htctfacebookBY OB STAFF

New events series brings magazine to life.


Read more...

2015 100 Best companies announced

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
IMG 0022cneditBY OB STAFF

The 100 Best list recognizes large, medium and small companies for excellence in work environment, management and communications, decision-making and trust, career development and learning, and benefits and compensation.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS