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|Articles - January 2011|
|Thursday, December 16, 2010|
Raghu Raghavan was building web apps before there were web apps, and selling software-as-a-service before there was SaaS. A native of Bangalore, India, who came to Oregon to join the then-tiny team at Mentor Graphics in 1983, Raghavan plans to build his new email marketing company, Act-On, from a dozen employees to more than 30 by the end of 2011. And he plans to do so in Oregon, not Silicon Valley.
His desire to keep his business local flows from experience. Raghavan co-founded Responsys in 1998 and moved that company from Oregon to California partly to appease investors who had poured “a mountain of money” into the company – north of $60 million. Then came the dot-com crash, followed by what Raghavan calls “intense investor meddling.” The company barely survived the bloodbath. “They decimated the Oregon team and left all the underperforming guys in Silicon Valley,” says Raghavan. “It was awful.”
Raghavan and his team ended up saving Responsys from collapse and turning the company around (it recently filed for an initial public offering that could prove quite profitable for Raghavan), but not before vowing never again. So in the fall of 2009, when a major California firm offered $5 million to grow Act-On with the condition that he move the company to the valley, Raghavan declined. “It’s our idea,” he says. “We built it. And it’s going to succeed where we are.”
Raghavan decided to grow the company on his own, hiring salespeople to prove customers were interested in Act-On’s all-in-one marketing package. In November he landed $4 million from Voyager Capital and U.S. Venture Partners, along with a promise that the investment team was not interested in forced relocations.
Raghavan says Act-On sells its services to 160 customers, among them Siemens, Motorola and Roseburg Forest Products. He’s developed a sales team in Sacramento and a technical team in Bangalore, but the bulk of the resources are going into Oregon. The company is expected to grow out of its office space in Beaverton soon, and Raghavan is considering moving to Portland’s central eastside, a lively neighborhood for innovative young companies.
Raghavan says he likes what he sees in Oregon’s tech sector, especially as technical advances continue to bring down the costs of launching startups. “It will never be like Silicon Valley here,” he says. “But we don’t need that. As long as we have a steady number of new companies doing well, that’s right for Portland.”
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
A conversation with Oregon state economist Josh Lehner.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:
The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace.
Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.
This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay.
Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.
New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”
That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!
Thursday, November 20, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR
Each month for Oregon Business, we assess factors that are shaping current capital market activity—and what they mean to investors. Here we take a look at two major developments regarding possible rollbacks of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Peter Lizotte at ACME Business Solutions and Roger Busse at Pacific Continental Bank share their favorite reads.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY
Lawger upends the typical hourly based fee model by letting clients determine the cost.
Friday, October 31, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Why are there so few transportation startups in Portland? The city’s leadership in bike, transit and pedestrian transportation has been well-documented. But that was then — when government and nonprofits paved the way for a new, less auto centric way of life.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
BY OB STAFF
Farmers, grocery stores and food processors cash in on kale.
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