Sponsored by Lane Powell

Business accelerator mini-boom continues

| Print |  Email
Written by Linda Baker   
Wednesday, January 23, 2013

01.24.13 Thumbnail MentorNew business accelerators sprout, underscoring their importance to the entrepreneurial ecosystem while raising questions about incubator success rates.

BY This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | OREGON BUSINESS EDITOR

01.24.13 Blog MentorOregon may be a startup state, a region that is churning out entrepreneurs at a lightning pace.  But increasingly, it’s also becoming the accelerator state.  Over the past few years, almost a dozen business incubators have launched, including The Portland Seed FundPortland Incubator Experiment, TiE Westside IncubatorPortland State University Business Incubator, Founder's Pad, and the Sustainable Valley Technology Group.

As of this spring, add the following four to that list:

The corporate accelerator: Starting in March, Nike will host its first Nike+ Accelerator program, which will host 10 companies for a three-month immersive, mentor-driven startup accelerator. The Nike+ Accelerator will accept applications from companies aiming to use Nike+ technology to create products and services across a broad range of activity and health goals including training, coaching, gaming, data visualization and quantified self.

The university accelerator: Oregon State University recently launched a Venture Accelerator with $380,000 from the OSU College of Business, Office for Commercialization and Corporate Development, and the University Venture Development Fund. It’s designed to identify innovation or research findings that might form the basis for profitable companies, and streamline their development with the legal, marketing, financial and mentoring needs that turn good ideas into real-world businesses.

The signature research accelerator: This spring, the Oregon Translational Research and Development Institute (OTRADI) plans to open and operate a 13,000 square-foot multi-tenant bioscience complex in the South Waterfront district. The OTRADI Bioscience Incubator (OBI) will house up to six companies.

The farm accelerator: As the Oregonian reported yesterday, the pending Headwaters Farm incubator is designed to help aspiring small farmers gain skills and experience. It is owned by the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, which last May paid $1.5 million for 61 acres of the Schaeffer Nursery to turn it into a farm incubator.

In just a few short years, accelerators have become a inextricable part of the entrepreneurial landscape. But if they are an important part of the mix, their growing numbers also raise questions about overkill. There are now so many business accelerators in Oregon that accelerators themselves might be considered startups. And startups, as we all know, can fail. Already, at least two Oregon incubators have changed business models in the past year.

The proliferating number of  incubators also suggests they are becoming either an adjunct or substitute for college or graduate school programs, with accelerators churning out startups much as universities churn out new graduates. Since a successful incubator should be rated according to the success of participating companies,  I queried a few managers about the impact of their organizations. I will post responses as they come in.

Portland Incubator Experiment general manager Rick Turoczy provided the following estimates:

* More than 40 startups have come through PIE
* Those startups have generated more than $100 million in valuation
* Those startups have created more than 200 jobs in an industry with one of the highest average salaries
* One company has officially shut down
* Three companies have been acquired

Incubator efficacy is an especially timely issue in light of a recent study showing that venture capital investment in Oregon plunged nearly 50 percent last year to $124 million. Today, more people are going to college and fewer are landing well-paying jobs after graduation.  Today, more aspiring business owners are eager to jump on the incubator bandwagon. Whether they will actually create jobs or land capital post incubator experience is the question.

Updated: FoundersPad program manager Molly Mount reports that two sessions of founders have gone through the 12-week accelerator program since the company was conceived late 2011,  generating 25.5 new jobs and raising $620,000 to launch eleven new businesses. 



0 #1 Real Estate BrokerGuest 2013-01-26 00:25:11
When starting an incubator does one need to provide the ability for individuals to acquire loans or other methods of financial aid? Secondly, how can an incubator successfully aid in recruiting potential start up businesses especially local business?

Thank you
Randy L. Shaw
Quote | Report to administrator

More Articles

After the Orange Line

Linda Baker
Tuesday, September 08, 2015
090815-trimet-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

Alan Lehto, TriMet's director of policy & planning, shares a few thoughts on ride sharing and more nimble bus services.


Run, Nick, Run

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

Controversial track star Nick Symmonds is leveraging his celebrity to grow a performance chewing-gum brand. Fans hail his marketing ploys as genius. Critics dub them shameless.


Big Trouble in China?

Guest Blog
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
0818-wellmanthumbBY JASON NORRIS | CFA

Earlier this month, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) announced they were going to devalue their currency, the Renminbi. While the amount of the targeted change was to be roughly 2 percent, investors read a lot more into the move. The Renminbi had been gradually appreciating against the U.S. dollar (see chart) as to attempt to alleviate concerns of being labeled a currency manipulator.


Reader Input: In or Out

October 2015
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The refugee crisis has put immigration and border issues on the front burner, in Europe and at home. In Oregon, attitudes toward illegal immigration haven’t changed dramatically since 2006.


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?


Money Troubles

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015

The state’s angel investing fund gets hammered in Salem.


5 marijuana business people share strategy ahead of recreational sales rollout

The Latest
Thursday, September 17, 2015

Ahead of the recreational rollout, what are dispensary owners most concerned about ?

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02