BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
When I heard about Urban Airship moving into the Vestas building yesterday, I couldn't help but note the irony. Urban Airship, of course, is the wunderkind startup leading the Portland mobile app boom, landing millions in venture capital and hiring 30 people in under three months.
Then there’s Vestas, a company that rode the renewable energy boom yet built its new U.S. headquarters in the Pearl District just as the market for wind energy began to wane. The company had nearly 400 employees in Portland when it moved in last year; now, the number clocks in around 260.
A new energy business, Vestas aimed to displace the fossil fuel industry. Now it’s being displaced (in a manner of speaking) by the "new" new economy, exemplified by a company whose core technology enables "push" notification inside smartphone apps to alert users to breaking news, special deals or promotions.
Market demand for renewable energy is being superseded by demand for an increasingly specialized consumer experience. This is the way the wind is blowing.