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|Thursday, October 11, 2012|
BY LINDA BAKER
A couple of years ago, Mike Gronholm’s girlfriend got him a Keurig single cup coffee maker for Christmas. Gronholm loved the gift, except for the disposable coffee filters. So he searched around until he found a company that made reusable filters, Ekobrew, based out of Mukilteo, Washington.
But even then all was not right with the world. Cleaning the minuscule coffee filter was virtually impossible, as was trying to fill the filters with coffee and not make a huge mess in the process.
Enter Single Cup Accessories, a start up that makes, well, accessories for reusable single cup coffee makers, including a polypropelene device that cleans the filter, Kleana-K, and another piece of equipment that measures and dispenses the coffee, Exacta-K.
Keurig is selling about 500,000 single cup coffee makers a month, says Gronholm, who eventually hopes to bundle the accessories and resuable filters and market the whole package to Costco. For now, he has 5,000 Kleana-Ks in his garage and "wants to sell the heck out of these things."
I met Gronholm last night at OEN’s PubTalk, where 10 aspiring entrepreneurs pitched their products and services to investors and an audience of about 75 people. The event was held in the Backspace, and the atmosphere was so upbeat, energetic and full of camaraderie, one couldn’t help but root for all the aspiring entrepreneurs — while agreeing with investor observations about what they liked and didn’t like about the entrepreneurial pitch.
Here are excerpts from a few of the 3-minute pitches, as well as feedback from panel members, who worked for or were affiliated with the Oregon Angel Fund: Scott Sandler, Eric Rosenfeld, Scott Grout, Leslie Nielsen and Terry St. Marie.
Kris Akins, CEO of BIKECOP, which makes a GPS-controlled anti theft device for bicycles, said a lagging "developmental timeline" was one of the company's weaknesses, and that she had put in place new technical team to hasten things along.
Feedback: “I appreciate your candor about weaknesses but leave that for the diligence.”
Paola Moretto’s CloudyDays provides testing solutions for cloud deployed applications.
Feedback: “I’m not excited about the name, Cloudydays, it’s kind of a downer.”
David Yasnoff pitched Ecentiv, a web-services company.
Feedback: “You have great stage presence but I’ve no idea what it is you do.”
Al Kari ended his pitch for mobile app company Lipsynq by saying the company had come up with four ways to make money, which he would tell everyone about later.
Feedback: "How you make money should be part of the pitch."
Green Innovations makes a machine converting waste oil into an alternative diesel product that costs about 70 percent less than conventional fuel. Asked about an exit strategy, cofounder Heber Miguel said the company launched just last week. An exit strategy? "We haven't thought of that."
Feedback: Honesty is always the best policy.
There were no “winners” at last night’s event. Rather, the PubTalk gave the entrepreneurs exposure and a chance to get feedback, said OENs Leslie Constans.
A few weeks ago, I noted the complete absence of women at OEN's Tom Holce awards. In addition to their impressive pitches and creative business ideas, the pubtalk's entrepreneurial crew were a noticably diverse bunch from both a gender and ethnic perspective, contributing to the scene's up beat, American Dream quality.
Linda Baker is managing editor of Oregon Business.
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CAMILLE GRIGSBY-ROCCA
Can the brave new world of neurotechnology help an OHSU surgeon find a cure for obesity?
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
Market of Choice is on a tear. In 2012 the 35-year-old Eugene-based grocery chain opened a central kitchen/distribution center in its hometown. The market opened a third Portland store in the Cedar Mill neighborhood this year; a Bend outpost broke ground in March. A fourth Portland location is slated for the inner southeast “LOCA” development, a mixed-use project featuring condos and retail. Revenues in 2014 were $175 million, a double-digit increase over 2013. CEO Rick Wright discusses growth, market trends and how he keeps new “foodie” grocery clerks happy.
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE
Revenues in Oregon's private, for profit sector maintained solid growth as the economy continued to rebound.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
BY DAN COOK
The state’s angel investing fund gets hammered in Salem.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
A new co-working model disrupts office sharing, child care and work-life balance as we know it.
Wednesday, August 05, 2015
BY KEN MAES
A huge migration from Northern California has contributed to average 16% growth per year since 1990.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
In 2010 Vanessa Keitges and several investors purchased Portland-based Columbia Green Technologies, a green-roof company. The 13-person firm has a 200% annual growth rate, exports 30% of its product to Canada and received its first infusion of venture capital in 2014 from Yaletown Venture Partners. CEO Keitges, 40, a Southern Oregon native who serves on President Obama’s Export Council, talks about market innovation, scaling small business and why Oregon is falling behind in green-roof construction.
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Yesterday, a divided National Labor Relations Board dropped another hammer on the employer community. In a long-awaited and much debated move, the Board jettisoned the decades old standard for determining when two independent businesses should be considered joint employers of an individual worker for collective bargaining purposes.
Transforming the culture of Oregon’s educational leadership.
The Board dismissed a petition related to efforts to unionize the Northwestern University football team.
Oregon Sick Leave is here, and changes to the federal white-collar worker regulations are on the way. This workshop will prepare you for both. We invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on how to start planning now for the future impact on your operations and finances.
Presented by OEN + CENTRL + YESpdx.
This Roundtable will cover numerous issues under the employer "shared responsibility" rules of the Affordable Care Act, including how to track the "full-time" status of variable-hour employees, temporary or seasonal employees, and employees who experience a change in status or a break in service. Additionally, we will provide a brief overview of Code sections 6055 and 6056, which require most mid-sized and large employers to submit their first information reports to the IRS in early 2016 regarding the health insurance coverage being offered to employees. We invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on how to prepare for the future impact of the shared responsibility rules on your operations and finances.