Disclaimer: PIE co-founder Rick Turoczy works for WW's PDX conference.
Local tech startup incubator PIE
"graduated" its second class on Friday, Oct. 5 (yes, I'm behind on my coverage) at the Gerding Theater, with its now traditional "demo day," in which the participants pitch their new businesses to a public audience. Matthew Korfhage already wrote an excellent explanation of PIE and What It All Means
for the first demo day, so I won't even bother repeating all that, but here's a few notes from the presentation:
The big success story was Little Bird
, which had earlier that day announced
it had closed a $1 million round of seed funding, lead by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (A.K.A. "that guy from Shark Tank
"). Little Bird—formerly known as Plexus Engine—is the brainchild of former tech journalist and ReadWriteWeb
editor Marshall Kirkpatrick. In a nutshell, it calculates the most influential online voices on any given topic, generating a list of Twitter users, websites and stories driving discussion and opinion. Kirkpatrick used a similar system to predict what would be the next big stories when he was a writer, but Little Bird is pitched pretty squarely at marketing companies. Though it's hard to get excited about a product that helps people sell stuff to us more effectively, I did find myself wishing I had access to it a day later for research on a story, so maybe there's a broader market there than at first glance. Regardless, in my largely worthless opinion, I think it will be fabulously successful.
Also of note: Another PIE graduate was Michelle Rowley, who you may remember from a cover story I wrote called "Where the Tech is She?
" about the lack of women in Portland's tech industry. The all-female coding workshops mentioned in the article generated so much demand, Rowley decided to create a non-profit called Code Scouts
to teach women software development.
Also presenting: KS12
, a company making unique conference videos; AppThwack
, which runs a lab of mobile devices for developers to test their apps; Lytics
, which combines real-time online analytics with data analysis; and Stublisher
, a social platform for people to collate images, video, tweets, etc. from events like concerts and sports.
You can watch the whole thing on the videos below: