The Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE), the collaboration between ad firm Wieden + Kennedy and the thriving local tech startup community, announced today the seven groups that they will be mentoring this year.
This batch of new tech firms—some in their earliest development stages; others fully funded—was chosen from a pool of over 400 applicants from around the world and features five groups from Portland, one from Eugene, and another from Santa Monica, California.
"I'm really looking forward to the challenge ahead of us with this class," says PIE co-founder Rick Turoczy. "The maturity of the companies and the depth of experience of the entrepreneurs is impressive."
As with the previous two sessions that PIE has hosted, these seven startups will be provided with office space at W+K and $20,000 in seed money, and will receive three months of mentorship from former PIE participants and folk from other successful tech ventures.
Here are the lucky seven:
- Carrot, a Eugene-based company whose program posts users' experiences with a smartphone app to the users' Facebook page.
- Orchestrate, a service that aims to help developers of web and smartphone apps by managing databases and offering features such as recommendations and location search.
- Splash, the California-based creators of a smartphone-only social network app.
- Smart Mocha, Portland designers of a wireless sensor that physically connects to a server and feeds a pre-programmed batch of information (inventory changes, spikes in traffic, etc.) to another computer.
- Switchboard, a college-specific Craigslist-like board for current and former students, administrators and parents, created by Reed College alums.
- Stand In, a Photoshop plugin that allows designers/developers to cook up an iPhone or iPad app without having to be experts in coding.
- FX Serve, a local group developing software to allow designers to insert dynamic content into videos.
Orchestrate provides an interesting case as the startup has already raised $3 million in capital to support their project, more than enough to pay for the kind of services that PIE has to offer. But according to Orchestrate co-founder Tony Falco, the program and mentoring are just what his company needs at this point in their development.
"In today's world, the idea is to get your product in front of people as fast as possible to get feedback," he told WW recently. "Partnering with PIE means that we can get the resources and support and skills we need to focus on the product itself. I think we'd be really hard pressed at this early stage to find someone that has the breadth of experience in as many different parts of the tech world that PIE can provide."
Turoczy also points out that Smart Mocha also represents a pretty exciting opportunity for PIE as the company is made up of "co-founders who have already been part of PIE in the past, making them our first 'second generation' startup. Getting the chance to work with these companies promises to strengthen our ability to support a wider variety of startups."