TechfestNW, Portland's annual gathering of technology and business leaders, innovators, students, startups and investors, is happening again May 21—and this year, founders could walk away with $125,000 to get their startup off the ground.

TechfestNW started in 2012 as a small gathering of local tech leaders but has grown to one that draws speakers and venture capitalists from all over the world.

COVID-19 pushed last year's event from April to December and moved it online. This year's event will be virtual as well.

As in previous years, TFNW culminates in PitchfestNW, a competition to pitch startup ideas to investors.

This year, there's a twist: TFNW organizers are partnering with Oregon Entrepreneurs Network to co-produce Angel Oregon Tech, an education program and investment event hosted by OEN to connect entrepreneurs with investors, mentors and founders.

This year's AOTech program will begin with a four-week workshop series in March, focused on whether and how to raise investment capital, then progress in April to a pitch competition for investment-ready startups.

The program will conclude at PitchfestNW, where the winning pitch will take away an angel investment up to $125,000.

"Joining forces is a great way to offer concrete, practical support and investment opportunities to entrepreneurs, while simultaneously engaging a much broader community in the innovation economy. TFNW is an exciting platform that has always offered high-caliber content, so we're proud to partner with them and support startups together," said Amanda Oborne, executive director of OEN.

TFNW director Anna Zusman said the festival is thrilled to be partnering with OEN this spring.

"As Oregon begins to build back from the pandemic, innovation and entrepreneurship will become more important than ever, so we are excited to provide this springboard for local startups," Zusman said.

Angel Oregon Tech is an evolution of Angel Oregon, an investment event hosted by OEN from 2005 to 2017. Angel Oregon facilitated the direct investment of $3.4 million into local startups by individual Pacific Northwest investors during its 12-year run, supporting more than 750 local jobs among finalist companies.

Information and tickets for all TechfestNW and Angel Oregon Tech events can be found at techfestnw.com. Entrepreneur and investor applications for Angel Oregon Tech opened Feb. 16. Standalone tickets for TFNW, which includes the AOTech Finale, will go on sale March 16.