Investing In Oregon
There has been a wave of venture capital investments coming into Oregon in 2018. Micro Funds and Angel Investor networks have been increasingly more active while larger funds and corporate venture arms from outside of the state are finally starting to realize the value of looking above the border of California. That's right, "Oregon is Above California" as the whimsical tee-shirt from @Grafletics puts it.
Yes, VC investments have produced great exits in the Pacific Northwest market over the past decade but the aggregate size of investments and relative exit value has yet to be loud and clear to those who do not operate in this market on a regular basis. The big news this week is that Puppet, a Portland-based software company raised $42M in new financing from CISCO, Kleiner Perkins, VMware, and EDBI Singapore. This is on the heels of an earlier $88M raise in 2014 and $22M in debt financing a few years ago. Additional venture investment announcements in Oregon coming in this year include a whopping $200M forJama Software, $25 million for Urban Airship, $50M for Vetsource (I like this one and so do the folks at MARS), and $15M for Rigado who is living on the edge with IOT and one of my top picks for an early exit opportunity.
The deal flow in Oregon is rapidly coming into it's own and although we hear mostly about technology investments lets not forget that there is also plenty of opportunity in consumer facing product companies as well. Now that the sun is out in the PNW be on the lookout for additional investments in companies that fall into this category. If you do not know about Salt & Straw just take a walk past the Portland, OR location on NW 23rd Street or my favorite brand extension of theirs Wiz Bang Bar on SW 2nd Street and feel the buzz in the air. The recent investment they received has allowed for growth in key markets and with the buzz in the air and a pop culture Instagram following look out for continued demand of this popular brand. Ice Cream like this does not have time to melt simply because it gets consumed so fast.