StumpTalk: Puppet Labs Pulls Strings, Brings More Investment to Techlandia
Thursday, January 24th 2013 by McBru
The year is certainly getting off to an exciting—and lucrative—start for Portland start-ups. Local IT automation solutions provider Puppet Labs revealed a $30 million investment and strategic partnership with virtualization giant, VMware. This after Janrain blazed the big money trail last week with its $33 million funding deal. According to Puppet Labs’ news release and blog post on the details of the partnership, the companies’ shared goal is for IT organizations to better manage and automate their infrastructure, helping users realize the agility of virtualization and cloud. VMware will enable Puppet Labs to accelerate product development, increase market adoption in new geographies and deliver, market and sell its products.
Speaking of selling more products, Act-On Software is on a continued growth trajectory. An OregonLive article this week reported the Beaverton-based marketing software company nearly tripled revenue in 2012 and the startup’s workforce doubled to more than 150. This is after it reportedly quadrupled its sales in 2011.
Fresh investments are helping two of Portland’s earliest ISPs merge. EasyStreet and Infinity Internet both host computer networks in centralized data centers and uniting will make them more competitive in the cloud computing market. The Oregonian reported Infinity will close its Vancouver, WA offices, but the combined operation will retain most of Infinity's employees and consolidate at EasyStreet's Beaverton headquarters. The newly consolidated EasyStreet will employ more than 50, and the company plans to add a dozen more jobs this year.
Also this week, GeekWire profiled Portland’s own ShopIgniter in its Startup Spotlight series. Read the interview with CEO Matt Compton to learn more about how the company is looking to lead the charge in social commerce.
Check back next Thursday for more StumpTalk.
Technology Industry Growth Lands Portland Among Top 25 Best-Performing Cities in the U.S. in 2012
Wednesday, January 23rd 2013 by Skip Newberry
This past Friday, the Miliken Institute released a study of the top 25 best-performing cities in the U.S. Portland was in the top 25, and it jumped 42 spots from 65 to 23 from 2011 to 2012. The following quote is compelling:
"Not only does Portland boast the sixth-highest concentration of high-tech output in the country, it outperformed the national average in high-tech output growth by 5 percentage points—the third-fastest region. Computer product manufacturing, especially semiconductors, combined with scientific and technical services to add more than 4,400 mostly high- paying jobs."
The full report can be downloaded here. Data specific to the Portland-Vancouver Region can be found on page 22 of the report.
Why You Should Move to Oregon As Presented at PuppetConf 2012
Tuesday, October 9th 2012 by Skip Newberry
Like many technology hubs in the US, tech companies in the Greater Portland area are expanding—some rapidly. These companies are scrambling for talent in Oregon and elsewhere. Last Friday I joined Jared Wiener of the Portland Development Commission (PDC) and Eric Sorenson of Puppet Labs in San Francisco for PuppetConf 2012. The three of us put together a presentation titled "Why you should move to Portland”.
Our presentation targeted the over 750 software and IT professionals who were attending Puppet Labs’ annual user conference. Considering our talk was unabashedly presented as a sales pitch to attendees of a technical user conference, neither I nor my fellow presenters had any idea what kind of turnout to expect. We were pleasantly surprised when the room filled to capacity and then some.
Our message was simple: The Portland area has a vibrant food scene, close proximity to beautiful outdoor destinations, great transportation infrastructure, quality schools, and an otherwise high quality of life. Besides these world class amenities you may already be aware of, it has a technology industry that has been quietly growing, with innovative, high-growth startups, important R&D centers of globally dominant companies such as Intel, and IBM, and a depth and breadth of companies in mobile, open source, and enterprise class software solutions.
Jared and I shared some data on Oregon’s technology industry, highlighted representative companies, discussed the coordinated programs that are supporting our current companies and helpinge develop the ones in their infancy. We interlaced the talk with some fun facts about Portland’s lauded quality of life. The highlight of the presentation, however, was Eric’s story. Eric left a comfortable position at Apple this summer to join Puppet Labs in Portland after 15 years in the Bay Area. He brought with him his wife, son, and two dogs. In the three-plus months he and his family have been living in Portland, they have managed to plug into various community groups, software user groups, and activities. A copy of our PowerPoint presentation is available here: www.techoregon.org/resource/resmgr/Docs/PuppetConf_Presentation_09_2.pdf
Top Tech Talent is Getting It Done in Portland
Monday, July 23rd 2012 by Jared WienerThe Portland tech scene is in the midst of resurgence and companies are developing innovative solutions to the problems faced by businesses and customers across the world. But it’s not just the products and ideas that make our tech industry seem so promising, it’s the influx of highly skilled and talented individuals in this field who are choosing to work out of Portland to "create what’s next” in the industry.
Simple is reinventing personal banking with a modern online and mobile experience, no surprise fees, and great customer service. They promise to take care of you and let the banks take care of your money. Simple chose to relocate to Portland less than a year ago and last week ramped up their product release. To accomplish this milestone, Simple is relying on leading technical talent.
Simple was started out of founder Josh Reich’s frustrations with the American banking system. Josh has played leading roles in tech startups such as CTO, Chief Strategist, and Director of Technical Research in his work history. Add to that CEO and co-founder with Simple. He is well-regarded for his strong analytical talents, leadership ability, and the skill to grasp the entirety of a situation. As proof of that, Josh added Alex Payne as a co-founder and technology expert to the team. Before joining Simple, Alex worked at Twitter where he was one of the company’s first hires. While at Twitter, Alex worked primarily on building the company’s developer platform, and later on the service’s core infrastructure. And the talent at Simple expands beyond the co-founders. According to Simple’s Director of Finance Ryan Hildebrand:
"Simple moved its HQ to Portland from Brooklyn and San Francisco for a combination of reasons. We are reinventing a centuries-old industry that has grown too complex… Portland provides the right environment for us to grow our team and solidify our culture. We found that we have access to a strong technical community and are proud to be in a growing startup center. Portland offers a great quality of life that has already attracted a number of our engineers to make the move from all over the world. Further, the city gives us access to a pool of creative, intelligent, and affordable talent.”
"Portland offers all of the usual amenities of a big city with a cost of living and work-life-balance that is unheard of in many metropolitan areas. The food, wine, and nightlife scene is on par with, and arguably better, than many bigger cities. Specific to technology, but by removing ourselves from the echo chamber of San Francisco, we're better able to focus on our products and customers. It also lets us fly under the radar a bit more.”It seems the top tech talent is catching on to what we already know. Portland is a great community where people are willing to work together, it’s an affordable place to live, and it allows you to focus in and get things done.
Jared Wiener, PDC, Software Industry Liaison
Did Techlandia Experience the Recession?
Friday, April 20th 2012 by Jared Wiener
The recent recession – often referred to as the Global Recession, the Great Recession, the Little Depression, The Great Reset, the Bush Recession or the Obama Recession depending on whom you ask, has had a profound effect on our economy. Many businesses went under; workers lost jobs; investment accounts suffered, forcing delays in retirement plans; and the value of many homes decreased to "underwater” levels. So how did the technology industry or Oregon and Greater Portland fare during this difficult time? The short answer is better than most. While the negative effects of the recession are still being felt, the downturn ushered in a new wave of entrepreneurship and creativity as old economic models broke down. Elemental Technologies, Puppet Labs, Urban Airship, Thetus Corporation, Simple and many others have been able to hire workers, develop a profitable business plan and raise capital. In fact, companies in the Techlandia community raised more than $100 million in funding in 2011 alone! The software/tech industry’s ability to minimize the impacts of the largest economic loss in recent history is a testament to its strength in the region.The performance of Techlandia companies relative to the U.S. – and the change over time – is particularly informative. Software employment in the region increased by more than 1,300 jobs since the start of the recession in 2007. The computer and electronics industry across Oregon did experience employment reductions, but has lost only six percent of its employment levels since 2007 compared to the national loss of 13%.
And while the job numbers present a mixed picture, wages have continued their upward climb or held constant. In fact, wages increased by an equal or greater percentage across Oregon compared to the US in all but one of Techlandia’s industry sectors (BLS, 2007-2010 annual wage data, U.S. Totals and State of Oregon Total).Wages and employment strength in Techlandia industries are strong compared to national averages and other industries in Portland and Oregon. This is particularly valuable since a larger portion of Portland and Oregon workers are employed by technology industries than the nation as a whole. This data reasserts the value and importance of the Techlandia partnership to our economy and society.
Want to see more data? Check out Techlandia’s recently updated Industry Data page.