Portland Tech Startups Power Through a Summer of Highs and Lows—A Guest Roundup

9/11/09

Like many metropolitan areas, the Portland, OR, startup scene has had its share of ups and downs this summer. Some folks started new ventures, some won new customers and garnered funding, and some closed up shop. All in all, it was fairly balanced—especially given the economy.

But win or lose, there are still lessons to be learned—for startups everywhere. So we thought it would be wise to take some time to walk through some of the high points and low points.

Sure, Dave Chappelle inspired a gigantic Twitter flash mob, and Portland was named one of the most entrepreneurial cities. But if I had to tag the summer with one word, it would be this: mobile. Mobile development—be it iPhone apps, Android apps, or geolocation apps that span multiple platforms—has been on a tear in Portland, as of late. Fueled by early successes like Fieldrunners, the work of Spotlight Mobile, and iPhone-agency Small Society, we’ve seen more and more folks diving into the mobile space.

One of the most promising mobile companies isn’t a sexy app; it’s a company working to provide infrastructure that makes those apps run. Founded in June 2009, Urban Airship makes integrating Apple push notifications and in-app purchases easier on mobile developers by handling the heavy lifting and integration with Apple services. They’ve had some early wins with products like Tap Tap Revenge, Yowza!!, and Where—and they continue to gain traction in the development community.

Around here, iPhone development remains the dominant platform—at least as far as noise and interest goes—but there’s still a great deal of Android experimentation happening through Mobile Portland and some Android specific user groups.

Some more themes from the summer:

—Newer startups continue to gain traction

Mobile isn’t the only space that’s doing well. We’re still seeing a number of companies gaining traction.

Reductive Labs—the guys behind the open source configuration management solution, Puppetgarnered $2 million in Series A and promptly announced they were moving to Portland. … Next Page »

Rick Turoczy has been working in the Portland startup scene for the past 14 years. He writes Silicon Florist, a blog covering the startup Web, mobile, and open source projects in Portland and the surrounding area. Follow @

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  • http://www.gammapoint.com gamma-point

    Yes, Portland is becoming a hub for mobile development. After working on networking apps, desktop applications and web projects, we realized that mobile is going to rule from now onwards. So, we have founded GammaPoint-Portland Mobile Apps Development.