Self-proclaimed dorks shape Portland startup scene


Led by young entrepreneurs like Puppet Labs CEO Luke Kanies, Portland’s tech startup scene is beginning to attract millions in venture capital.

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Led by young entrepreneurs like Puppet Labs CEO Luke Kanies, Portland’s tech startup scene is beginning to attract millions in venture capital.

In the past year, venture capitalists have begun investing in Portland’s tech startups at an accelerated rate: Venture capital investments in Portland nearly tripled in a year to $140 million in 2010—the highest numbers since the dot-com bubble, with software startups accounting for $60 million of that total.

While Mark Zuckerberg is rumored to be shopping for a house in Portland, the city is already sprouting wunderkinds who want to invent the next Facebook. They’re entrepreneurs like Kanies: brash, hyperactive, self-proclaimed “dorks” risking investors’ bankrolls on inventions they haven’t proven are profitable.

The pace and arrogance of these startup gamblers is evident in people like Kanies. Take the way he dismisses Tektronix, the wildly successful Beaverton oscilloscope manufacturer that launched the Silicon Forest in the 1970s and spun off international software firms like Mentor Graphics and Metheus Corporation. Told that Tektronix is planning to open a museum in Beaverton, Kanies replies: “They are a museum now.”

Read more at Willamette Week.

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