R/GA Ventures will lead a collaboration studio with six companies to develop new blockchain prototypes in the hopes of creating a “blockchain ecosystem” in Oregon.
It’s said that too many cooks spoil the broth, but as anyone who’s had the pleasure of biting into a sushi burrito will tell you, wonderful things can happen when different components come together to make something new.
More and more frequently, innovation leaders have been reaching out across disciplinary divides. Intel, for example, has reached out to neuroscientists in hopes of developing new avenues for memory and artificial intelligence.
Today, R/GA Ventures, a subsidiary of consultancy R/GA, announced their 15th tech collaboration studio, with the goal of innovating blockchain technology, as well as create a “blockchain ecosystem” Oregon.
The Oregon Enterprise Blockchain Venture Studio, which was first reported on by Oregon Business in September 2018, will be made up of six tech startups, selected from an applicant pool of more than a thousand. The group will work creatively and collaboratively to use the encrypted record-storing technology in new and potentially revolutionary ways.
The six startups selected to take part in the project are a diverse mix of healthcare, finance, education and technology innovators. All six startups provide solutions to 21st century business needs, and are at the forefront of blockchain technology.
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The companies selected to take part in the studio are Brave, a privacy-focused, ultra-speedy browsing platform; Chronicled, a record-keeping platform; Concord, a contract management platform; Everest, a blockchain value transfer and identity platform; qiibee, a company that use blockchain for company loyalty programs; and Patientory, a blockchain-based health data platform.
The project will be headquartered at R/GA’s Portland office at 423 NW 13th Avenue.
“These programs are great because everyone is benefitting,” says Patricia Choi, R/GA Portland’s vice president of technology. Choi says the studio will not only create prototypes, but will also build relationships between the selected startups and R/GA partners, which include Moda Health, blockchain research firm Smith + Crown, and OHSU.
The studio lays the groundwork for collaborations with R/GA Partners as well as with one another. R/GA will also allow these startups access to a wider array of resources to meet their needs. “We here at R/GA are uniquely positioned to make those connections,” she adds.
The project also aims to lay the groundwork for a blockchain ecosystem in Oregon. Director Dylan Boyd says the ability of companies to relocate to Oregon was a factor in the selection process. He believes Oregon is poised to be on the forefront of blockchain innovation, and any venture that didn’t attempt to reshape the region into a blockchain leader “wasn’t thinking big enough.”
“We hope this studio acts as a catalyst,” he says, citing Oregon’s friendly political environment towards innovators, as well as the state’s record with blockchain.
“Portland State has already launched a certificate, graduate certificate and undergraduate program in blockchain, so we can develop the next generation of founders, leaders, engineers and teams to build that ecosystem.”
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In addition to the accommodating business environment, Boyd says the state’s focus on internet privacy makes blockchain a natural fit for the state. “Our senators are pushing for privacy,” he says, “We have an amazing working relationship with our leaders in Oregon.”
The prototypes developed by the studio will debut once the project concludes in mid-October.
“The studio isn’t an accelerator. It isn’t an incubator. It’s where we bring all the right parties together to create sparks,” says Boyd.
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