Last week, RAIN Eugene held their “State of the Startup Ecosystem” address, where they highlighted the latest companies emerging from their accelerator program. The event was sold out with nearly 500 people attending, and the startup vibe was contagious. To top things off, our beloved past Venture Catalyst and Tech Alliance president, Jim Coonan, delivered the opening presentation.
An interesting aspect to RAIN is that they support a wide range of industry segments. Startups included everything from bicycles (bikefriday.com), to margarita mix that was really damn good (lolasfruitshrubs.com), distilled spirits (swallowtailspirits.com) and fancy leather notebooks (bullandstash.com).
On the tech side, they showcased a biotech firms NemaMetrix (nemametrix.com) and Miracle Query. Software included a restaurant rewards program called KlubHub (klubhub.com), a restaurant employee training product (waitrainer.com) and on the hardware side, a product that helps students learn STEM using a really compact all-in-one electronics / oscilloscope kit (lumidax.com).
And while the conference was certainly the highlight of the trip, I was also able to spend some time with Mark Davis from CodeChops (codechops.com), a coworking space for tech professionals in Eugene. Mark organized a meeting with some of the leaders in the local startup community, and even provided pizza (what a guy). If you need a cool place to work in downtown Eugene, this is the place to be.
And to top it all off, I spent some time with Shula Jaron, the executive director of Fertilab Thinkubator, a local biotech accelerator. They’re moving into a new location right up the street from CodeChops and already had NemaMetrix in there working on important-looking research using microscopes and other gear. Very cool stuff. I can’t wait to head back there, and I hope that we can create a bridge of some sort between their startup ecosystem and ours in Central Oregon. We have a lot in common, and I believe both communities could benefit from sharing resources and supporting the growth of startups across the entire state.
To wrap it up, I created a quick snapshot of the startup community that I was able to tap into, and I hope it piques your interest in visiting Eugene and connecting with some of these organizations:
He loves to write code, is passionate about design, and runs StartupCommunity.org as a side hobby. He sold his previous company that he started in Bend, 'The Social Business' to Innovation Garden in New York.
You can reach James by email at [email protected].
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