Startup resources continue to pop up in Bend. The latest is Starve Ups, an Oregon startup accelerator that is opening a chapter here. Founders and other interested parties can learn more at Starve Ups’ chapter launch event April 9 at 5:30 p.m. at BendTECH.
There are lots of interesting things to know about Starve Ups, which actually calls itself a “scalerator.” More on that in a minute. Executive Director John Friess explained that Starve Ups is an “accelerator started by founders and for founders.”
The nonprofit is a scalerator because the program serves startup founders from the inception of their company through acquisition. “It’s end-to-end,” John says. “It’s the whole life cycle of your company.”
To that point, the nonprofit’s programming includes helping member founders raise money, refine their pitches, grow their companies, tee them up for an exit, and then walk them through one. The model relies on experienced founders supporting newer entrepreneurs. “When you get in, you immediately have 267 co-founders,” John says.
Starve Ups doesn’t ask for equity from participating startups. But John says the organization does ask that founders commit their time to being involved with their class of same-stage founders and then give back to other founders as their businesses progress.
He notes that the application addresses three topics: Whether a founder’s life would be incomplete if he or she didn’t start this business, the founder’s commitment to the startup, and whether the founder has the pay-it-forward gene in his or her DNA.
The model has certainly offered startup founders a lot of support–and success. In Starve Ups’ 18 years, the website notes that their founders have been 4 times more likely to exit and 4 times more likely to raise money.
Participating companies are usually early stage, say from six months to three years old. The accelerator works with startups across various industries and sectors including consumer products, tech and outdoor. Some recognizable alum include Jive, Ruby Receptionists, Rumblefish, Wired.md, Pitch Dark Modern American Chocolate and Red Duck Foods. Women and minority founders make up 43% of Starve Ups members.
It began in Portland with 13 founders who wanted to create a peer mentoring group. Starve Ups now has a chapter in Eugene, and plans to launch a Bend chapter his spring. John notes that they already have Riff Coffee, a cold-brew coffee startup based here, in their current cohort.
“We’ve had lots of demand from Bend,” he says. “The ecosystem is just as big and amazing as Eugene’s. We feel like have the resources and capabilities to add to that ecosystem and help change the game for founders so that more get to the finish line.”
John adds that Starve Ups doesn’t want to compete with accelerator programs already in Bend, but instead collaborate and provide even more support for founders. Bend currently has the Founder’s Pad accelerator, Bend Outdoor Worx, which is a outdoor products company incubator, and now the OSU-Cascades Co-Lab. All offer programming aimed at spurring startup success.
Welcome to the mix Starve Ups. Sound interesting to you? Next Monday’s meeting is a chance to meet John, hear from some Starve Up members and ask questions. Hope to see you there!
You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].