Why I'm Excited to be a Mentor at PIE

The Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE) is in the process of reinventing itself into a true incubator from what has been mostly a cool place for startups and independent freelancers to work together in what felt more like a co-working space. The new PIE is taking applications for the first wave of startups until August 1st and will provide up to $18,000 in seed funding and office space for three months in lovely Portland, Oregon starting on September 1st.

Co-founders will work closely with startups-in-residence, successful alumni, Wieden+Kennedy,  thought leaders from some of the world’s most successful brands (Target, Coca-Cola, and Nike), and the mentor network. I know a lot of the people who have started companies working out of PIE over the past couple of years, the creative people at Wieden+Kennedy and most of the mentors. I can certainly vouch for it being an amazing group of people who can offer real, tangible advice and inspiration for these new companies joining PIE in September.

I am personally honored to be asked to join PIE as a mentor. One of my favorite things is working with smart people doing interesting and innovating things. It’s exciting and energizing to work with founders who are passionate about bringing their ideas and dreams to life in a new startup. I like to think that I can offer something useful by sharing what I’ve learned in my 16 year career that has included working at Intel and other large companies, startups and as an independent consultant. I also learned so much during my time as a co-founder of Shizzow.

If you have a startup and are looking for a way to kick it into high gear, I really do encourage you to apply before August 1.

2 Responses to “Why I'm Excited to be a Mentor at PIE”


  • For some reason no one wants to address the most basic issue for any start-up considering PIE.

    If you’re developing a brand friendly mobile technology [that's the focus right?] but you are now owned in part by Wieden and Kennedy, will any other ad agency work with you? Will any brands competitive to Wieden clients hire you?

    No.

    The reality of the advertising world is that none of them will contract with you. It’s like a poison pill that tastes great as long as it lasts but unlike every other incubator that prepare a company to go into the market this incubator restricts you from ever going into the market beyond the Wieden roster.

    There are so many better structures that could be implemented. I know three companies between Portland and Seattle who have declined to submit an application for this exact reason. But, no one from PIE will address it.

    The other sad fact is that between PIE and Portland Seed Fund there won’t be enough money to keep these companies going to another funding round. It’s a crash and burn scenario.

    I’m sorry, but I’m tired of reading about how great it is to be a mentor or how great Wieden and Kennedy are. I want to hear a well thought out, intelligent strategy for growing sustainable start-up businesses in the NW. This isn’t a TED Talk about the grooviness of ad agencies, it’s a suck-butt economy and second rate business environment that needs help.

    Maybe the mentors could mentor the PIE management and come up with a 3.0 before the 2.0 screws up too badly? /rant

  • Renny Gleeson, who created the concept of PIE as well as its new iteration, has posted his answers to questions that have been raised. Hopefully, this post provides some additional details.

    http://siliconflorist.com/2011/07/28/filling-details-pie/

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