It was Pi Day last week, so naturally, PIE held a Demo Day.
The Portland Incubator Experiment, or PIE, hosted its first Demo Day in five years on Thursday as 13 Portland-area startups pitched their ideas on stage.
PIE launched a decade ago as a startup accelerator inside advertising company Wieden+Kennedy, following in the footsteps of organizations like Y Combinator and Techstars. But it ended that model in 2015 as PIE co-founder Rick Turoczy looked to help the Portland startup scene in other ways.
Last year, though, PIE made a return with a reimagined model as a nonprofit funded in part by Prosper Portland and the Inclusive Business Resource Network. PIE no longer invests capital in participating companies and offers participation and office space for free, with a focus on attracting underrepresented founders. It also moved away from the traditional three-month format, allowing companies to stay in the new space as short or long as they need.
After spending several months grooming pitches and tweaking business models, founders from the fifth PIE cohort showed off their ideas last week to a group of investors and other community members.
Several folks called out the diversity among CEOs and founders who pitched. “The startups presenting didn’t fit the ‘traditional’ pattern matching of the Silicon Valley startup narrative, which is to say there weren’t any 20-something, white, male coders in hoodies pitching,” noted Portland Business Journal reporter Malia Spencer.
1/9 I got to see my first @piepdx demo day Thursday and it was a huge personal reminder for me on how important diversity in background and thought are in the people you surround yourself with
— Jesse Reichenstein (@JReichenstein) March 16, 2019
Here’s a quick rundown of the companies that pitched, in order of when they appeared. You can watch the full pitches at the video above.
- Milk Run delivers groceries from local farmers, butchers, bakers, and makers.
- De Las Mias empowers Latinas to live healthier lives.
- Dorsum makes a back support integrated postural alignment system.
- Praxis Department helps companies create resilient cultures that scale.
- Varcity is a social network connecting student athletes to community.
- Black Founders Matter helps support black entrepreneurs with funding.
- Krowdsourced enables commercial architects, designers, owners and contractors to find materials and solutions for their projects.
- Nexgarden develops high-efficiency vertical farming.
- Tono Latino produces newsletters in Spanish to help inform voters.
- Trestle creates tools that make shopping according to one’s values convenient.
- Prrl Labs develops cannabis vaporizer technology.
- Workfrom hosts the largest database of workspaces for remote professionals
- AllGo provides insights on the comfort and accessibility of public places for plus-size people.