19 Startup PDX semi-finalists announced; PDC favors diverse candidates -

The Portland Development Commission’s Startup PDX Challenge roster is now down to 19 companies.

The public is invited to vote on which of these 19 they think have “diverse founding teams and the ambition to scale to a national or international market.”

A panel of PDC judges will make the final call to see which

six for-profit startup businesses will receive a package valued at $50,000 per company. In addition they will receive a $15,000 working capital grant, a full year of rent-free office space at 115 SW Ash St, and free professional advice, memberships and services.

Up to four more startups will be named merit finalists and will receive a package valued at $4,000 per company.

Public voting runs now through midnight Friday, August 8. The public’s vote will determine one of the four merit finalists.

Patrick Quinton, PDC Executive Director, said, “The Startup PDX Challenge seeks the best new members of our growing entrepreneurial community. This year’s applicants were a particularly impressive group – and we are very excited by the level of both industry and demographic diversity among the semi-finalists. We look forward to welcoming the winning startups to our expanding network of experienced, innovative companies competing in the global economy.”

The PDC put the emphasis on minorities when winnowing the field from 134 applicants down to 19.

The 19 semi-finalists are Aquadrop; Carehubs; Design+Culture; Genki-su; Graph Alchemist; GRASP; NoAppFee; RAFTsyrups; Science Girls; Society Nine; Sugarlump Factory; Switchboard; Talisha’s Secret; Tique Box, and VDO Interpreters, all from the Portland metro area; Flipcause and Scrumpt, from San Francisco; ICOM, from Atlanta; and Soulbe, from Las Vegas. The group includes 15 startups with women founders; 11 with African American founders; six with Asian/Pacific Islander founders; three with Hispanic founders; three with Native American founders; three with disabled founders; one with a military veteran founder.

Challenge winners will be announced in early September. The move into the Old Town/Chinatown space is slated for early October.

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