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Portland Tribune
March 20, 2024

Flying the geek flag a little higher in Portland

 

There’s been a unique thread running through the tapestry of geekdom and nerdiness in the Portland area for a while now.

It’s a tapestry replete with all kinds of colors, aesthetics, creativity, and a general sense that there’s something special going on. It’s that sense of “special” that David Raycroft hopes to turn into something much larger. A pop culture swell that will have the nerds and geeks surfing something so uniquely Portland that no one has ever done it before.

 

The world’s first city-wide comic con is coming to Portland via an event tagged Geek Week PDX in September. It’s potential, the organizer said, is unlimited.

The genesis of Geek Week PDX formed when Raycroft moved to Portland six years ago from California and thought exploring comic book stores would be a good way to get started learning about the city.

 “It started out as the best way to explore Portland, but I figured there’d be only two or three in the city,” Raycroft said. “Boy was I wrong. I’ve been a lifelong geek, so putting this together has been kind of a labor of love. It’s pretty exciting.”

 

Being new to the area and wanting to find out more about Portland, Raycroft quickly realized he’d “uncovered this amazing, deep (nerd) culture in my new city. As a byproduct of that experience, “I created something called the Geek Guide, a three-part map that is a catalog of every game store, comic shop, bar and restaurant with a quirky, nerdy vibe in the city.” That publication became available at PDX, comic book stores, game shops and other stops within the Portland-metro area.

In fact, there was so much great content, some of which didn’t make the guide, that Raycroft created a mobile app called Babblebuy, a little business that spun off from his original exploration of Portland.

 

And within that, he had the opportunity to talk to a vast swath of small business owners within the city who owned these “really amazing locations. The list just went on and on.”

And what were their hopes and desires as small business owners? A greater awareness of who they were and what they offered. That’s where the seeds of Geek Week PDX started to really germinate.

On March 20, the Portland City Council proclaimed Sept. 9-15 as Geek Week in Portland, officially signaling that the nerd flag will fly a little higher in the city. And that week wasn’t by accident. It will come on the heels of Oregon’s standard-bearer for all things geek, nerd, and pop culture – Rose City Comic Con.

 

Now the real fun begins – creating Geek Week PDX.

“So, with that proclamation, I’m now in the process of figuring out what Geek Week is going to be,” Raycroft said with a gentle laugh.The goal, he said, is to create a first-ever citywide comic con that will play off the success and vibe that Rose City Comic Con generates. Rose City annually attracts about 50,000 people to the convention center and Raycroft hopes to build something adjacent to that which will attract some of those geeks and nerds to venture out and see what else Portland has to offer in that domain. Instead of flying out or hitting the road right after RCCC is over, perhaps folks would stick around and see what else Portland has to offer in the pop culture realm?

“My hope is to have wizards, aliens, and superheroes traveling on trains and buses throughout town to visit some of these game stores, book shops, or bars and restaurants that are so unique. Raycroft said there are more than 100 nerd and nerd-adjacent small business in the Portland area. He hopes to attract most of them to get involved with Geek Week PDX in some way. So far, the enthusiasm has been palpable.

 

“Right now I’m wrangling the goblins to see who is interested,” Raycroft noted. “The reaction has been just a flood of fabulous ideas. Several of the game stores suggested a game crawl. Perhaps a scavenger hunt of some kind, bar and restaurant specials, all kinds of things. We’d like a wide variety of activities during the day and parties at night across a wide spectrum of interests.

“We would like the people who attend Rose City to also explore Portland and the neat culture it has going and partake of the great, nerdy fun that happens in Portland on any given day,” he added. “All of that coordinated around a single push.”

 

For more information, check out the website at www.geekweekpdx.com/ or venture to Instagram @geekweekpdx.

PIE Press Release 
October 2, 2022 

PIE DEMO DAY 2022 FOCUSES ON GIVING ATTENDEES DIRECT ACCESS TO PROMISING STARTUP FOUNDERS

Virtual format, Built Festival enable more founders to directly engage with community


 

OCTOBER 4, 2022 — PORTLAND, Ore. — PIE (https://piepdx.com), an ongoing experiment exploring how established organizations can collaborate with the startup community for mutual benefit, today announced the initial participants in its latest iteration of PIE Demo Day, a free, community-oriented event designed to celebrate the companies and founders that have participated in its startup accelerator program, being held online on October 12, 2022, starting at 3:14PM PDT. Attendees can register to attend the free online event by visiting https://piepdx.com/2022

 

PIE Demo Day initially began in 2012 as a staged, in-person event featuring a series of presentations from startup founders “pitching” potential venture capital investors. The event has continued to morph over the years — and throughout the pandemic — and has been held as a virtual event for the past two years. While a recorded version of pitches will be a part of demo day activities, they will be decidedly secondary to the virtual tradeshow environment that allows each attendee to interact with startup founders from the program directly. As always, the event is free and open to the public. 

 

“Our primary objective with PIE Demo Day is to highlight the achievements of the founders in our program by engaging the broader startup community and Portland, in general, in celebration” said Rick Turoczy, cofounder and general manager, PIE. “We’ve learned over the years that the audience for our demo days is consistently interested in getting the opportunity to speak directly with the founders showcased at the event. So this year, we’re changing the traditional format of demo day to provide attendees with the opportunity to do exactly that.”

 

Startups from PIE, PIE for Our Neighbors, PIE Shop, and Slice of PIE currently slated to participate in the PIE Demo Day virtual tradeshow include:

 

  • BabbleBuy, your small biz activities hub

  • BuildingLens, building management that prioritizes occupant’s health and comfort

  • Buildly, product management for distributed teams

  • Ditto Pigeon, automated, programmable Instagram posts

  • DTocs, a sustainable, earth-friendly choice for disposable tableware

  • HotZot, your grandparents didn’t need herbicides to control weeds and neither do you

  • HUUB, a central hub for economic development and small business

  • Kit Switch, modular interiors to create the homes we need with the buildings we have

  • Kocchi, resilient off-grid communications

  • Missing Middle Housing Fund, doubling Oregon’s housing production

  • Momentum, your productivity coach app that goes everywhere you go

  • NearHear, music discovery for local shows

  • Radious, find a meeting space or private office right in your neighborhood

  • ReDram Program, convenient kiosks to solve plastic pollution

  • Re-Public, a dashboard for your personal dataverse 

  • Shilling, screen time platform that helps improve financial habits

  • Stumpworx, breathable, adjustable, lightweight, and comfortable prosthetic sockets

  • Teaminal, an agile meeting tool for remote teams

  • Thriving Design, versatile, sturdy DIY plant support systems in a snap

  • Toast, rethinking the way we stay warm outdoors

  • UrbanForm, automated zoning technology for better buildings, cities, and environments

  • Width by Height (WxH), simplifying how you decorate your walls

 

Additional companies from PIE programs may opt to be participate in the tradeshow up until the day of  the event.

 

Built Festival 2022

Participants in the PIE Consumer cohort, a collaboration with Built Oregon (https://builtoregon.com/), the nonprofit designed to champion the consumer products industry throughout Oregon, will be showcasing their products at the main event of the annual Built Festival, which takes place in person on October 21, 2022. Participants in Bridges, the Built program designed to engage BIPOC-founded consumer product companies with local retailers, will also be sampling their products at the event. For more information or to purchase tickets to attend the Built Festival Main Event, visit https://builtoregon.com/2022.

 

Participating companies include:

 

  • Altitude Beverage, oat milk lattes with benefits

  • AVYN, nursing bras that adapt to your body as it changes

  • For Bitter For Worse, complex cocktails made with love, not alcohol

  • HAB, innovative and artistic hot sauces 

  • MISE Footwear, the new standard for kitchen shoes

  • One Breath Kombucha, a unique blend of kombucha and water kefir

  • Skaut, innovative Pack Coffees for the freshest coffee at your campsite or on the road

  • Voxapod, menstrual cups that reduce the stress of periods

  • Wooolybubs, sustainable, dissolvable baby shoes

 

Launched in 2019, the PIE Consumer accelerator leverages the resources of the “Silicon Valley of consumer products,” to provide mentorship, support, and community for founders of promising Oregon companies building companies around apparel, beauty, food & beverage, and outdoor, among others. Alumni include The Cracker King, Deadstock Coffee, Goodwill Co., Hibisbloom, Ice Queen, La Familia Cider, Pan’s Mushroom Jerky, Riff, and TREW.


 

About Built Oregon

Built Oregon is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization with a mission to become the conduit for a diverse, sustainable, and impactful consumer product ecosystem in Oregon. Composed of a passionate collection of community leaders, entrepreneurs, storytellers, investors, mentors, and organizers, Built believes that the support and growth of Oregon's consumer product industries will create sustainable, inclusive, and innovative job growth throughout the state. With a distinct focus on consumer products industries, we see the power in "owning our backyard." 

 

For more information, visit https://builtoregon.com.

 

About PIE

For more than a decade, PIE has continually engaged in experiments designed to enable established organizations — like corporations, government agencies, and educational institutions, among others — to collaborate with the Portland, Oregon, startup community in mutually beneficial ways. Throughout its history, PIE has served as a curated coworking space, a community event space, a startup accelerator, a flashpoint for corporate innovation, an accelerator for accelerators, and a home-away-from-home for startup types — and the startup curious — from around the world. PIE is part of Built Oregon, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. 

 

For more information, visit https://piepdx.com/.
 

Media contact

 

Rick Turoczy

Cofounder and General Manager, PIE

rick@piepdx.com

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