He's actively involved with the local entrepreneurial community, including Oregon Entrepreneurs Network and Oregon Angel Fund and we're delighted to have him as a PSF mentor:
Scott, would you mind sharing any insights you've gained from mentoring PSF companies and founders?
A key insight over the past few years is that Portland has a particularly rich ecosystem to support entrepreneurs – this is our greatest strength. There are many great incubators like PSF to help companies define/refine their business plans. There is ample access to capital for deserving companies at both the seed (Angel) and growth (VC) level. There is an amazing network of mentors and advisors willing to help if you ask. And finally there are organizations like TAO and OEN that are dedicated to helping entrepreneurs tap into all that PDX has to offer.
Regarding PSF, I have been really impressed with the stark difference between when companies enter and exit the program. Coming out of PSF, companies typically have a much stronger definition of their customers, markets, value prop, team, business model and financials. This kind of clarity and focus is critical to the success of young companies. It has been particularly gratifying to see so many of the PSF Alums make significant progress on their businesses after the program.
Why did you get involved with mentoring?
Throughout my 30 year career, I have been fortunate to have some great mentors as well as often serve as a mentor to others. From these experiences I have seen firsthand the positive impact a committed mentor can have. Recently I have focused more of my time mentoring the next generation of great companies in Portland as a way to “give back.” I believe that investing in the success of these high-growth companies can yield a many-fold return for both the local economy and the growing number of families tied to these companies.
What advice would you have for any entrepreneurs reading this?
Wow, there are so many fundamental principles in growing a successful business. I guess I would emphasize two. First, be obsessively market/customer driven. Too many companies let the product/technology drive their business assuming that “of course the market will want what we have created.” I strongly advise that entrepreneurs engage their target customers early and often. It is amazing what you can learn when you ask a broad set of your target customers open ended questions and then just listen. Second, I would advise entrepreneurs not to compromise on key talent. As a small company, every hire needs to have high impact and fit with the culture. A wrong hire for the purpose of expediency can really set a company back and consume a lot of energy to correct.
Are there any startup or technology trends you're particularly excited about?
There are a few tech mega-trends that I like. First, the IoT (Internet of Things) where more of the objects in our environment are networked and manageable by us anytime, anywhere. Nest is a good early example. Second, mobile payments where we can securely pay for everything with our mobile devices. GlobeSherpa is an excellent early example. Finally, what I would call EaaS (Everything as a Service) including Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, Storage as a Service, Database as a Service, Analytics as a Service, X as a Service, just use your imagination to fill in the X. I am even working with a company that is focused on Drones as a Service. These shared-resource and “on demand” models will radically change the economics of technology and enable fast, low-cost time-to-market for many new ideas.
You can read more about Scott over on LinkedIn