Thunder opens Portland office, adds to Northwest presence

Credit: Geekwire, Taylor Soper

Thunder, a digital advertising startup based in San Francisco, just opened a new office in Portland as it expands its footprint in the Northwest.

The company has three people working out of the new downtown office and picked Portland for its talent pool. Thunder also has an engineering office in Seattle with 22 employees.

Led by CEO Victor Wong, Thunder launched nearly a decade ago. The company, recently named to Forbes’ list of 100 Most Promising Companies, uses automation and AI to help advertisers, agencies, and publishers create custom ads for a variety of devices and formats. It has more than 100 customers, including Time Warner Cable, Hearst, Holiday Inn, and others.

Venture capital investing is on the decline. Here’s why Portland shouldn’t worry (Interactive map)

Credit: Portland Business Journal, Jeff Jeffrey

Venture capital spending continues to lag behind the record activity of recent years, but startups needn’t worry; industry analysts say there’s still billions in dealmaking still to be done.

VC firms invested roughly $38 billion in startups and other early-stage companies during the first two quarters this year, down 10 percent from the $42 billion recorded during the same span in 2016 and off about $2 billion from 2015, according to data collected by Pitchbook and the National Venture Capital Association.

Paul Allen’s AI unit doubles down on startup support

Credit: Seattle Times, Matt Day.

In addition to $250,000 in seed funding for startups, the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence is offering office workspace at its Wallingford headquarters, and counsel from its experts in machine learning, computer vision and hardware engineering.


Paul Allen’s artificial-intelligence research outfit is opening its doors to a handful of startups, dangling $250,000 in funding and the promise of opportunities to draw on the human brain power of its in-house Ph.D.s.

The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence has already lent a hand to a couple of Seattle startups that have gone on to success. was recently acquired by Chinese search giant Baidu, and has raised a round of venture capital funding. As of Tuesday, AI2, as the research unit calls itself, is seeking applications for startups to follow in those companies’ footsteps.

“We’ve decided to formalize and double down” on that work, said Oren Etzioni, the institute’s chief executive.

Port Townsend, WA startup helps neighbors buy, sell backyard produce

Credit: Seattle Times, Kara Carlson

Produce from your backyard garden or fruit tree might be your neighbor’s next meal, or at least that’s the idea behind Port Townsend-based Vinder, which operates a website designed to let neighbors buy and sell backyard produce.


Workshop: Pacific Northwest Startup Ecosystems

Pacific Northwest Startup Ecosystems

Learn about Pacific Northwest startup ecosystems – ecosystems we will cover include Eugene, Bend, Portland, Vancouver, Victoria and Anchorage. Topics include:

• Startup and technology initiatives as economic development strategies.

• Regional funding sources for startups raising capital.

• Ecosystem resources including co-working spaces, incubators/accelerators and startup conferences.

This workshop is designed for individuals that are interested in learning about Pacific Northwest startup ecosystems – including entrepreneurs, startup teams, consultants, business coaches, enterprise executives.

Workshop & Networking Objectives:

• Empower you with the tools and resources to expand your network into Pacific

Northwest startup ecosystems.

• Cover regional startup and technology initiatives as economic development strategies.

• Identify regional funding sources for startups raising capital.

• Identify Pacific Northwest ecosystem resources

*Food and drinks provided


Why Vancouver Is Becoming North America’s Next Big Tech Scene

Credit:, Clay Dillow

Christy Clark was kind enough not to mention the U.S. or its new President by name—at least not at first. But with talk of “Muslim bans” and H-1B visa restrictions swirling, the British Columbia Premier’s message to companies both Canadian and American was unmistakable: If the U.S. won’t welcome the world’s brightest engineers and programmers, so much the better for Canada.

Introducing the 2017 UW Jones + Foster Accelerator Cohort

Credit: UW, Charles Trillingham

The Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship accepted nine student-created teams into the 2017 cohort of the Jones + Foster Accelerator (J+FA). These new entrepreneurs will work under the mentorship of top Seattle entrepreneurs and investors for the next six months to become early-stage startups. Those who meet their milestones and complete the accelerator can earn up to $25,000 in follow-on funding. Most importantly, they will learn a framework for defining measurable goals, as well as the skills to navigate obstacles both seen and unforeseen along their entrepreneurial journey

Fifty-six companies have completed the Jones + Foster Accelerator program since its inception in 2010. Forty-one of those have been awarded seed funding through the Accelerator totaling $870,000. Thirty-six are still in business today—raising millions in fundingbecoming household namesbringing families together in Haitipurifying drinking water in Somaliland, and powering cell phones in Kenyan villages.

Bothell, WA clean tech startup secured $2.2 million in funding

Credit: 425 Business, Margot Greenman

HaloSource, a Bothell-based provider of clean water technology, this week announced it has secured $2.2 million in a recent round of funding as well as signed a distribution deal that will help the company accelerate its presence in the global drinking water filtration market.


“Since our founding, we’ve been building an extensive technology portfolio of ways to treat water, powering some of the world’s foremost brands in household drinking water devices on an OEM basis,” said CEO James Thompson. “We are excited about our ability to use this wealth of knowledge to introduce new technologies and consumer products into the drinking water service market — a market worth billions. We have innovated in a way that no other company has, and now we will capitalize on those innovations to offer our own unique, proprietary products.”

BC Tech Association launches The Cube, Vancouver’s hub for AR, VR and Mixed Reality.

Credit: WeAreBCTech, BC Tech Association

The Cube is designed for companies active in the virtual, mixed, and merged reality space and features resources, experts, workshops and programs that are geared to fostering creativity, growth, and sustainability.

The Cube is also a platform that enables the AR/VR MR community to connect, collaborate, learn from one another, and give back.

Seattle based Element Data Closes $3.5M Series Seed Plus Round

Credit: PRNewswire

Element Data, Inc., a decision support software platform that harnesses artificial intelligence and machine learning to power decisions worldwide, closed a $3.5M series seed plus round on July 14, 2017. Including the initial round, total funds raised to date are $5.2M.