Map of Portland Startups, Tech Wizards of the Silicon Forest

Willamette Week has an article on the Portland startup companies and their CEOs.  I was born, raised and worked in Silicon Valley, but moved to Seattle to see what was different going on at a company called Microsoft.  Portland is a 3hr train ride away and I have been taking trips to Portland to chat with the companies who have some interesting software for data centers.

What kind of companies?  Look at this map prepared by one of the companies.

This image is taken from an interactive map of Portland software startups, created on Thetus Corp.'s Savanna multidimensional analysis software.
Credits: Courtesy of Thetus Corp.

PuppetLabs is one of the better known companies.



The Success Story

Name: Luke Kanies

Age: 35

Title: CEO, Puppet Labs

Venture capital funding: $7.25 million

What colleagues say: “[Puppet Labs is] in a leadership position. I don’t know that they’ve figured out how to grow that as a business.”

“He’s a Reedie. He’s totally a Reedie.”


Puppet Labs is the kind of company open-source developers have dreamed of: a startup that lures investor dollars while giving away the guts of its software for anyone to use and improve.

Thetus I visit regularly.



The State Secret

Name: Danielle Forsyth

Age: 51

Title: CEO, Thetus Corporation

Venture capital funding: $4.6 million

What colleagues say: “She’s a dork, like all great CEOs are dorks. And she is just killing it. Knocking it out of the park.”


Danielle Forsyth likes to say that Thetus Corporation makes Internet software for “people who don’t know what they don’t know.”

That Rumsfeldian phrase is fitting: Few people in Portland have any idea that a woman CEO—a rare sight on the tech landscape—is helming one of the city’s fastest-growing software startups, a company that’s been profitable for five years mostly thanks to federal government contracts.

Thetus has intentionally maintained a low profile locally. “We don’t have clients here,” Forsyth says, “and we’re really focused on growth.”

Both of these companies have dogs at work policies.



RNA one of the Portland startups I visited got bought by Dell.

Dell snaps up RNA Networks

A veritable cluster for PowerEdgies

Dell has quietly acquired Portland, Oregon-based RNA Networks, one of a handful of innovative startups that have been launched in the past couple of years to glue multiple x64-based servers together and allow them to look like a single, monster server to specific workloads.