The Portland Seed Fund: Planting High Hopes, Reaping Few Results
By Joel Grey
The Portland Seed Fund is a public-private venture intended to close a funding gap for entrepreneurs. It invests $25,000 in each startup selected and reserves money for follow-up investments as well. The City of Portland, the City of Hillsboro, and the State of Oregon (through the Oregon Growth Account) supplied most of the money for the first Seed Fund and a significant portion of the second Seed Fund. So far, the public funds amount to $3.4 million, with another $100,000 likely to come from this year’s Portland Development Commission (PDC) budget. The City of
Portland and the Oregon Growth Account are the two biggest supporters, each contributing $1.5 million or more.
The Seed Fund was promoted as a way for public entities to help private companies begin, with the expectation that the Fund would earn money. However, it is not possible to determine whether or not the Seed Fund is earning money, despite the fact that it utilizes public funds.
Joel Grey is a research associate at Cascade Policy Institute. He is an undergraduate at George Fox University.