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8 PDX Startups That Are Defining Portland in 2015

Winners and runners up of the 2014 PDX start-up challenge are changing the game for Portland's future as a creative and intellectual hub. 2015 is going to be a stellar year for our city and these burgeoning companies are a big reason why. 

Yellow Scope

Science kits specifically marketed toward girls! Because even the "gender neutral" science kits seem geared toward boys, Yellow Scope created a kit that appeals specifically to young girls. From their website: "In 4th grade, most girls say they like science. But by 8th grade, the numbers drop dramatically as girls lose confidence in their ability to do science....we want to build girls’ confidence in science, before they fall off the curve. Research shows that girls learn best when they can approach projects in a creative and open-ended way. That’s why we designed our kits to engage both the scientific and creative minds of girls."

RAFT Syrups

RAFT makes botanical syrups for cocktails and/or sodas. At this point, everyone I know has a sodastream, so it stands to reason that everyone should have a few bottles of RAFT syrups as well. From their website: "We believe botanicals (herbs, roots, flowers) are important to our well being. Not only do they contain phytonutrients and other beneficial components, their aromas, flavors, and colors are incredibly diverse and delicious." Portland enthusiastically agrees.

Society Nine

Society Nine is set to challenge brands like Adidas and Nike in making sportswear for women, which is quite the challenge, though surely welcome. Society Nine is focused on women's MMA and boxing gear specifically. Which is great since not every women wants to spend her workout advertising for one of the two dominant northwest brands, or struggling with see-through Lululemon stretch pants.

Noappfee.com

lascompanies.com

No app fee cuts through all the typical BS that comes with applying for housing. Credit checks, income evaluations, and of course, application fees. Often the time and money spent in merely applying for a home is wasted before you are even considered a candidate for rental. This is an inconvenience to most but it's crippling for low income families, especially families in shelters.  Enter Noappfee.com. From their website: "We needed something ... that could cut time by allowing us to see a families rental barriers before wasting time on finding out by their first denial. Something that allowed a family to ... have the tools and capital to search on their own and be proactive in locating housing instead of sitting in shelters waiting on their next appointment. Most importantly, something that was free for our families, and risk free for our properties."

Design Culture Lab

With the intention of leveling Portland's gentrification playing field by combining the efforts of non profits, government, developers and individuals, Design Culture lab is casting themselves as an intermediary between marginalized groups (being forced from their neighborhoods by a rapidly rising cost of living paired with skyrocketing property values) and stakeholders who are investing in all of Portland's raw potential.

Tique Box

UPDATE: Tique Box just announced it was ceasing operations. :(

Back in the 1980s, my family was part of a "Cheese of the Month" club, and it was truly magical. Through the last few decades, I, as well as lots of other more entrepreneurial types, probably though the same thing, "what ever happened to 'Cheese of the Month' clubs?" Thanks to those types, we ow have services such as Bark Box, Vegan Cuts, and now Portland based Tique Box - which is essentially a shopping trip curated by all Portlandia herself, and featuring all her local goods, at your door monthly.

Genki Su

Drinking vinegars are sort of like Kombucha's more chilled out cousin; a way smoother beverage to gulp down on  a hot summer day. Genki Su's vinegars are Japanese in origin, created from a family recipe but with that uniquely Portlandian twist - local, seasonal ingredients, naturally aged coconut vinegar bases, and an incredibly twee marketing scheme.   

GRASP

Customized, affordable, open-sourced, 3D printed prosthetics - need we say more?

VDO Interpreter

VDO Interpreters give you access to a qualified interpreter in seconds. If you have internet access, you have access to a qualified medical, insurance, financial, legal or government terminology interpreter 24/7.