Autodesk – PIE Shop Hardware Accelerator

Sparking the next generation of manufacturing in Portland.

After eight years of launching products in and around the Internet of Things, Fresh Portland has seen several cycles of hardware evolution. Its latest major effort in IoT is to take a mentorship and strategic guidance role in the Portland community of hardware makers to nurture the next generation.

Since 2018 Autodesk, Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE) and Fresh Portland have been partners in an advanced manufacturing and prototyping incubator called PIE Shop, designed to fuel the next generation of hardware-driven product companies.

The physical PIE Shop space—both startup accelerator and coworking space—cements Autodesk’s presence supporting Portland’s makers large and small, but it’s more than just a brand presence and startup launchpad.

Fresh Portland acted as concierge and advisor to Autodesk as it looked to define its presence in the Portland community and as part of the city’s nascent Innovation Quarter. The IQ’s aim is to make the district “the center of gravity for a flourishing innovation ecosystem that attracts talent, entrepreneurs, and investment while propelling Portland, Oregon, to global prominence at the intersection of health, science, technology, and product design.”

Fresh Portland has made the Central Eastside Industrial District its home eight years, and is a founding partner in the Innovation Quarter initiative. Given the studio and city’s commitments to the neighborhood, it made sense to locate PIE Shop nearby.

PIE Shop is built around a simple hypothesis: connected device startups have a difficult time accessing the resources to prototype and validate product concepts. This leads to startups being pressured to send concepts to manufacture before they have validated their business model.

Harnessing expertise from hardware, software, and venture finance allows Pie Shop to drive innovation to the next generation of hardware startups, with two key goals: getting IoT products from concept to their first 1,000 units and building the next generation of IoT companies here in Portland.

Leading up to the 2018 launch, Fresh Portland spent a year meeting with founders, contract manufacturers, service providers, and venture capitalists to understand the pain points and constraints in launching hardware startups. Along the way, in addition to the research, strategic positioning, business model design, and brand design, Fresh Portland has been honing its startup due diligence and talent-spotting capabilities.

What Portland Business Journal Says

Fresh Portland hopes to help more startups grow and understand how a product goes from idea to production. The company already works with some startups as well as research and development teams at large companies.

Malia Spencer, Staff Writer at Portland Business Journal

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