Techtown Portland Aims to Lure Nation's Talent

The group's slick new promotional video seeks to bring more tech talent to Portland's thriving startup scene.

By Marty Patail January 22, 2015

Portland's startups are aggressively putting out the call for the nation's tech talent. 

On Wednesday night, Techtown Portland screened People on the Move, the group's second promotional video aimed at luring young tech talent to the city. Jive Software cofounder Bill Lynch introduced the video, calling it a "free recruitment tool" for local startups. 

The video premiere bash brought over a hundred industry professionals together at Smarsh's brand-new, 47,000 square foot offices overlooking Pioneer Square in downtown Portland. Along with Smarsh, Techtown Portland is a collaborative venture made up of the city's highest-profile tech companies, including Jive, Puppet Labs, Elemental, Simple, Urban Airship, and Viewpoint Construction Software, among others. 

Bill Lynch

People on the Move, a slick, promotional piece shot and edited by local video outfit Uncage the Soul, features interviews with six Portland developers who relocated here to work in the technology sector, interspliced with shots of interior and exterior shots of Portland that highlight the city's quality of life and work environments. 

"We wanted to convey that there’s a serious software industry here," Lynch told the crowd before the video began. "We wanted to find examples of people who had taken the risk, and moved their lives, moved their families, in Portland."

For fast-growing startups, talent development and recruitment is a high priority.

"For years, I’ve been very passionate about trying to solve some of the recruiting challenges we have here in Portland," said Smarsh founder Stephen Marsh, who moved his compliance software company here from San Francisco in 2004. "At times when we were competing more heavily [for talent] with some of the software companies in Portland, it felt very, very competitive. And it became very clear to me that it was not a sustainable situation for technology companies to keep competing for talent."

The video also received backing from the Portland Development Commission. Mayor Charlie Hales, who was attending the US Conference of Mayors in Washington, DC, addressed the room via a taped video message.

"Portland stands tall as one of the largest and best known tech communities around the world," he said. "We’re a city of innovators, designers, creators, and collaborators. It’s in the fabric of our culture. We grow great companies here and others are drawn here. Look at all the innovative companies that have expanded, relocated, opened second offices here."

After the video, Lynch implored the audience to share the video as much and as often as possible.

"This needs to be seen by people in every state, as well as other countries." 

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