FOR A STARTUP COMPANY, receiving angel funding from the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network is nothing short of heaven-sent. For Portland State, the stars couldn't be better aligned.
From a group of 50 new companies, the network chose only two to receive 2009 Angel Oregon funding. Both are located in the PSU Business Accelerator, and one was started by a Portland State professor.
At the University's Business Accelerator on Southwest Corbett Avenue, the two winning companies, DesignMedix, Inc., and WeoGeo, are in a building that can accommodate 25 businesses. With occupancy comes affordable rates, specialized services from the business community, and access to the research and development potential of the entire University.
DesignMedix, started by chemistry professor David Peyton, modifies drugs to make them effective against drug-resistant diseases. The company's first product is showing early success in treating malaria. WeoGeo creates map-managing software for surveyors, engineers, architects, and other professionals.
DesignMedix garnered a $150,000 investment from the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network and WeoGeo won $80,000. The judging panel was made up of 46 angel investors who each pledged $5,000. Angel investors, by definition, take a leap of faith when they invest their own money in startup companies.
DesignMedix impressed the investors. "The company has an absolutely unique technology that could solve a major health problem," said Drew Smith, panel chairman.