Oregonian: TechfestNW returns to PSU, tightens university tie
Author: By Mike Rogoway, Oregonian
Posted: March 12, 2019

Read the Oregonian's original story.

There’s a debunker of online health myths. A New York Times tech writer. A trauma surgeon. And an urban theorist from Tel Aviv.

Willamette Week’s annual technology conference is assembling an eclectic mix of speakers and panelists from around the globe for its eighth annual tech conference last month. It’s grown into one of the city’s most prominent annual technology events.

TechfestNW is returning to Portland State University’s new Viking Pavilion for the second time, aiming to bring togethers startups, investors and a host of technologists to consider the future of work, cities and health.

“The excitement of PSU is for us not just the building, it’s being tied to an institution that can help grow the event,” said Mark Zusman, Willamette Week’s editor and TFNW’s director.

Portland State professors will moderate panel discussions and added a component to focus on blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. That ties into a new academic certificate in blockchain PSU will issue next year.

This year’s speakers include:

  • Jen Gunter, a physician who writes for The New York times and a range of other publications on women’s health and online myths.
  • Sarah Jeong, a veteran technology writer who lives in Oregon and sits on The New York Times’ editorial board.
  • Adam Clayton Powell III, director of Washington DC Programs for the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center for Communication Leadership and Policy. He also serves as Project Director for the USC Internet of Things cybersecurity initiative.
  • Angela Ruggiero, a former Olympic hockey player (and gold medal winner), now chief executive of the Sports Innovation Lab.
  • Zohar Sharon, chief knowledge officer for Tel Aviv, Israel.
  • The Oregon Venture Fund (formerly the Oregon Angel Fund), which will lead a panel discussion on selecting startups to back.

As in past years, TFNW is accompanied by a “Pitchfest” that offers an opportunity for startups to present their ideas to prospective investors.

TFNW had 1,500 attendees last year and Zusman said he expects more this year. Tickets start at $99.