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Startups, Unicorns and Optimism

5Last Friday, Jama CEO and co-founder Eric Winquist spoke at Portland Startup Weekend’s kickoff event. Startup Weekend is a global network of events that brings those with the entrepreneurial spirit together to “Launch a Startup in 54 Hours.” Eric shared advice from his own experience over the past decade as a startup founder and offered insight into how to validate and grow your business. Eric’s keys to success for the crowd included finding the right product market fit, simplifying and paying attention – to customers, prospects and employees.2

Success rates for startups are dismal – less than 1% by some estimates; yet, thousands of people do it each year. Eric referenced the success of companies in The Unicorn Club (startups worth more than $1B 10 years after founding) featured in a recent TechCrunch piece. Of the thousands of startups founded in the last ten years, only 39 have become “unicorns” and yet still so many dream of hitting it big with an idea and business. When faced with the question of why we startup in the face of such terrible odds, Eric says it’s because we’re optimists. It makes a difference in everything and there’s research to back it up. We’re wishing luck to the entrepreneurs at Portland Startup Weekend, and who knows, maybe there’s a unicorn among them.

Check out a recap of the rest of the event and learn about the overall winners from the Portland Business Journal and see more photos from the event.