In late 2009, Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) announced that Scott Larson of Seattle, Washington had been selected to launch the new Venture Catalyst program for Central Oregon. Recently EDCO announced the initiation of a search for Larson’s replacement and his resignation once his successor is found.
As background, the Venture Catalyst program was initially conceived by Nori Juba and Dan Hobin, local entrepreneurs and founders of the Bend Venture Conference, who sought to create a stronger process around entrepreneurial activities in the tri-county area. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden developed and championed the proposal, securing $232,750 in federal SBA funds in 2009 for a three-year program to be managed by EDCO.
Serving throughout 2010, Larson implemented many of the program’s first year goals, including:
• Comprehensive outreach to and assessment of the region’s startup companies including meeting with more than 140 early stage companies and entrepreneurs,
• Coaching and guiding the most promising early stage companies to the next level,
• Connecting local entrepreneurs and investors via venture conferences and personal introductions,
• Creation of a database of experts to tap Central Oregon’s considerable entrepreneurial expertise, and
• Elevation of Central Oregon’s entrepreneurial profile with angel and venture funds throughout the Pacific Northwest.
“For very understandable personal reasons, Scott won’t be able to continue as the Venture Catalyst Manager,” said Roger Lee, executive director of EDCO. “He’s done a remarkable job of laying a solid foundation for ongoing progress for our home-grown companies. We were fortunate to have an individual of Scott’s caliber and connections within equity capital circles.”
Larson, and his wife Christina, have been apart for the past year and unable to locate both of their professional careers in Central Oregon. “It’s unfortunate that it’s not in the cards for both of us to work professionally in Central Oregon at the same time,” said Scott. “We both have strong ties to the area and hope to manage both of our careers here in the next several years.”
Larson will be based in Seattle, continuing his work with Vashon Partners, the investment firm he founded in 2000. He intends to remain connected to EDCO as a member and to have ongoing involvement with the Bend Venture Conference.
McDonald Placement Group, which managed the process when Larson was hired, is handling the search for the new Venture Catalyst Manager. “We’re moving rapidly to fill the position, so there’s as little disruption as possible to EDCO’s initiatives,” said Anne McDonald of McDonald Placement Group.
“The original program, position description and expected deliverables are all still valid for the next two years of the initiative,” added Lee. “We hope to have Scott’s replacement by the end of February and he’s agreed to continue until that individual is identified.”