RAIN Catalysts Partners with Portland Seed Fund on EDA-Funded Project to Invest in Pacific Northwest Women & BIPOC Founders of Scalable Technology Startups


The Regional Accelerator & Innovation Network (RAIN Catalysts) has chosen the Portland Seed Fund (PSF) as investing partner on RAIN Catalysts’ Capital Challenge project. This groundbreaking project is primarily funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and is designed to elevate and invest in scalable technology startups in the Pacific Northwest with a focus on women and Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) Founders.

RAIN Catalysts’ Capital Challenge is also funded by match dollars from the State of Oregon (Business Oregon), 16 Oregon rural cities, the Lemelson Foundation, 4 Oregon counties (Lane, Linn, Benton and Grant), the Woodard Foundation and Cottage Grove Community Development Corporation.

The U.S. EDA selected 19 organizations nationwide to focus on filling America’s capital gap. RAIN Catalysts was one of only two organizations selected on the West Coast for this Build to Scale “Capital Challenge” grant program.

Without equitable access to capital, many startups never make it to market — or fail shortly after. According to a Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation report, at least 83 percent of all entrepreneurs nationwide do not access traditional loans or venture financing. The capital gap is even greater for overlooked entrepreneurs (e.g., women, BIPOC, people with limited or no access to family wealth, etc.).

“I’d like to thank the U.S. EDA for recognizing our vision for filling the capital gap for women and BIPOC entrepreneurs in Oregon and Washington and helping to eliminate barriers to their success. I also want to thank the Portland Seed Fund for partnering with us on this important project. Both RAIN and the Portland Seed Fund already intentionally serve underrepresented entrepreneurs and innovators, so this partnership will supercharge our efforts—enabling us to make more impact sooner. Together, we are eager to help more overlooked and underestimated entrepreneurs start and grow exceptional technology companies here in the Pacific Northwest,” said RAIN Catalyst CEO, Caroline Cummings.

RAIN Catalysts ran a competitive request for proposals (RFP) process to identify the right venture capital fund to partner with on this bold initiative. After hearing from several venture funds in Oregon and Washington, the Portland Seed Fund was selected based on its decade-plus track record attracting additional venture capital alongside its robust portfolio of woman- and BIPOC-led scalable tech startups.

Founded in 2011, PSF invests in seed and early-stage companies across a broad range of sectors, the majority of which are scalable tech companies. Co-managing directors Angela Jackson and Steve Eichenlaub lead the Portland, Oregon-based firm’s fourth venture fund. PSF strives to reflect the diversity of the Pacific Northwest within its portfolio companies, with more than half of investee companies led by a female, minority founder, or both. Investors in Portland Seed Fund include high net worth individuals and institutions such as Oregon Community Foundation and the Oregon Growth Board.

Through its role in the RAIN Catalysts Capital Challenge, PSF will deploy a majority of its investment capital in early-stage scalable technology companies in Oregon and Washington with women or BIPOC founders.

“Portland Seed Fund is thrilled to be selected by RAIN Catalysts to partner on this ambitious project. Together, we’ll accelerate more diverse, scalable technology companies to investability and increase their odds of success. The RAIN Catalysts Capital Challenge is so clearly aligned with our track record of finding, nurturing and investing in diverse teams in Oregon and Washington that have the ability to produce venture capital style returns. We look forward to collaborating with the RAIN Catalysts team on this critical endeavor,” said Angela Jackson, General Partner and Managing Director at Portland Seed Fund.

Over the course of the three-year project, RAIN Catalysts and PSF will also host community-based events and educational workshops, while activating a collaborative network of partners and stakeholders to catalyze a Pacific Northwest entrepreneurial ecosystem and help technology startups get fund-ready — with a focus on women and BIPOC-led companies.

If you are running a technology startup based in Oregon or Washington and want assistance raising capital, please contact RAIN Catalysts’ Capital Access Director, Nathan Lillegard at nathan@raincatalysts.org. For more information on Portland Seed Fund, please contact info@portlandseedfund.com.

To track the success of this program, subscribe to our newsletter at raincatalysts.org/newsletter.

About Portland Seed Fund:
Portland Seed Fund is the region’s most active pre-seed and seed-stage investor (source: CB Insights). The Fund has more than $35 Million under management across four funds. Since 2010, PSF has invested in more than 150 Pacific Northwest-based capital efficient companies with high growth potential. Notable exits include Auth0, Hubb, Sightbox and The Wild, scalable tech companies that created hundreds of high-paying jobs before they were acquired and generated significant wealth for founders. The platform has invested in dozens of women and BIPOC founders, providing critical venture capital as well as mentoring and access to a vast peer network of founders and key contacts.

About RAIN Catalysts:
The Regional Accelerator & Innovation Network (RAIN Catalysts) is a 501(c)(3) global non-profit organization that is run by experienced entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial ecosystem-builders. RAIN Catalysts exists to reduce barriers to entrepreneurship and innovation for underrepresented populations and communities. Since 2014, RAIN Catalysts has been invited into 52 communities in Oregon and Washington and 2 cities in Pakistan to help them build inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems and innovation economies. RAIN Catalysts’ model is investigative, not prescriptive – which means we join existing community activities/conversations, engage local stakeholders, listen, map ecosystem assets, identify and leverage strengths, identify gaps with partners and spin-up programming that meets the needs of that region’s entrepreneurs.

RAIN Catalysts’ mission is to partner with communities to catalyze inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems, connect entrepreneurs to resources—including overlooked entrepreneurs—and contribute to the creation of prosperous economies.

RAIN Catalysts’ vision is that communities everywhere support, value and celebrate entrepreneurs; regional leaders recognize entrepreneurs are a primary creator of net new jobs; communities of any size have thriving economies, and a culture of possibilities is embraced.



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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. CascadeBusNews.com • CBN@CascadeBusNews.com

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