If you haven’t heard of PIE, it’s probably because you don’t live in the Pacific Northwest. But the Portland Incubator Experiment has already amassed such an impressive roster of startups that everyone may know about them soon enough. Recognizing that, Google is getting out in front and partnering up.
Google joins Coca-Cola, Target, Nike, and Wieden+Kennedy (the largest privately-held advertising and communications company in the world) in helping out PIE. Like many of those companies, they’ll provide 5 mentors (from Google, YouTube, Google Ventures, Android, etc) to the incubator that will help the startups associated with the program.
PIE accepts 8 to 10 startups each class, with each receiving up to $18,000 and three months of office space in Portland. Applications for the newest class close on August 1, and it will begin on September 1. “Where else can startups get the chance to learn from the guy who invented the wiki, the guy who built Twitter’s API, the folks who made Old Spice entertaining, and some of the most easily recognized brands in the world?,” is how co-founder Rick Turoczy pitches it.
So why does Google want a piece of this? Again, the roster they’ve already put out there is impressive. BankSimple, Urban Airship, COLOURlovers, PHP Fog, are the already-funded bigger names. Then there are the quirky players, like Bac’n —a startup to sell bacon on the Internet, which was quickly acquired by Bacon Freaks. You can’t make this stuff up.
As a partner sending several mentors, Google will get to sniff around early for deals. See what I did there? Sniff, PIE, Bac’n.
In the post-Google Labs world, such deals make sense for them.