Portland Mushroom Company big winner at venture competition final
October 04, 2013
Portland Mushroom Company, the creation of three 2012 graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences, was the big winner in the final of Lewis & Clark’s inaugural venture competition, held October 4 in a crowded Council Chamber.
Portland Mushroom Company, which uses sustainable, locally sourced practices and materials to grow high-end oyster mushrooms, was awarded $20,000 by the judges for use in expanding its operation. The team consists of Zachary Tobias B.A. ’12, Ryan Bubriski B.A. ’12, and Will Fortini B.A. ’12.
The other winning team was RootED Recovery, a clinical mentoring program for adults with eating disorders. The program connects a network of care providers with eating-disorder sufferers to support them in their ongoing recovery. The team, made up of Alishia Blevins M.A. ’12, Kelly Pertzsch M.A. ’11, Katie Fraser M.S. ’12, and Kim Fraser, was awarded $10,000 by the judges.
Kicking off the daylong final, Dean Tuajuanda Jordan said, “Today is a milestone, not only for those competing, but for all three schools of Lewis & Clark.” As Jordan’s comment indicated, students and alumni from all three schools were on the five finalist teams.
Judging the presentations was a panel of accomplished entrepreneurs and venture capital professionals—Tony Abena B.S. ’86, managing director and chief ventures officer at Deloitte Investments; Jerry Carleton J.D. ’07, founder and principal of the Immix Law Group; Kevin Fechtmeyer, managing partner of Cave Creek Capital and parent of a current student; Shannon Heim, sell-side equity research associate for Pacific Crest Securities; Robert Julier B.S. ’66, principal with the Planned Innovation Institute; and Rob Wiltbank, professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the Atkinson School of Management.
Heim praised the teams for the quality of their ideas and preparation for the competition final. “It was inspiring to listen to each of the teams and see these impressive, entrepreneurially minded young people in action,” she said. “It’s exciting to see this kind of program being developed at Lewis and Clark.”
Closing the event before a crowd of alumni, trustees, students, faculty, and staff, Michael Kaplan, managing director of the new Entrepreneurship Center, announced that the competition will be held again in 2014.