Austin-based startup blogger ranks Portland among the country’s top five “under-the-radar” tech hubs

Weed out the big places in tech — like Silicon Valley, Austin, Texas, and Provo, Utah — and there’s a tech hub diamond in the rough: Portland, Maine.

The Our Lady of Victories Statue in Monument Square on a clear day in Portland, Maine. (BDN photo by Darren Fishell)

The Our Lady of Victories Statue in Monument Square on a clear day in Portland, Maine. (BDN photo by Darren Fishell)

At least, tech startup blogger John Egan, editor of the Austin-based SpareFoot Blog, thinks so. He ranked Portland fifth in his list of “under-the-radar tech hubs,” along with Boise, Idaho; Demoines, Iowa; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Egan started by looking at a 2013 report from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Blog listicle rankings aside, that study placed  Portland-South Portland-Biddeford (a census grouping) among the top 10 mid- to large-sized metropolitan areas for density of information and communications technology startups in 2010. The report also ranked Portland sixth for change in the density of startups from 1990 to 2010.

From that list, Egan said the list was whittled to five by looking at other rankings and accolades from other publications and blogs.

For Portland, that included a ranking among the “10 most unexpected cities for high-tech innovation” and a 2011 Forbes ranking of “best cities for young adults.”

The post mentioned Big Room Studios, the e-gifting company CashStar and pet medication firm Vet’s First Choice as “tech startup stars” in the city.

Jess Knox, an organizer for the inaugural Maine Startup and Create Week this summer, told the blog that the startup community in Portland “has been working hard to develop resources that foster, engage and empower startups and entrepreneurs to grow their businesses in our city.”

Looking statewide, a report last year commissioned by the energy and environmental engineering industry group E2Tech identified “clean technology” as the fastest growing technology sector in the state, adding 31 percent more jobs from 2003 to 2010. In covering that report last year at Mainebiz, I’d found that growth just ahead of national trends, as cleantech jobs across the country grew by around 27 percent for the same period.

Darren Fishell

About Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.