Oregon accelerator Upstart gets hip to enterprise startup trend

Upstart Labs General Partner Kevin Tate

Upstart Labs, an accelerator, has teamed up with Rogue Venture Partners in a deal that will provide more funding for enterprise-oriented startups. The partnership coincides with a shift for the Portland, Ore.-based accelerator, which has done several consumer-facing deals.

The news falls in line with more interest among investors lately in funding enterprise-facing companies than consumer-facing ones. In November, VC Fred Wilson wrote about the trend, particularly in the context of later-stage investments.

Upstart has worked with a few consumer-facing startups since it launched in 2011, including Chirpify, a mobile social-payment service, and Taplister, a website that shows which beers are on tap at your favorite bar. But beginning this year, Upstart will focus mostly on enterprise, mobile and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) plays, said Kevin Tate, a general partner in the accelerator.

So far this year, Upstart and Portland-based Rogue Venture Partners have collaborated to fund two companies, one of which, Measureful, is aimed at enterprises. Under the new partnership with Rogue, Upstart typically will be able to offer product development, hands-on mentoring and $100,000 to $250,000 in investments in exchange for equity, Tate said. Previous cash investments have come in smaller amounts.

While they’re not as popular as general accelerators, enterprise-facing accelerators have been popping up as of late. In addition to Upstart — which has attracted startups from the Northwest, Hawaii and Canada — there’s also Acceleprise in Washington, D.C., and Alchemist Accelerator in the San Francisco Bay Area, both of which offer $30,000 in funding. Don’t be surprised to see more come online this year.

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