Reedies Take Spotlight in Portland’s Tech Scene

By Randall S. Barton

Reedies are taking an increasingly prominent role in Portland’s high-tech sector.

Last year, Twitter snapped up Lucky Sort, an analytics company founded by Noah Pepper ’09, for an undisclosed sum.

Now two other local tech firms founded by Reedies—Puppet Labs and Urban Airship—have been identified as likely candidates to go public in the next year.

CB Insights, a venture capital database that tracks activity related to private companies, speculates that both Puppet Labs and Urban Airship are poised for an IPO, or initial public offering—a critical step in the life of a tech start-up, much like a Broadway debut for a young playwright.

Puppet Labs, founded by CEO Luke Kanies ’97, is an information technology company whose primary product, Puppet Enterprise, provides a platform for transparent and flexible systems management. The company employs 190 people and is headquartered in the Pearl District.

Michael Richardson ’07

Michael Richardson ’07

Urban Airship, founded by Michael Richardson ’07 and three partners, provides services for mobile developers and publishers with push notifications, location-based marketing, and analytics. Michael is the company’s EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) technical director.

Reed’s growing prominence in the Portland software scene is all the more remarkable because Reed offers no computer science major. Luke majored in chemistry, Michael majored in political science, and Noah in economics.

Dozens of Reedies have infiltrated the Portland tech sector, including Merrit Quarum ’81 at Qmedtrix, Christopher Grant ’83 at Tripwire, Steven Swanson ’84 at Elemental Technologies, Ted Slupesky ’89 at Plasq, Stacy Westbrook ’97 at Webtrends, Erin McCune ’03 at Integra Telecom, and Juliana Arrighi ’07 and Brent Miller ’00 at New Relic.