Start your next startup at #pdxsw. The Scratch-it story.


Scrath-it FoundersThe following is a guest post from Jeff Martens, former Portland Startup Weekend Organizer, Startup Weekend Facilitator, and venture backed technology entrepreneur.

Portland Startup Weekend, Spring 2012, will go down in history as one of the most awesome events in the organizations history. Magic happened at this event. I’ve never seen so much energy, passion, and excitement as I did that weekend. This event served as a launch pad for a brilliant 15 year old software developer, Jackson Gariety. The event was a transformative experience for Vanessa Van Edwards, a nationally recognized public speaker and entrepreneur. This event also brought together two driven entrepreneurs and now great friends, Robert Haydock and Carl Einar Thornér.

Robert, fresh off his last startup in an offline industry, was looking to meet a technical co-founder and explore digital opportunities. He knew that Portland Startup Weekend would attract the best and brightest the rose city had to offer. Carl, and IT Consultant, was new to Portland and looking to get connected to the local startup community. Little did these two gentlemen know that their lives would change that weekend.

Robert was focused on having fun during the weekend event and not taking things too seriously. On Friday night, he pitched “Instagram for beer” and a team was born. Carl naturally joined the team that was all about drinking for the next 54 hours. Let’s be honest, it was a no brainer decision.

You may think you know where I am going with this story but you are wrong. Yes, the team had more fun than I’ve ever seen a team have at Startup Weekend. Yes, they built a functional product. No, they did not win. They didn’t even place in the competition! The crowd loved them as they passed out beer during their Sunday night presentation, but the judges had other ideas.

This is what makes Portland Startup Weekend so special, it’s not about winning. Robert, Carl, and their entire team had a blast and built new relationships. One of those relationships is bearing tremendous fruit today.

Approximately 1 year later, Carl and Robert joined forces and started Scratch-it, a new format for email marketing that’s proving its ability to engage and sell by delivering stellar numbers to its customers. Have you ever seen a lottery scratch off card? If so you’re already familiar with the experience; Scratch-it just made this experience digital and provides marketers the power of a SaaS platform for creating and managing scratch off cards in a digital world that can be delivered via email.

The numbers are incredible, to boot. Scratch-it is delivery 10x better results than standard email marketing. Still in the early stages, they’ve run campaigns for Plywerk, GigaOm, Zozi, First Insight, and more. Investors are also taking notice, funding the company’s growth and formal launch later this spring.

Today, Scratch-it has teamed with PDXSW to offer all alumni participants, mentors, judges, and sponsors an exclusive deal on the few remaining tickets to Spring 2014 Portland Startup Weekend.

Of course, if you want to find out what the exclusive deal is, you’ll have to go to your email inbox, look for the message from Portland Startup Weekend, and scratch to reveal.

And for the rest of you….if you are ready for your lives to change like Carl and Robert’s did, join us at PDXSW April 25-27, 2014. I hope to see you there!