Greater Portland Tech Challenge presented by Portland General Electric

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The Greater Portland Tech Challenge brings smart cities problem solving to the smartest region in the country.
— Skip Newberry, CEO Technology Association of Oregon

Greater Portland Inc and the Technology Association of Oregon, with support from PGE, are pleased to once again invite public and private partners to collaborate at the Greater Portland Tech ChallengeLast year, we paired 18 agencies, governments, and problem-solving tech firms to explore technology solutions to regional and local challenges. 

Join us as we explore the intersection of equity and smart cities problem-solving. We're looking for challenges in disciplines like resiliency, energy, security, data, IoT, and mobility. This year, we’re interested in problems that explore the intersection of technology and equity.

Tech firms - test drive new solutions, find a local agency to copilot a demo that solves a problem and build relationships with future clients. Bring your best problem-solving team to the challenge. Apply here before February 15, 2019 early registration ends.

Agencies explore challenges like last mile connections, the digital divide, data collection, visualization and coordination, energy management, and public infrastructure. Bring your most confounding problem to the tech challenge.

Bring your community's problem to the tech challenge where public and private sector problem solvers converge.

Bring your community's problem to the tech challenge where public and private sector problem solvers converge.

This year’s Greater Portland Tech Challenge, presented by PGE, is an opportunity for problem solvers from the private and public sector to explore interesting, confounding and challenging problems that need different perspectives. A morning of challenge pitches from agencies leads to capacity counter pitches from tech firms. An afternoon of one-on-one consults between agencies and tech firms leads to demo/pilot project partnerships.

The Greater Portland Tech Challenge brings together public and private sector problem solvers to work on the most intractable problems.
— Lloyd Purdy, VP of Regional Competitiveness GPI

Challenge Accepted!

Here are some examples of the intersection of equity and smart citites problem solving we’ll explore at the 2019 regional tech challenge. Full details on the Challenge Accepted! page.

City of Independence: How can we create a simple, low cost method for determining which sewer pipes are leaking, where, and the severity of the leak?

OSU Extension + City of Independence: How can we develop an open data system to link existing and new weather stations, aggregating the data and developing new predictive analytics to identify microclimates in agricultural lands.

Metro: How do we use existing available data on commuter travel patterns to understand congestion and identify ways to manage it?

PBOT: Can we improve the Transportation Wallet to adapt to consumer demands and multi-modal transit options?

Oregon Health & Science University: How can we improve accessibility and campus navigation for patients?

Explore Washington Park: How can we improve and measure transit use to Washington Park cultural venues?

NW Natural: How can technology help us connect under-served residents with energy efficiency programs?

City of Vancouver + Ryd: How can we improve ride hailing for the nonprofit Ryd system?

East Metro Economic Alliance: Plan a transit hub to improve mobility on the east side of the region.

Daimler Trucks NA: How can vehicles be used to expand the reach of a cellular network?

Portland General Electric: Can Smart Cities technology improve affordable housing and building efficiency?

Click here to see details on each challenge.


Highlights below from the inaugural tech challenge pairing public and private-sector problem solvers.

Rules of the road


The Pitch

On February 27 2019, each agency/city/organization will present at least one challenge to an audience of problem solving technology firms. Each tech firm will pitch their problem solving capacity back to the audience of agencies. Then, teams casts votes to indicate who they would like to follow up with in the afternoon breakout session of one-on-one consults. 

The Problem

In the afternoon, it’s not a hack-a-thon. It’s a hack-the-challenge statement. Based upon paired voting from the morning pitch sessions, we’ll pair each agency with a limited number of tech firms for an afternoon of in-depth problem solving through one-on-one consults.  


The Match

The day culminates with an opportunity for agencies and established firms to pick a tech firm (or firms) for a demo/pilot project. They will restate their challenge (because maybe their understanding of their problem evolved) and pick their team. Then teams spend 3-4 months working together on a demo or pilot project.



Viable collaborations will be invited to present at the next national Global City Teams Challenge Tech Jam in September 2019.

Greater Portland TEch Challenge FAQ

Who can pitch a Challenge?

Any agency, firm, community group or entity or company that wants to work with a technology firm from the Greater Portland region. Any tech firm that wants to solve a  problem and develop a relationship with decision makers. Participating agencies and challenge summaries will be posted online in advance of the Challenge Day - February 27, 2019. 


What is the timeline for the NEXT Greater Portland TEch Challenge?

July 25, 2018 - Pre-registration open for agencies. Agency registration fee will increase after Sept. 14, 2018.

October 24, 2018 -  Deadline for agencies, cities and community groups to register. Challenges may be accepted after October 24th if there is room available.

February 15, 2019 - Early registration deadline for Tech Firms to Apply to the Tech Challenge

February 18, 2019 - Slide decks due to GPI.

February 27, 2019 - Challenge Day! (pitch, counter pitch & consults)

March – August 2019 - Work with your team on a demo or pilot project.

August 15, 2019 - Review of projects and selection of finalists.

September, 2019 - Presentations of viable collaborations at national Global City Teams Challenge Tech Jam.


What Happens "Challenge DAy" - FEbruary 27, 2019? 

The Pitch

8:30 a.m. Check in

9 to 10 a.m. Challenge pitches by agencies.

10:15 to 10:30 a.m. Break

10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tech firm capacity pitches.

Noon a.m. Break for lunch on site.


The Problem (a.k.a. hack the challenge statement)

Based upon paired voting from the morning session, each organization may have up to three separate one-on-one consults to further explore their challenge and solution.

1 p.m. One-on-one Agency and Firm Consult #1

1:45 p.m. One-on-one Agency and Firm Consult #2 

2:15 p.m. One-on-one Agency and Firm Consult #3


The Match

3 to 3:30 p.m. Organization deliberation and decision making.

3:30 p.m. Organizations announce which firms they’d like to continue working with and networking.