Executive Director & Board Member of Starve Ups
John Friess is focused on founding and building the marketability, viability and exit ability of idea and emerging stage startups. His career in this realm began in 1999 when he was a Marketing Manager on behalf of the VC backed kozmo.com, a $250M backed startup delivered convenience goods to your door in an hour. This role helped shape his thoughts on funding, brand and startup best practices.
Then in 2000, he co-founded wired.MD with his brother Mark Friess, which was a leading health education company building the world's largest wholly-owned patient education video library delivered via its multilingual SaaS platform and via CCTV systems to over 1000 medical clinics, hospitals and teaching institutions globally. The company was taken from concept to completion through being acquired and fully integrated in 2008 into the industry leading patient education company, MediMedia Corporation, now Krames StayWell, for $7.4M.
Also in 2000, John co-founded and has been the Executive Director of Starve Ups, which was Oregon's first startup accelerator, and is still its only scalerator (defined as an end-to-end accelerator), taking startups through all three stages of the startup lifecycle. In the last 18 years Starve Ups has been argued in international news as the most successful startup accelerator in the world, has an 81% survival/success rate of 169 membership companies, has raised over $546M in funding amongst membership companies, has had 26 membership companies positively acquired, or go public, for a total enterprise value of $1.02B.
In 2004, John along with Miguel McKelvey, John Griffith and Paul Anthony Troiano of Starve Ups were hired by Portland State University to help design, launch, brand, support, and get to capacity the Portland State Business Accelerator. In less than a year the 40,000 sq. ft. accelerator was at capacity with Starve Ups helping design the space, placing 11 of 14 anchor tenants, building out the brand identity and site, and running launch and startup educational events there.
In 2008, John co-founded his next startup called journey gym with Robert Montgomery and Chris Gunson. journey gym built the world’s first truly portable universal gym, known as “the health and fitness system for the rest of us”, and combined the gym with a online fitness community platform and with a supporting library of over 320 workout and nutrition videos. The system has now been sold into hotels, gyms, big box stores, on TV and homes in 20 countries and has become for the health and weight loss solution for thousands upon thousands.
Then in 2014, John co-founded the Starve Ups Fund with Tom Sperry and Paul Anthony Troiano. The fund was focused on providing both seed funding, and ongoing full startup life cycle support, for innovative and disruptive Oregon-based founders and their startups. In 2017, the second iteration of the Starve Ups Fund was launched with a revised approach which equally invests in membership companies from each new Starve Ups Class and provides follow on investment into existing membership companies.
Most recently in 2015, John joined on with existing Starve Ups membership company Arcimoto, who designs and manufactures the world's first Fun Utility Vehicle (FUV), which is a three-wheeled electric vehicle for daily driving. Arcimoto had garnered its first and only institutional investment from the legendary Bill Hambrecht at the Starve Ups Venture Community I event and W.R. Hambrecht + Co. had their sites on taking the company public. John joined on board 2 years prior to the actual listing on NASDAQ to assist in fundraising a $19.2M Regulation A+ IPO and further establish the brand in the consumer and institutional markets.
John previously also served on the Board of Directors of the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network, which provides resources and support to entrepreneurs throughout the state, and Incight, which provides education, scholarships, career support and empowerment to individuals with disabilities. He has also been angel investing in startups sine 2001 and has sat as an advisor to a series of Starve Ups and non-membership startup companies since 2000. A graduate of the University of Oregon, John received a B.A. in Business Administration.