Shortly after graduating from University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business with a degree in business, entrepreneurship, and finance, Oliver Alexander ’14 and his business partner Orion Falvey ’13 moved their healthcare startup, Orchid Health, to Portland.
Working remotely, Alexander noticed Portland’s coworking spaces left something to be desired, and that it was too difficult to find a spot at a coffee shop when he needed to get out of the house.
“These days you have to get there at eight o’clock sharp if you want to get an outlet or a seat. It’s hyper-competitive,” he said.
Why isn’t there a place, he thought, where they could work for the day without having to deal with that stuff?
Although Alexander still holds a board position and an ownership stake with Orchid Health, which offers healthcare services to rural communities throughout Oregon, he no longer has a day-to-day role in the business.
His latest venture, though, called Remote.ly, set out to address the very issue he noticed in Portland’s coworking sector.
A high-end coworking environment with services like a free in-house barista, more than 800 beautiful indoor houseplants to keep you company, and, as Alexander explained, “some of the best views of the Portland skyline in the city,” Remote.ly is a leading coworking and event space for groups as small as two or as large as 150.
Among other amenities, Remote.ly— recently reopened under all COVID-19 safety guidelines—offers the Skyrise Event Space for weddings, speaker panels, and even high-school dances.
Alexander chose UO for the strong entrepreneurship program, and although he didn’t intend to start two businesses postgraduation, he said his twenties were the time to do it.
That’s a piece of advice he passes on to other students currently enrolled at Lundquist College.
In your early twenties, he said, “you have so much energy and drive,” and as a student, simply having that @UOregon.edu suffix on an email address opened up many doors for him and his partners when they were just starting out.
“It’s magical how important those connections can be,” he said. “That was really helpful for us. When we didn’t know something, we didn’t run from it. We just networked until we found someone who did know.”
And when just starting a business, Alexander continued, adopting a scientific approach can be helpful.
“If it does work, that means one thing,” he said. “If it doesn’t work, that means something else: extrapolate the data, everything’s a step. You have to adapt and pivot before you find real success.”
According to Alexander, Remote.ly’s business naturally dipped during COVID, but now, things are looking up.
“People are ready,” he said.
—William Kennedy, Lundquist College Communications