Those three companies along with 27 others are members of the Northwest Education Cluster, a four-year-old organization in the Portland area that holds quarterly meetings at which these entrepreneurial companies can share ideas on directing sales efforts to school districts and teachers’ conventions, or on the intricacies of staffing, finances and other routines of managing a company.
Most Cluster members are relatively small. Vernier Software has $30 million in revenue and 75 employees; Learning.com has under $20 million in revenue and 50 employees; and Saltire has $1 million in revenue and nine employees.
Saltire, which often works on grants from the National Science Foundation, wants to expand use of its geometry program in high schools across the nation. “That’s where the big market for scientific calculators is today,” said Philip Todd, Saltire’s founder.