Business grad happy to live up to entrepreneurial promise

The year Jeff Martens earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon, he was named Student Entrepreneur of the Year in the Lundquist College of Business. But there was a problem.

“It was kind of a burden because I didn’t feel like I earned it,” he said.

Now, 13 years later, Martens feels like he’s finally able to live up to those early expectations.

Martens, class of 2000, is co-founder of and CEO of CPUsage, a Portland start-up that’s generating buzz in the technology world. The new company’s service is intended to allow scientists, researchers and others to do massive amounts of computing in the cloud.

“It solves a problem that 100 percent of high performance computer customers have,” he said.

Martens graduated from the UO in 2000 intending to work with his father, an entrepreneur himself. But when his father’s company tanked in the tech bubble, Martens had to go with Plan B. That included six years at Nike, working in financial and operational analysis, then three years working for Synopsys in Hillsboro, doing long-range global forecasting.

In August 2011, he and co-founder Matt Wallington started CPUsage.

“We saw an opportunity and a problem to solve,” he said.

The company officially launched last month at the TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2013 event. To date, CPUsage has raised $925,000 in venture capital. The company’s service is open for business in public beta. And Martens now feels like he’s earned that title bestowed upon him 13 years ago by his mentor and favorite instructor, Randy Swangard, now a Senior Instructor, Emeritus.

“I felt an obligation to prove to Randy that I really did deserve it,” Martens said, “and that he picked the right guy.”

— Tim Christie