Month: March 2015

Suggest Speakers (Maybe You?) for TedxBendWomen

Know a woman with an amazing story, an inspirational mission or an unwavering commitment to making Central Oregon a better place? The TedxBendWomen’s Salon is now taking nominations for speakers for its May 30th event. TedxBendWomen aims to highlight women who want to make a difference in their local and global communities.

From the news release:

We believe that women are change agents, inventors, leaders, and idea champions. Our discussions will range from Central Oregon to the developing world to the developed world, where generations of women are transforming their own lives and the communities in which they live. Speakers will represent a diverse pool of women, from a variety of backgrounds, and from all communities and walks of life in Central Oregon. We would like to highlight the women in our community and share their experiences with the world.

New Executives Named for Oregon Drone Industry Development

SOAR Oregon, the non-profit funded by the state of Oregon to kickstart the drone industry, made two key hires this week as it begins its second year of operation. Chuck Allen, a veteran of entrepreneurial startups and multinational corporations, is the new Executive Director of SOAR.

John Stevens, a leader in manned and unmanned aircraft operations and program management, joins SOAR as the Chief Operations Officer of Oregon’s unmanned aerial system (UAS) test ranges. Oregon is one of a few states chosen by the FAA to host official test sites. They are expected to lead the development of new commercial applications and provide the FAA with the information necessary to prove airworthiness and safety.

Allen is an accomplished technology and operations executive manager across several industries and served as Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer for Citigroup Global Equity Finance and as managing director of Microsoft’s Middle East business. Allen’s background includes both entrepreneurial and highly technical challenges, including mentoring startups and operations for a video game company. He also successfully helped to build the technology infrastructure for a $60 million trading company and then rebuild it after the data centers were lost on 9/11. Allen is also a pilot and drone hobbyist.

#50startups: Are You an Accidental Sales Manager? Meet UpTyck

Many people would rather poke themselves in the eye than try to sell something — or many things for that matter — to a stranger. If you fall into that category and happen to be a small business owner, then Rich Fox has created UpTyck just for you. Fox has spent most of his career working in tech sales with companies such as ExtraHop Networks in Seattle.

He knows the drill: how to manage a long list of leads, when to re-connect with a prospect after that first call and how to convert prospects to clients. But for many small businesses and startup founders, the ins and outs of sales is foreign territory. UpTyck wants to make the sales process easy by  incorporating it into your gmail account. The app provides prompts for sales tasks and integrates all your customer contact information, with the aim of transforming the accidental sales manager into a sales superstar.

whurkin’ It: Bend-based whurk Introduces Mobile App

The founder of whurk Rob Dumas said recently that the Bend-based startup has been moving at “startup pace” since we last spoke with him. And Dumas (previously w/ Internmatch, Dice and Monster) is not joking. The company’s platform, which connects brands to an ever-ready college “whurkforce,” introduced the first version of its mobile app this week.

The mobile app is ready for beta testing by college kids looking to earn some quick cash — or gift cards and other swag — by completing jobs for companies wanting to market on college campuses. For example, Silipint used whurk last fall to hire students to distribute their sili shot glasses to the social chairs of sororities and fraternities at several colleges.

Cascade Angels to Receive Up To $100K Investment from Oregon Growth Board

Oregon Growth Board and Cascade Angels Fund 2015 agreed on a potential $100K investment last month for the coming year. This investment in the 2015 Fund comes after a successful 2014 for Cascade Angels and the means to provide more local, patient capital for launch stage companies. OGB will provide a $50K investment and add an additional $50K if the Fund reaches a total investment of $500KCascade Angels Fund 2015 is based in Central Oregon and managed by Harrelson Group. The Fund is committed to helping build Oregon’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Cascade Angels Fund 2014 invested close to $400K in emerging companies and pushed the total at the Bend Venture Conference to over $1M, including funding for Amplion and Poached Jobs.

“Regional angel funds are an important building block in Oregon’s effort to build a stronger economy. We are pleased to be making this investment,” said Beth Cooke, Executive Director of the Oregon Growth Board. The Oregon Growth Board was created in the 2012 Legislative Session in an effort to spur more economic growth in Oregon, with a focus on increasing the state’s ability to grow companies from early stage to large, locally headquartered firms. An important focus is placed on leveraging state resources to improve the availability of capital for high-growth companies.

Skills That Pay Bills: New BendPoly Debuts Practical Digital Marketing Program

What if I told you that Bend would soon to be home to a new digital marketing program that teaches college students and recent grads practical skills they likely aren’t learning in school? Well, the cat’s officially out of the bag — and he’s already creating a lead nurturing campaign.

BendPoly is the latest project of Bruce Cleveland, a Bay Area venture capitalist who has been championing Bend’s tech scene. A general partner with Interwest Partners, Cleveland has joined forces with some local dynamos including Cari Baldwin, CEO of Bluebird Strategies, to create BendPoly.

The six-week digital marketing course will be taught by industry veterans from Marketo, NewsCred and Obility as well as Bend-based Bluebird Strategies, Manzama and G5.

Bend Bioscience Event & New Website

Some of Bend’s most exciting startups are in the bioscience field, and the bioscience startup cluster recently rechristened itself the Bend Bioscience Consortium. Their goal is to connect and cultivate the sector in Central Oregon and launched their new website,, to that end.

Bend Bio will hold its Spring Event at the OSU-Cascades’ Graduate & Research Center to showcase the proposed site for the OSU-Cascades’ Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (ICE). They’ll have a line-up of entrepreneurial speakers, and ample networking time.

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015
5:30 – 7:30 pm
OSU-Cascades Graduate & Research Center Building
650 Columbia Street in Bend Oregon

You can RSVP here.

Running Hands Free! Meet kidRunner’s New Ambassador Team

One of our recent #50startups, kidRunner, has announced its 2015 Ambassador team — a group of elite runners, adventure athlete, everyday running parents, retail partners and sponsors. If you recall, kidRunner is the Bend company that has invented a new running stroller that you pull behind you instead of push. Because using arms = good. 

kidRunner ambassador and local elite runner Max King leads the group. Following a Spring 2015 crowdfunding campaign, each ambassador will be given their own kidRunner to run, explore and for some of the, even to train for the 2016 Olympic Trials in their sports.

The company plans on taking pre-orders this summer in advance of their official launch. From their news release:

“We identified and assembled a team of elite and every day parent runners, adventurers and entrepreneurs who shared our goal to reinvent running, biking, skiing and exploring with kids,” said Will Warne, kidRunner partner and founder. “We wanted athletes motivated to reinvent running and exploring with kids because today’s kid joggers are heavy, awkward and injury prone. We looked for a team who runs on roads, trails, beaches, and tracks and who can share their experiences with the world. And, we’ve found them!”