Month: April 2015

Pull-Style, Hands-Free Stroller KidRunner Debuts Kickstarter

KidRunner, one of our #50startups, launched its Kickstarter Wednesday in hopes of raising $50,000 to fund the production of 15 kidRunners for its ambassador team.

What the heck is a kidRunner? It’s a high-performance, all-terrain kid jogger that you pull behind you instead of pushing. That leaves your arms free to move or hold onto to your dog’s leash or eat a sandwich or do whatever you want.

The startup’s ambassador team includes a range of runners from everyday parents to Olympic hopefuls, and is led by Bend’s own Max King. (King won the Bigfoot 10K pulling his daughter in a kidRunner, running a 5:22 per mile pace).

Backers of the kidRunner Kickstarter will receive rewards ranging from a pro running tips courtesy of the ambassador team to kidRunner gear to a two-day running camp with King himself.

#50startups: How Hydaway Won Kickstarter and What’s Next

Niki Singlaub travels a lot for work and wanted a water bottle that folded to fit into his pocket while going through airport security. Then he could pop it open and fill it up before boarding. But even after diving deep into the depths of Amazon (there’s things you can’t unsee people) Singlaub couldn’t find what he needed. So being a product designer by trade and an entrepreneur at heart, he made one.

As it turns out, Singlaub was onto something. His collapsible water bottle not only caught the attention of his friends and family, but he’s raised nearly $100,000 thanks to excited Kickstarter backers this month. And the campaign is still going. BendTECH sat down with Singlaub to discuss what goes into designing his collapsible water bottle called the Hydaway, and how he transformed his idea into a successful, nearing six-figure Kickstarter campaign.

Cascade Angels Raises $725k for 2015 Fund

Cascade Angels raised $725,000 for its 2015 fund, the Bend-based organization announced Friday. That’s a 58% increase from its inaugural 2014 fund, which made investments in Manzama, Droplr and Amplion, all tech startups based right here Central Oregon, as well as Portland-based Poached Jobs.

From the news release:

“With investment from Oregon Growth Board, Craft3, entrepreneurs and business leaders, as well as CEOs and founders who have had successful exits, Cascade Angels is gaining momentum,” said Julie Harrelson, CEO of Harrelson Group, which serves as the Fund Manager for Cascade Angels. “Current plans are to begin investing in Oregon companies immediately in order to fund these early efforts.

The fund’s mission is to create opportunities for investors and businesses in and with connections to Central Oregon to drive economic growth and fuel prosperity. Cascade Angels is currently accepting applications from companies seeking investment capital.

Julie Harrelson: What Makes a Great Angel and Great Investment

By Julie Harrelson
Harrelson Group CEO and Cascade Angels fund manager

I recently attended the Angel Capital Association Summit in San Diego. With over 600 delegates, we covered everything angel investment. During the Summit, I presented a session on Best Practices in forming Angel Groups.

In the group of 50 that attended the session, by far, the biggest concerns expressed were recruiting and engaging angels and quality of deal flow. You might ask, what makes a great angel and what makes a great investment? I’ve distilled it down to a few key things:

  • What makes a great angel is an ability to invest, to collaborate, to participate in due diligence and to support the investment.
  • What makes a great investment is a coachable executive team, a product that solves a problem (and that people will buy!) and a reasonable expectation of return.

It was good to see Oregon’s own Rob Wiltbank at the conference. Rob, Angel Research Institute (ARI) Vice Chairman of Research, presented the most recent Halo Report results, which track angel investing around the country.

Bend Product Designer Blows Up Kickstarter With Pocket-Sized Water Bottle

You know when you have to sell chocolate bars in middle school and you’re just hoping to sell at least three so your mom doesn’t have to buy the whole box. Then there’s the kid who sells enough to win a pizza party and a limo ride and an assembly? Niki Singlaub, creator of the HYDAWAY reusable water bottle, is like that kid.

Singlaub, a Bend-based product designer, launched a Kickstarter campaign April 12 in hopes of raising $20,000 to fund the first big production run of the collapsible, silicon water bottle that he invented. He surpassed that goal in the first 27 hours. And the funds are still rolling in. To date, backers have contributed nearly $64,000 toward Singlaub’s Kickstarter.

Today — in honor of Earth Day — he’s trying to hit $70,000. If so, Singlaub plans on donating 1% of his Kickstarter funds to 1% for Planet. This is the second time Singlaub has tried Kickstarter to get his water bottle startup off the ground. Last year’s campaign missed its fundraising goal.

High Desert Maker Mill to Open on Bend’s Westside

The High Desert Maker Mill Powered by Cascade Divide will open this spring at 213 SW Columbia in Bend Oregon. The High Desert Makers, a non-profit organization, fueled the DIY spirit in Central Oregon through many events since winning the Bend Venture unConference wildcard in 2013, and will evolve their educational and collaborative programs with this official hub.

Cascade Divide is developing a multi-use technology campus with world-class data centers at 213 SW Columbia and struck the agreement with the High Desert Makers. “This is a business-focused partnership dedicated to driving Central Oregon’s economy through clean technology and innovation. It’s a strong investment for Bend and Central Oregon’s future and we look forward to watching it grow,” said Jeff Henry, Senior Vice President of Cascade Divide.

Deschutes River @ Old Mill

Bend Outdoor Worx Highlighted in Built Oregon Editorial

Bend seems to be the perfect testing ground for outdoor products. We’ve got mountains, valleys, sun, snow, water, and a whole hellofalot of people who take advantage of it all.

Gary Bracelin founded a local accelerator program for the outdoor industry called Bend Outdoor Worx, and he recently sat down with Mitch Daugerty from Built Oregon to talk about the program.

My favorite clip:

“It’s funny you say ‘Why Bend?’ because I always say ‘Why not Bend?’,” Gary said. “Doesn’t it seem like the perfect place for a unique outdoor-industry specific accelerator? We started in Bend because it is such an iconic location for outdoor industry companies. Over the years, I worked with businesses who love Bend and would come here to shoot their catalogs, but couldn’t locate here because there wasn’t the kind of business support they needed—but that has changed. It just felt genuinely authentic to start here.”