Month: September 2015

Get Your Tix for the “What Builds Bend” Event Thursday

Well, looks like you have plans on Thursday night. Built Oregon, a digital magazine featuring Oregon entrepreneurs and companies, is hosting a panel discussion in Bend highlighting several local businesses.

The event, “What Builds Bend? Why Craft is Good Business in Central Oregon,” features company leaders from HydroFlask, Kialoa Paddles, Boneyard Brewing and Pacific Superfood Snacks. Moderated by Corey Schmidt, of Seven Peaks Ventures, the panelists will discuss why they chose Bend as the place to start and grow their company, lessons they’ve learned along the way and the importance of storytelling.

There are a few tickets left. And there are snacks. So see you there!

Built Oregon event details

Thursday 10/1
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The Bridge, 48 SE Bridgeford Blvd.

Guess What? You Can Now Order a kidRunner

We have a fun update from one of our #50startups: KidRunner recently announced that you can now pre-order a kidRunner — essentially a hands-free, pull-behind-you jogging stroller.

After years of R&D and hundreds of miles of test runs and that one time Max King won a race pulling his daughter in a kidRunner, the company now has 300 units available for first-time buyers. The introductory price is $750 with a $200 refundable deposit. According to the company, deliveries will begin four months after you order.

“As parents and runners, we are excited to share kidRunners with the rest of the world. We are committed to designing and building a sports product that balances being a parent with fitness, freedom, safety, performance, and fewer injuries,” says Will Warne, kidRunner partner/founder.

Tech Jobs Increase by 36% in Bend, Outpacing Overall Job Growth

In its recent story about where people moving to Bend are coming from, the Bulletin reported that tech jobs in Deschutes County are growing at a faster rate than jobs overall.

From the Bulletin:

From the first quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2015, the number of high tech jobs in the county has grown by 36 percent, according to numbers supplied by Damon Runberg of the Oregon Employment Department. By comparison, jobs in Deschutes County have grown by 20 percent.

“As you can see high-tech has grown considerably faster than the countywide numbers (which is impressive since the county has seen very fast growth),” Runberg wrote in an email.

It’s felt like tech hiring has been on the upswing, so seeing the figures is heartening. If you happen to be looking for a tech job, check out our job board. Employers have been posting a lot lately. There’s been nearly two dozen postings just between Kollective and G5 alone. Navis, TeamUnify, GL Solutions, Smart Solutions and more also have current opening listed on the site.

Meet the 5 BVC Early Stage Finalists

Well that was fun. Ten startups pitched their business ideas to a packed EDCO PubTalk at McMenamins tonight. The crowd weighed in and now five will present in the early stage competition at the upcoming Bend Venture Conference. They’re vying for a $15,000 prize donated by BendBroadband ($5k more than last year).

The finalists are:

  • Airfit
    Placing gym and shower facilities in airports, located behind security, so passengers can board their next flight feeling happy, healthy and productive.
  • Outdoor Logic – Solutions
    Developing products that make participating in outdoor activities easier, including the development of a prototype-ready ski and snowboard boot remover called the DeBooter.
  • QuakeWarn
    Earthquake Early Warning System that sends alerts via SMS/push notification when shaking is detected at coastal monitoring sites.
  • Radventure
    A peer-to-peer marketplace that helps frustrated outdoor adventure travelers explore a destination authentically, like a local.
  • SnoPlanks
    Manufactures high-end bamboo snowboards specifically geared toward powder and big mountain riding. Made by hand in Bend.

Our hats off to all 10 of the startups that presented. It’s not easy to get in front of 350 people and pitch your idea. You got guts! If you have a biz idea that you didn’t pitch tonight and want to try for a wildcard spot on the BVC main stage, attend the unConference, Thursday 10/15.

The unConference features an informal, fun pitchfest. The audience votes. And the winner gets to present at BVC the following day. And there’s beer. Hope to see you there. Also if you haven’t bought your BVC tickets, you probably should. They’re going fast, and EDCO anticipates they’ll sell out before the event.

Volcano Veggies Wins $26k from Wells Fargo Works Project

As we blogged here back in July, last year’s BVC concept stage winner and aquaponics startup Volcano Veggies was in the running for the Wells Fargo Works Project. On the line was $26,000 in cash and mentorship from Wells Fargo advisors, catered to the winning company’s business needs.

Volcano Veggies prevailed as one of the five grand-prize winners, out of 4200 entries. “Wells Fargo would like to congratulate Volcano Veggies LLC on being named a grand prize winner,” says Tracy Curtis, Wells Fargo’s Oregon regional president. “We were thrilled to again engage business owners across the country through the contest, and we enjoyed hearing their inspirational stories of entrepreneurship. Working with small business owners is one of the most important things that we do, and we are committed to helping them create a path for long-term financial success through a wide range of tools and resources.”

#50startups Catchup: Cairn’s Rapid Growth Spurs Hires, Changes

What a difference a year makes. Last fall Rob Little, founder and CEO of Cairn, was pitching his newly started subscription box for outdoor lovers at PubTalk and the BVC. His startup is now shipping more than 10,000 boxes — and seeing double-digit growth —  each month.

“Our referral network is really strong, and we’ve hit our stride with social media,” Little says. Many subscribers pay months in advance, a model that gives the company some nice cash flow. That’s allowed Little to hire five people — most recently bringing on a second marketing person.

There’s certainly some competition in the subscription box market. (We may be reaching Peak Box any moment.) But from the beginning, Little has envisioned his company as providing data and market analysis to the companies that place products in Cairn boxes in addition to sending subscribers fun packages.

Want to Meet Other Bioscience Folks? Attend Bend Bio’s Networking Event

If you’re interested in bioscience — and in Bend’s growing bioscience community — then we’ve got an event for you. Bend Bio is hosting an evening of networking Sept. 30 at LVL TEN (Stackhouse Coffee). You can hear the latest news from the Central Oregon Research Coalition, the Bend Science Station and Seven Peaks Ventures as well as meet others involved with bioscience ventures.

Bend Bio, or more formally, the Bend Bioscience Consortium, aims to connect and grow the bioscience sector in Central Oregon. According to the group’s website “the region is gaining a reputation not only with its entrepreneurial activity, but also with a growing number of established and early stage bioscience-specific companies, senior-level bioscience executives, specialized consultants, entrepreneurs and supportive business development ecosystem.”

Win $1,000 to Help Make Bend Awesomer

Awesome Bend is looking for applications for its next $1,000 pitch night. Applications are due Oct. 1 and the pitch night, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for Oct. 20. The award will go to the person or group whose proposed project will have the most positive impact on Bend.

“The definition of ‘awesome’ is intentionally left up to the imagination,” said founder Pam Stevenson.  “It could mean solving a problem, making someone stop and think, or spreading joy — think social good, the environment, technology, arts and beyond.” 

Awesome Bend is a local chapter of the Awesome Foundation, which has more than 82 chapters worldwide that have given away over $1.6 million. Launched in Bend in April, the local projects include an effort help save the endangered monarch butterflies by planting more milkweed and other blooms in community gardens. Awesome Bend also supported the We Are Remembering — Not Just a Number project, which honors soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.