Month: October 2015

SnoPlanks Puts BVC Money to Work + Thanks Bendites w/ Discount

Co-founders of SnoPlanks James Nicol and Ryan Holmes say they’ve been blown away by the support they’ve received from the Bend community, especially leading up to their win at the Bend Venture Conference. The pair’s poetic pitch for their startup earned them the $15,000 Bendbroadband Early Stage Award.

To say thank you, SnoPlanks is offering a 25% discount on a their handmade bamboo snowboards or skis to anyone with a Bend zip code. The Give-Back-to-Bend promo begins Nov. 1 and runs through Thanksgiving. “The BVC really validated that we not only have a great product, but that the community believes that we could be successful in the long term,” Holmes says.

Nicol adds they wanted to find a way to express their gratitude, and that giving back to the community is a core company value. “This is what we can do right now,” he says. So if you’ve been contemplating buying a new board and  you live in our fair city, jump on it.

Beyond Beer: Bioscience, Outdoor Gear & Tech Industries Take Hold

By G. Matt Sybrant
EDCO Key Industry Coordinator

Have you ever noticed the phenomenon of a company establishing themselves successfully then over time, other businesses in that same sector open in the same area? Nationally, we see companies gather around particular strengths – aerospace in Washington’s Puget Sound, high tech in Silicon Valley and bioscience in Massachusetts.  Locally, Deschutes Brewery’s ability to organically grow an entire brewing industry is one example that comes to mind. And now, we’re also seeing tech, outdoor gear, bioscience and food products forming “clusters” in Bend.

Industry clustering, a term coined by Michael Porter of Harvard Business School, is very common. The occurrence of industry clusters is based in the economic principle of comparative advantage. In practice, when someone gets really good at something, that knowledge is passed on to employees and in turn, a small number of those people will spin off and start their own companies. When a small cluster turns into an industry sector with a critical mass of businesses assembling in a geographic area, synergies occur. Companies share a talent pool, suppliers, industry techniques, and other resources making that specific location in the state, country, or world very good at what they do.

Want a Job? We Got Some.

Today could be — no promises — your best day ever. It’s our first Jobs Roundup as StartupBend. It’s a day of unbridled hope and optimism. A day when anything can happen. A day when you feel just like this boy from Neverending Story riding a flying dog. Let’s do this!

So, jobs. The StartupBend job board is jam packed with exciting opportunities. Here is who is hiring this month:

G5
Senior Test Engineer
SEO Associate
Software QA Manager
Software Engineer
Paid Analyst

Roundhex
Web Developer

Systema
Equipment Integration Software Engineer

Zuri Group
PHP/Web Developer

And more. Check them all out startupbend.com/jobs. Go get ’em!

Awesome Bend Awards $1,000 to Little Free Libraries Project

Sometimes you don’t need to raise six or seven figures to get your project humming. Sometimes a small amount can lead to big change. That’s exactly what’s happening with one of Bend’s more delightful projects right now, Awesome Bend.

The group awarded Serenity Johnson a $1,000 grant to make her idea of expanding Little Free Libraries (aka the cutest things ever) to the neglected parts of Bend a reality. Johnson was one of five finalists pitching their ideas Tuesday night at the Deschutes Brewery Tap Room. The grant came from ten $100 donations from Awesome Bend trustees.

“This project [will] promote one of the most valuable things we have—literacy,” said Johnson. “Without reading, we would not be able to do math, drive, shop, learn, and live a functioning life.These libraries [will] not only bring the community closer, but also make the gift of learning accessible to each and every person in Bend.”

BendTECH Coworking Evolves + Tech Talk This Week


The first question people ask when you arrive in Central Oregon is “what do you do?” because it’s somewhat of a coup to figure out how to live in this singularly beautiful, active, and just urban enough town. Bend is well on it’s way to becoming a mecca for independent workers and startups because many of the people who work here, or chose to start their businesses here, could go anywhere.

Now because of BendTECH, we no longer need to languish at home with the dishes in the sink, in a noisy coffee shop, or isolated in boring executive suites. There’s a small army of successful independent professionals in this town, and coworking is an emerging way to have better work/life boundaries and community. You get all the perks of working with people, with the freedom of working on your terms.

#BVC2015 Recap: Odysys, Scratch-It, Perfect Company and SnoPlanks Win Funds, Panelists Win a Lychee Martini

The 2015 Bend Venture Conference is a wrap. The big checks have been handed out, the free food is gone and the happily funded startups are probably back to work (hopefully after a lil’ celebrating). So first the big winners, and then some big takeaways.

The PNW’s largest angel conference doled out $620,000 in investments and prizes today. Six early stage and five growth stage companies pitched on stage. And the winners were:

  • Odysys This Bend-based startup took home the BVC first prize, a $205,000 investment. Founded last year by Kent Schnepp, the startup provides a digital marketing platform for independent hotels. Now, not that we’re biased (we kind of are) but damn do we love it when investment dollars go to Bend startups. Schnepp started Odysys here. He has about a dozen employees downtown and as is expected, is growing. Congrats!

#50startups: Gobi Gear Clears Kickstarter Goal in 25 Hours

If the thought of digging endlessly through a stuff sack in search of one specific thing, not finding it and having to dump out everything to do so makes you want to scream, rest assured that Chez Brungraber feels your pain. She finds the general blackholeness of stuff sacks and back packs crazy making, and she founded Gobi Gear as the answer.

The travel gear startup launched a KickStarter for its SegSac, a stuff sack segmented into four parts, on Oct. 7. The campaign reached its $15,000 goal in 25 hours. StartupBend caught up with Brungraber to learn more about Gobi Gear’s products, her plans for the Bend company and her secret sauce for running a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Startup: Gobi Gear
Founded: 2011
Owners: Chez and Griffin Brungraber
Employees: 2
Headquarters: Bend

#BVC2015 Starts Today: Here’s a Survival Guide

The Bend Venture Conference is upon us. For the next two days, our not-so-little mountain town will be brimming with entrepreneurs, investors, startup experts, people who have already made it to the business Big Time and people who are just still working to get there.

This is my third year attending the BVC and I thought I’d offer up a little advice for how to make the most of Northwest’s largest angel conference.

First, check out today’s unConference. Presented by a little blog you might know, and hosted at BendTECH, the unConference is just that: an informal meetup of startup geeks that ends in an all-out pitch fest. It’s free. There’s beer. And the person with the winning pitch will present as part of the early stage company presentations at the BVC Friday. It’s pure entrepreneurial enthusiasm. Ideas and energy run amok, in a good way.