Month: November 2015

Bend Startup Whurk Expands to 3,000 Campuses; Reps Hydro Flask in Cali

Whurk has been steadily growing its college student “whurkforce” over its first school year and now has reps on more than 3,000 college campuses. The Bend startup, which aims to innovate campus rep programs for brands, has also grown its client list to include some local favs such as Hydro Flask and Straw Propeller, as well as Clif Bar, JLAB Audio, Uber and more.

To review, whurk signs up an army of college students who are willing to help advocate for brands on their campuses. In return, they earn cash or prizes for each task. And the whole deal is managed through whurk’s software platform. Rob Dumas, whurk’s founder and CEO, says the company averages a 96% completion rate by students for its whurk orders, while the industry average is closer to 30%.

BendTECH’s First Ever MapNight Attracts Crowd of 150

More than 150 people turned out Wednesday evening for the first MapNight, organized by BendTECH, the city’s tech-focused coworking space. The goal was to offer people working with and interested in GIS a chance to meet others, learn about Bend GIS companies and generally geek out over mapping software.

It worked. The coworking space and Stackhouse coffee were packed as people listened to presentations from SJ Camarata, director at ESRI and long-time Bend resident, as well as from GIS startup founders Sam Lanier of FireWhat, and Jereme Monteau of Trailhead Labs.

Tierney O’Dea, BendTECH’s manager, says that the mission of the coworking space is to boost the startup and tech community and bring people together.

“There are a whole bunch of GIS people doing great things here,” she says. “I think lots of people made connections last night, formed friendships and shared knowledge that will be helpful going forward.”

BVC Investments Reach $877,500; All Growth-Stage Startups Received Funds

The Bend Venture Conference doled out $620,000 in investments and awards last month, but ensuing side deals have pushed the total investment figure to $877,500, Economic Development of Central Oregon reports.

Scratch-It, the Portland-based company that makes “reveal” marketing technology (lottery ticket-like scratch off messages), continues to bring home the bacon. The company left BVC with the most funds, garnering $225,000 in investments — $125,000 from Cascade Angels and $100,000 from Seven Peaks Ventures.

The startup has since scooped up at least another $50,000 investment via a side deal with Lake Oswego-based Credo Investments, according to Brian Vierra, EDCO’s venture catalyst. Additional investments in Nemametrix, the Perfect Company, Scratch-It and Honeycomb now total $215,000. Details of how much each company received weren’t yet available.

Maps + Computers + Beer = MapNight @ BendTECH!

Join us for MapNight @ BendTECH 11/18 5pm, a local event for GIS Day, a global celebration!

What is GIS? Unless you are kicking it old school with a handwritten dead-tree map, most of the maps we use today on smartphones, computers, and even printed, are a result of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). We can use a GIS like Google Maps to find our way around, but it can do much more. Besides being a killer data visualization tool, GIS basically makes the world a complex quilt of data that can be layered, explored, analyzed, and put to good use in decision making and planning. A spectrum of users from students to journalists, firefighters, business leaders, oceanographers, and many more use GIS every day, working towards a better future.

Impart Your Wisdom! OSU Cascades Seeks Part-Time Comp Sci Teachers

The Computer Science program at OSU Cascades is looking for software professionals who are interested in teaching comp sci courses. Program director Marc Rubin notes that this is a great way to meet students for internships and/or future employment. And who knows, you just might change a few lives in the process.

In particular, the program is seeking someone to teach its Operating Systems II course this Spring. The course is prepped and can be made to fit an adjunct’s schedule. Here are the details:

OSU Cascades seeks passionate software professionals who are interested in teaching the next generation of computer scientists. Do you have a graduate degree in computer science (or related field) and are interested in teaching as a part-time adjunct at OSU-Cascades?  If so, please contact Dr. Rubin at [email protected].

KrowdFit Launches Mobile Apps, Signs Oregon Metro as Client

Do you want the chance to win money for exercising, eating healthy or even sleeping? KrowdFit, a Bend-based fitness tech startup, has created a wellness reward program that offers cash prizes — with winners drawn at random — to participants.

The company recently announced that it had partnered with Oregon Metro to offer its corporate wellness program to government personnel. Beginning this month, Metro’s 1,600-plus employees will be eligible for KrowdFit’s weekly, monthly and quarterly cash rewards of up to $5,000.

However, CEO Jim Miller says the fun — and prizes — aren’t reserved for corporate employees. Individuals can participate too. The startup’s release of its iOS and Droid apps earlier this month make it that much easier.

Jobs Roundup: What Can a Guy on a Bike in a Giant Giraffe Costume Teach You About Job Hunting?

At the ThunderCross cyclocross race this past weekend, a man — a hero — rode the entire race in a gigantic giraffe costume. He could have made that giraffe head three-feet high and it would have still been awesome. But he made it 10-feet high. He aimed higher. Went bigger. Didn’t let the reality of racing with a humongous, cardboard giraffe costume keep him down.

Be that giraffe guy. Find a job that is that much more awesome. Try for the thing you thing you think you can’t do. Even if your giant head nearly wobbles off. It might just be worth it. Which brings us to our jobs roundup: Companies are a-hiring right here in Bend, Oregon.

Organic, SEM, PLAs

Sales Operations Analyst
Client Performance Manager
Sr. Test Engineer
Software QA Manager
And more.

#50startups: Cooking Competition App FoodFu Adds Cocktails, Plating

As Eating Season — otherwise known as the holidays — rapidly approaches, it seems only fitting that our next #50startups incorporate both food and technology. Lisa and Jim Sipe created the FoodFu cooking competition app after playing their own version of Chopped with their family over Christmas. The app launched in August and now the Sipes are focused on expanding the FoodFu brand with new cocktail and plating apps.

StartupBend recently caught up with the pair to learn more about their experience in tech, why they decided to leave their previous jobs to pursue FoodFu, and the secret to successfully starting a business with your spouse.

Startup: Binary Star Systems, creators of FoodFu and FoodFu Cocktails
Founded: 2015
Founders: Jim and Lisa Sipe
Employees: 2
Headquarters: Bend