Month: December 2015 Launches as Go-To Resource for Mountain Bikers

For Bendites Robert Rekward and Joe Myers, what started as a hobby project has transformed into something that will benefit all Central Oregon mountain bikers. The duo recently launched, which provides information on mountain biking trail systems in the Bend area, including Phil’s, Swampy Lakes, Wanoga and areas east, north and west of town.

“It’s super comprehensive and all in one place,” Rekward says. “When I first came here, you needed a map, a website and a sometimes a book to navigate the trails. This demystifies the trail systems.”

Rekward, who co-owns Delicious Design, an advertising agency, moved here from Hawaii about a year and half ago. He began logging his rides into Strava, which is how he met his next door neighbor, Joe Myers, a freelance 3D designer and owner of Sketchbook Inc. “Joe noticed that most of my rides were basically ending at his house,” Rekward says.

Bendbroadband Surprises Animal Shelter w/ $2k Gift

BendBroadband — sponsor of the StartupBend newsletter — makes a point every year to surprise local nonprofits with a donation during the holiday season. This year, members of the BendBroadband marketing team popped up at the Brightside Animal Shelter in Redmond with goodies and a giant check for $2,000.

BrightSide is a high-save shelter focused on sheltering and rehabilitating animals, and equipping them for success in their next home. And if you go to their website, you can also see pics of puppies wearing Santa hats. Do it!

Look at these happy faces.

The company also made $2,000 donations to Saving Grace, which provides family violence and sexual assault resources, and the Pediatric Foundation, which supports families who have to travel out of the area for cancer treatment for their children.

BlueBird Strategies Gives Back for the Holidays

Nothing warms my heart more than seeing those in Bend’s tech and startup community take time out of their work to give back to the place they love. And BlueBird Strategies recently offered a great example. The Bend-based BlueBird Strategies is a marketing automation and demand generation firm that serves fast-growing tech companies, including established firms and venture-backed startups. You might also know BBS’s CEO Cari Baldwin as the chief instructor at BendPoly.

This month, each of the the Firm’s regional teams (Bend, Boise, Michigan and San Francisco) all chose a nonprofit to support and volunteered a day of their time. Here in Central Oregon, the BlueBird staff from Bend and Portland hosted a holiday party for 175 kids (that’s a lot of kids!) at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Bend. They made hot cocoa, decorated cookies and watched the Polar Express.

#50startups: New to Bend, Trailhead Labs Uses Tech to Make Better Maps

Bend’s startup community has a new addition in Trailhead Labs, a San Francisco-based duo, whose CTO Jereme Monteau recently relocated here. The company combines an enthusiasm for the outdoors with tech know-how to create a software product that helps public agencies and nonprofits make more accurate, interactive maps of their parks. The end goal: To get more people outside. We get it. StartupBend caught up with Monteau and CEO Ryan Branciforte to learn more.

Startup: Trailhead Labs
Location: San Francisco, Calif. and Bend, Ore.
Founders: CEO Ryan Branciforte and CTO Jereme Monteau
Started: 2012

What does Trailhead Labs do?
Branciforte: We’re focused on building innovative technology to get people more connected to the outdoors. Our business is built around a platform called OuterSpatial, which we designed to help organizations manage and publish their outdoor assets so that they and others can build better maps and apps.

Most Read Posts of 2015. See Who Made the Top 10 List …

As we looked back over the year to discover which posts garnered the most readers, we also got a pretty solid overview of the activity in Bend’s startup community. The upshot: There was a lot of it. Businesses started, startups got funded, companies hired, companies relocated here, coworking spaces opened. And then there was the post that featured Justin Timberlake, which is, of course, the secret to making people read your blog.

Thanks for a fantastic 2015! So far this next year is proving to be even more action-packed. For our part, StartupBend plans on hosting some exciting events and providing even more stories about what’s happening in this lovely place we call home.

Here are the top 10 most read posts of 2015 …

1. #50startups: Former Dice Exec Founds Whurk to Connect College Kids and Brands
This post is actually from late 2014. But it zoomed to the top of our most read list in 2015 and has stayed there ever since. People are certainly interested in whurk. The startup now has a presence on 3,000-plus college campuses and is working with local and national brands. We’ll keep you posted on their progress.

Bend Tech Startup Smartwaiver Acquired by a Bay Area Team

Smartwaiver, a Bend tech company that specializes in digital liability waivers, announced today that its been acquired. The move provides an exit for co-founder and CEO Mark Silliman, who started the company four years ago. He says that Smartwaiver will remain in Bend, however, the company will have new leadership.

Silliman posted this on the company’s blog:

Today I’m excited to announce that Smartwaiver has received a new round of investment that will enable the company and the product to soar to that next level!  With this investment, a new, seasoned executive and development team will be coming on board and I will be passing the torch to a new CEO.

Tod Bloxham will be the company’s new CEO. He is a 20+ year veteran in the outdoor industry and one of Smartwaiver’s first customers.  Tod will oversee the business operations and guide the company’s ambitious expansion plans, Silliman says.

#50startups: With StartupCommunity, Cities Build and Measure Startup Activity

Our next #50startups founder has been a steady supporter of Bend tech startups for years, from managing one of the first coworking spaces to putting together startup weekends to co-founding this very blog. In the meantime, James Gentes also started — and sold — his own company. And all of his t-shirts say startup on them. Needless to say, he is passionate about the topic.

So it’s no surprise, that Gentes’ latest venture, StartupCommunity, involves organizing startups. For cities and regions trying to get their arms around a growing and changing startup landscape is a bit like herding cats. Gentes’ new web app, allows communities to track and measure their own startup activity with the end goal of spurring economic growth. That’s like sweet, sweet music to our ears. We caught up with Gentes to learn more.

Remember When You Couldn’t Find a Tech Job Here? I Do (Also: Kollective and LeadMethod are Hiring)

Humor me and harken back to the early 2000s for a moment. We had just moved to town and my soon-to-be husband was hoping to find a tech job in Bend. He looked (unsuccessfully) for a couple of years while working remotely and we ultimately moved back to the Puget Sound. Bend had won our hearts, but the reality was we couldn’t stay — not if we wanted to progress in our careers.

Consider that at that point, G5 had yet to be founded. Kollective was 15 years away from opening an office here. And the BVC, Seven Peaks and Cascade Angels didn’t exist. I cried the entire way up I-5 and we spent the next decade plotting how to move back.

So when I scan the jobs board each week, I can officially say: We’ve come a long way baby. I’m so excited for the tech and startup community that’s growing here, and for the opportunities available to current and aspiring Bendites for solid, career-advancing, good-paying jobs in Bend.