Month: January 2016

A Volcano of Bend Startup News. There’s So Much. Just Read This.

This news volcano doesn’t actually come with any sort of explosion. But you will definitely be fired up (puns: 1 readers: 0) by the startup activity big and small happening #inbend recently. So buckle up buttercup …

Krowdfit raises a bunch of money

Krowdfit announced earlier this week that it raised $2.45 million in financing. The Bend-based startup has a wellness rewards platform that allows you to earn money and prizes for working out and being healthy. We talked to Krowdfit Founder Jim Miller late last year after the company signed up Oregon Metro as a client. We’re looking forward to catching up soon to hear what opportunities this new funding brings. Congrats!

Related: Two degrees of SurveyMonkey? 

Geekwire reported that Krowdfit’s recent funding came from angel investors, led by SurveyMonkey founder Ryan Finley. Now I’m not saying that SurveyMonkey is the Kevin Bacon of our startup scene, BUT Bend-based CodePen received $1 million in investment last year, led by the founders of WuFoo, which was acquired by SurveyMonkey in 2011. Also this is how healthy ecosystems work. Moving on …

#50startups: Manzama Pushes into Profitability

If Bend’s newest wave of tech companies were a high school (mascot: The Skiing Geeks), then Manzama would be an upperclassman. The startup, which makes a business intelligence platform primarily for attorneys, won the Bend Venture Conference six years ago and raised $1.3 million in Series A funding in 2014. In the interim, the company has been growing, expanding its product line and experimenting with new verticals. Now CEO Peter Ozolin, who previously founded and sold a company called Legal Anywhere, is focused on profitability. We caught up with Ozolin to learn more about Manzama’s recent progress and future plans.

Startup: Manzama
Founders: Peter Ozolin, Mark Hinkle, Randall Smith
Employees: 26
Headquarters: Bend
Founded: 2010

You made some big changes last year. Can you tell us about that?

Total Bend Venture Conference Awards Reach $947,500

Economic Development for Central Oregon announced today that the total awards for last year’s BVC hit $947,500 — up from $620,00, which was awarded at the conference in mid-October.  Odysys and Perfect Company, officially closed at $225,000 and $125,000, respectively, according to the EDCO news release.

“We managed to set a record for investments made through the BVC LLC this year, with $350K being invested, after expenses,” says Brian Vierra, Venture Catalyst for EDCO. “This was particularly noteworthy given that Cascade Angels, which invested through the LLC last year, made their investment directly in a company this year, and it was not represented by the LLC.”

ason Moyer, BVC Fund Manager, says that all five growth stage finalists received funding. “With roughly $2 million invested in the competing companies over the last two years, the Bend Venture Conference has moved into a new league and it’s showing in the quality of the applicants,” Moyer says.

See ESPACE Labs at Open House Event

Are you an inventor, product developer, entrepreneur, engineer or someone who simply loves creating cool things? Then you may want to check out ESPACE Labs‘ grand opening social event Jan. 29th.

Come to meet and mingle with others involved with creating wonderful new and exciting products.  Admission and refreshments are free. Here are the details:

WHEN:  Friday, Jan. 29 from 6 p.m. 9 p.m.

WHERE:  ESPACE Labs @ The Bridge, 48 Bridgeford Blvd. #180  Bend, Oregon 97702

WHAT: E::SPACE Labs LLC is a technology incubator dedicated to assisting in the development of the electronic and electro-mechanical hardware industry in Central Oregon.

RSVP:  David Robson at [email protected] or 541-241-8801

Eugene Startup Ecosystem

Hey Neighbor: A Look at Eugene’s Startup Ecosystem

Last week, RAIN Eugene held their “State of the Startup Ecosystem” address, where they highlighted the latest companies emerging from their accelerator program. The event was sold out with nearly 500 people attending, and the startup vibe was contagious. To top things off, our beloved past Venture Catalyst and Tech Alliance president, Jim Coonan, delivered the opening presentation.

An interesting aspect to RAIN is that they support a wide range of industry segments. Startups included everything from bicycles (, to margarita mix that was really damn good (, distilled spirits ( and fancy leather notebooks (

On the tech side, they showcased a biotech firms NemaMetrix ( and Miracle Query. Software included a restaurant rewards program called KlubHub (, a restaurant employee training product ( and on the hardware side, a product that helps students learn STEM using a really compact all-in-one electronics / oscilloscope kit (

Learn How to Improve Your Pitch from a BVC Pitch Coach

Your pitch is what spurs investments, turns prospects into clients and helps you recruit the best team. Now you can ensure that it’s top notch. EDCO has teamed up with Diane Allen, one of the pitch coaches for the Bend Venture Conference finalists, to offer Allen’s winning-pitch secrets to all Bend startup founders.

“As a pitch coach, I’ve devised this program to make sure that founders are fully supported to develop their pitch, so that investors get the information they need, and so that no great idea gets left behind,” says Allen, who together with Pam Stevenson, has helped numerous BVC startups improve their pitch.

The  workshop series, Spring Training: Hone Your Pitch to Win the Game, begins in February and runs through April. The four workshops:

Hello Startups, Can You Hear Me? Cascade Angels is Looking for Investment Opportunities

Goodness, I’ve had that Adele song stuck my head for weeks. And now I’ve passed the ear worm onto you. Back to business: Cascade Angels, the Bend-based angel fund, has opened up its application process to Oregon entrepreneurs looking for funding.

The fund anticipates investing in up to six companies this year. The fund usually invests from $50,000 to $250,000 in Oregon-based launch stage companies (you have a product and revenue) from any industry. So if you’re a startup looking for capital, you should apply. The deadline is Feb. 17.

“We hope to provide patient capital to entrepreneurs with Oregon-based companies, generate returns and create jobs,” says Julie Harrelson, CEO, Harrelson Group, which manages the fund.

Cascade Angels has invested close to $1 million in Oregon since 2014. The 2016 Fund is the organization’s third. Bend companies that have received investments include Amplion, Droplr, Manzama, LeadMethod and Odysys. The Fund has also invested in Poached Jobs, Lumen, NemaMetrix and ScratchIt.