Month: April 2016

Free 1-Month Startup Accelerator Starts May 3

Mark and Karl from the OSU Advantage Accelerator program stopped by yesterday to fill us in on their new program now available in Bend.

It’s called ‘Iterate’ and it’s an introduction to problem/solution fit for entrepreneurs who are interested in learning the basics of how to build a product or service that aligns with the problems it is expected to solve. It is the first of 3 available accelerator courses, which are the next steps in the program as companies successfully complete the Iterate curriculum.

Iterate runs for 1 month, and includes four two-hour sessions, running every Tuesday from 4:30 – 6:30pm, so it’s very practical for anyone who’s working full time to participate in. And since there’s no cost, it’s the best deal in town. If you move on to the ‘Accelerator’ program, there are costs, although they are very reasonable and mostly success-based, so you only pay if you reach a certain revenue threshold.

New to Bend, Personal Products Startup Zealios Targets Triathletes

Sometimes things just naturally go together, like peanut butter and jelly or puffy coats and shorts. For Zealios, a formerly Berkeley-based startup that recently relocated to Bend, it’s their line of personal products and triathletes. “The second we dipped our toe into the triathlete community, we started growing,” says Austin Britts, Zealios co-founder.

Britts and his co-founder, Kevin Fuller, started Zealios in 2009 in a quest to develop a better zinc-based sunscreen — one that  was water and sweat proof, lasted through workouts and didn’t turn your face white.

The pair were coworkers at a chemical trading company in Seattle, and they were intimately familiar with all the ingredients that go into skincare products, the good and the bad. “We wanted to create a product that performed really well and was really safe,” Britts says.

Onboard Dynamics Receives $3 Million in Funding

Onboard Dynamics announced today that the Bend-based startup has raised $3 million in additional funding. The capital comes from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E, Portland Seed Fund, NW Natural, utilities and investors.

The company is working to commercialize innovative compressed natural gas refueling solutions from technology licensed from OSU-Cascades and conceived by assistant professor Chris Hagen. Onboard Dynamics previously received an initial $3.6 million in funding in 2014.

“This additional funding commitment puts Onboard Dynamics on track to become a financially sustainable provider of affordable CNG refueling solutions. Over the next 18 months we will complete development, testing and market introduction of our first products,” Rita Hansen, Onboard Dynamic’s CEO, says in a news release.

Update: Why Droplr Hires Athletes and the Company’s New Enterprise Focus

Wonder what Droplr’s up to? We did. So we wandered down the hall of the 1001 Tech Center to find out straight from CEO Gray Skinner. We’re glad we did. Since Skinner started full-time with the company in September, the startup has seen some change, mostly notably doubling its staff as well as focusing on more enterprise clients.

Droplr now employs eight people, with half of them here and the other half (their dev team) in Northern California. Four of those eight are semi-pro or pro runners or triathletes. That’s by design, says Skinner, himself an accomplished triathlete who qualified for the Kona Ironman on his first try. “These are people who know how to win,” he says. “They set a goal and they go after it.”

How Startup CodePen Survived a DDoS Threat

If you have five minutes and you like stories of good guys prevailing over evil bastards, then keep reading. CodePen, whose co-founder Tim Sabat lives here in Bend, recently received an email that would unsettle any company, but especially one whose 1 million users depend on the company’s web app to, well, work. It was a threat of a DDoS attack, complete with a ransom request.

“It was supposedly sent by a party who has done things like this in the past,” Sabat said in CodePen’s new podcast on the issue. “It said that ‘we’re going to attack your site in 5 days unless you send us 10 bitcoins, which was about $4,100.”

The podcast dives more into what a DDoS attack is, but in the most basic description, the people making the threat direct so much traffic to your website that it goes down. They’re in control of the traffic and you’re at their mercy. The takeaway of the note CodePen received: If you want to stop this trouble, send the money.

Bend-Based KidRunner on Shark Tank This Friday

KidRunner, a Bend-based startup that makes a pull-behind-you kid jogger, will be on ABC’s Shark Tank this Friday at 9 p.m. Founder Will Warne wasn’t able to divulge the result of the show, but says he and local long-distance superstar Max King, an athlete-ambassador for the company, appeared before the sharks.

“Appearing on Shark Tank is an amazing opportunity made possible by our dedicated team and all the parent-runners out there who have participated in our story,” Warne says in a news release. “Since day one, our commitment has been to design, develop and manufacture the most innovative, high-performing kid jogger on the market and we’re excited to share our efforts with millions of viewers across the country.”

#50startups Update: LeadMethod Hiring Away, Growing Bend-based Core Team

When LeadMethod founder Justin Johnson moved the Bend-based software company into new offices last fall, there was room to spare. But the startup’s recent spate of hires has helped fill the company’s downtown digs and primed the business to grow.

The company has hired four people in the past couple months, bringing the staff count to 10. “I’m excited about the expertise, experience and skills that our new people bring to the table,” Johnson says. “They’re all great additions to our core team, which is based in our Bend office, and they’ll help lead the company through this next stage of growth.”

LeadMethod’s recent hires — all from Bend — include:

  • Lindy Callahan, Client Associate A graduate of OSU-Cascades, Callahan comes back to Bend after working as a copywriter at Zillow. She’s also worked at and for the Bend Bulletin.
  • Reid Simonton, Lead Frontend Developer Simonton has spent the past five years working from Bend as developer for an NYC-based tech company. He was also co-founder and CTO of Resort Business Opportunities.
  • Jay Wright, Lead Backend Developer Wright comes to LeadMethod after running his own mobile development business for six years. He’s also worked in senior developer roles for national insurance and health care companies.
  • Kayja Buhmann, Account Development Rep Buhmann was previously the marketing director for a real estate firm in Sunriver, and has more than 10 years of sales and marketing experience.

“I love the energy our team has right now,” Johnson says. “Everyone is working hard to build the best product, serve our fast-growing client base and support our sales team.”

Bend Represents! Odysys Competes Today at OEN Angel Oregon Showcase

We’re sending some positive Central Oregon vibes to Bend-based Odysys today. CEO Kent Schnepp is one of six startup founders competing in the growth stage competition of the OEN Angel Oregon Annual Showcase later this afternoon.

Finalist companies present their pitches to a crowd of over 300 investors, business leaders, and entrepreneurs, according to the OEN Angel Oregon website. One winner is awarded a check, typically ranging from $200,000 to $300,000.

Past winners include Spaceview, Nouvola and Wild Friends Food. Odysys has been gathering steam since the company was founded in July 2014. The startup won the Bend Venture Conference, taking home $205,000 in investment. Cascade Angels also invested $100,000 in Odysys.

Schnepp now has a team of nine (up from 3 less than a year ago) and the company moved from their downtown offices into new digs near the Old Mill. To refresh you memory, Odysys provides a digital marketing platform for hotels. The company has focused on the independent hotel market, looking to help hoteliers move away from online travel agencies, such as Expedia or Travelocity, which command steep commissions from the hotels for bookings.