Month: May 2016

Why Bend’s Tech Community Rallied Behind the Upcoming Bend Livability Conference

Bend’s tech companies have pooled their resources to be one of two primary sponsors of the upcoming Bend Livability Project — a four-day event scheduled for this weekend (June 2 through June 5) that is equal parts town hall meeting, community party and one giant brainstorm.

This impressive project is organized by Bend 2030. And the recently dubbed Bend Tech Ecosystem, aka most of the tech companies here, raised $20,000 in a hot minute to support it. Why a Bend Livability Project? Why does the tech ecosystem care? What is Bend 2030? So many questions, and fortunately we have some answers (they’re all 42).

So just sit back and drink your coffee while I tell you a (quick) story. First, Bend2030 is a group of civic-minded leaders advocating for “the best Bend” now and in the future. This group spearheaded the livability project as a “large scale conference and ongoing civic engagement initiative” aimed at tackling how to help Bend retain its awesomeness in the face of rapid growth.

Venture Out Festival to Offer $110K in Funds for Outdoor Startups

More startups. More funding. More fun. Bend Outdoor Worx, Central  Oregon’s outdoor industry accelerator, plans to host an outdoor product venture event to help kick off the Bend Venture Conference.

Called Venture Out — I’m having event name envy — the event will offer early and growth stage outdoor products startups the chance to compete for $110,000 in awards and investments. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 12th.

Two Bros. Ventures, a Bend-based firm owned by brothers Brian and Chris Azur, will be funding a venture round of at least $100,000 to be awarded to a growth stage outdoor product company. In addition, the Bend Radio Group will be sponsoring a $10,000 Breakout Award for an early stage company.

Just an observation: The outdoor product folks seem to go big or go home and it’s generally the first. They launched this event last year — also on the Wednesday before BVC. They had three finalist companies pitch to a standing room only crowd of more than 250, and ultimately awarded the Robert Axle Project, a local manufacturer of axle adaptors for bike trailers, a $10,000 prize. Beaver Theodosakis, the founder of Prana, was the keynote speaker.

Central Oregon Food Cluster Fea. Jem Raw Organics Wednesday (5/25)

The Central Oregon Food Cluster continues to offer seriously interesting events for our local food products companies. Tomorrow evening (Wed. 5/25) the topic is food safety and the featured company is Jem Raw Organics, which crafts delicious, raw nut butters like hazelnut raw cacao and cashew cardamom.

The company recently navigated a product recall, and CEO Jennifer Moore will share her insights the on the process.

There’s also panel discussion regarding how to mitigate risk with food safety, featuring these experts:

  • Jeff Blayloc, Production Manager, Humm Kombucha
  • Marc Bickley, Compliance Manager, SnoTemp Cold Storage
  • Brian Campbell, Director of Food Safety and Policy, Northwest Food Processors Association
  • Jennifer Moore, CEO, Jem Raw Organics
  • Daniel Wing, Northwest Sales Representative, Hygiena | Leaders in Food Safety Testing

Planning to go? Here’s the details …

Where: Eagle Mountain Lower Level, 2221 NE 3rd St, Bend, OR 97701
The old Club 97. Across the street from Robberson Ford, entrance around back.
When: Wednesday, May 25th, 5:00-7:00 pm
What: Enjoy some networking, followed by a local success story and an insightful panel discussion about mitigating risk with food safety. Feel free to bring samples of your food products to share.

Flybook Introduces New Smart Ticket System for Adventure/Tour Parks

If you love waiting in lines for hours for things, then I’ve got some bad news for you: Bend-based Flybook recently debuted its new Smart Ticket technology, which aims to create more efficient ticketing operations for adventure parks, rock gyms, zip line tours and the like. All that line time? Just gone. Now when are you going to look at Facebook?

CEO Craig Langer says the idea for the product evolved after a customer discovered his company at the American Outdoors Association show last year in Salt Lake. “They were looking for other options when it came to their ticketing process, and they weren’t finding much,” he says.

Creating a Smart Ticket system proved a natural extension of The Flybook’s flagship product, online booking software for tour guides and outfitters. The system releases tickets in batches, allowing customers to buy tickets for a predetermined time, instead of waiting in line. An integration with Smartwaiver (two Bend tech companies working together: I’m crying) wraps all the release waivers into the purchase as well.

So Many Startups at May PubTalk: Buy Your Ticket

The upcoming EDCO PubTalk (May 26th) is chock full of friends of the blog, or FOBs as I like to call them as of three minutes ago. The two companies pitching are none other than DohJe, founded by Amanda Krantz, and Zealios, co-founded by Austin Britts.

DohJe means “Thank You” in Cantonese and is a gratitude platform that makes it easy for patients to thank nurses, doctors and other healthcare providers. Sidenote: You might have seen Amanda pitch DohJe at the unConference prior to last year’s BVC. At that point she was contemplating moving here and checking out the community via the conference. Now she’s a Bendite and we’re pumped about it.

The second company, Zealios, is a personal products company that targets the triathlete market. Not to give away the farm, but the products are zinc-based and made for high performance. Britts, too, is a recent addition to our fine city — and also my neighborhood. Because small town.

StartupBend Readers: Save 50% on Upcoming StagesPDX Conference

If you’re an entrepreneur building a business, then we have an awesome deal for you. Stages PDX — a two-day working conference for entrepreneurs — kicks off May 19 and 20, and StartupBend readers can receive 50% off their conference tickets.

So you save $50 and get two-days worth of learning and guidance. I love the premise of this conference, which is to get away from theory and talk about things you can do now to build your business. “We charged our speakers with providing actionable advice,” says Thubten Comerford, conference organizer and founder of NewTech PDX.

The conference is stacked with local and regional founders and startup experts, who are offering guidance on everything from how to get your marketing ducks in a row and guerrilla PR to online sales and how to ask for money. Bend’s own Sarah Pool, CEO of Pacific Superfood Snacks, will even be there, leading a panel discussion on how to bootstrap your company.

Julie Harrelson and Sarah Pool on Starting Up, Healthy Twinkies and Hats

Julie Harrelson, CEO of the Harrelson Group and manager of Cascade Angels, has a beloved penchant for taking selfies with entrepreneurs, investors and people of Oregon who support building a strong Oregon through entrepreneurialism. This is the first in a series of selfies + blogs about the amazing people she’s met in the last couple of years. #julieselfie

I actually don’t remember the first time I met Sarah Pool. Sarah is an entrepreneur and CEO of Pacific SuperFoods, a healthy, vegan snacks company, which she founded Portland and relocated to Bend. Seems like we’ve known each other for a long time. Sarah has a tireless optimism, a strong work ethic and wears great hats. In our recent conversation, I was reminded of a New York Times article where Ruth Bader Ginsburg told Gloria Steinem that she liked her rap name-“Notorius RBG” and relayed to Steinem that by searching an online rap name generator she found that Steinhem’s rap name is Glo-stick. Hence, I present you with a conversation between Sarah P. Slam and Julie aka Queen Ritz.

Nonprofits Ready to Compete at Pitch for a Purpose

By Matt Sybrant, EDCO’s Key Industry Coordinator

What do you get when you cross a pitchfest, five nonprofits and Leadership Bend? You end up with an event called “Pitch for a Purpose.” This Tuesday, May 10th, the Central Oregon Impact Summit — a project facilitated by Leadership Bend — is hosting a nonprofit pitchfest.

Five nonprofits will face off on stage, competing for a grand prize of $10,000. In addition to the grand prize, there will be an audience choice award of $2,500 given to one of the presenters. The five presenting nonprofits are:

These five nonprofits have completed a gauntlet of workshops focused on marketing and messaging, business plan development, fundraising strategy and crafting a pitch — all leading up to this one opportunity to compete for the cash.