Month: July 2016

Nacho Cove Closes Down; Bend Co-Founder Gets Real About Why, Lessons Learned

Nacho Cove, an email startup co-founded by Bendite Chris Perret, is closing down. Chris, a serial entrepreneur willing to share the good, bad and ugly about startup life, posted a thoughtful piece on Medium Tuesday about what went wrong — as well as right.

Chris started Nacho Cove in 2012. Our long-time readers (Hi Mom and Dad!) might recall that we profiled the company as one of our #50startups; its headquarters were technically Portland, though Chris, the company’s CEO, is in Bend. Nacho Cove created an email client — Nacho Mail, which integrates your email, calendar and contacts, and adapts to users needs through its AI management tool. They closed a $1 million seed round last July.

Chris is no stranger to startups. He previously co-founded Nukona, the first complete Enterprise Mobile Management solution, which was subsequently purchased by Symantec a scant 18 months after it started.

Back it Like it’s Hot: Bend Inventor Debuts Fireside Audiobox on Kickstarter

Coming in hot from the land of things-you-didn’t-know-you-needed-but-now-must-have is a Bluetooth-enabled, speaker featuring flames that dance to the beat of your tunes. Designed by Bend-based inventor Tyrone Hazen, the Fireside Audiobox made its Kickstarter debut today.

Tyrone got started on the idea a couple years ago. Interested in the maker movement, he found a maker space in his then home of San Diego and wanted a project that would help him to learn how to use all of the equipment. Tyrone had been fascinated by the Rubens’ Tube — a flame tube that demonstrates acoustic standing waves — since studying physics in college.

“I thought what if I could create a desktop version that you put music through,” he said this morning, sparking the first concept for the Fireside Audiobox. He didn’t initially envision that his project would turn into a business, but people were really interested in the product — and wanted to know when they could buy their own flame dancing speaker.

Cascade Angels Invests in Amplion, Bend-based Bioscience Startup

The Cascade Angels Fund 2016 announced an investment in Amplion, the Bend-based bioscience startup and inventor of Biomarker Base. The latter helps companies stay on top of developments in the clinical and commercial use of biomarkers.

“Strategic partnerships with funds like Cascade Angels and other Oregon investors are critical to the success of Oregon’s entrepreneurial efforts and will help to accelerate our expansion,” says John Zicker, Amplion’s new CEO, in a news release. The Cascade Angels Fund 2014 also invested in Amplion as part of the Bend Venture Conference LLC that same year.

The company recently hired Zicker, who is a five-time entrepreneur in the software fields of business intelligence, security and crowd-sourced marketplaces. His previous companies all went public or were acquired by larger corporations. The new CEO says that Amplion will use these new Cascade Angels funds to grow its sales and marketing teams, and focus on its core machine learning technology and analytics platform.

Drone Racing! Watch the PNW Drone National Qualifier Race This Saturday

Need a break from work? Do you love watching flying things? The Pacific Northwest Drone National Qualifier Race is happening this Saturday (7/16) right here in Bend. Sixty drone pilots are traveling from all over the West to compete for five spots at the National Drone Racing Championship in New York City in August.

The pilots will race in 20 small heats, on a windy, one-kilometer track that has gates and flags. To win, the pilots have to complete the course without missing a gate, and put in one of the five fastest times. If this is your jam, then head on out  to Camp Fraley to watch. Is there cheering? Are there vuvuzelas? I can’t say, but I’m going to find out.

In the meantime, the news release says that the event is family friendly and free. You can bring chairs, umbrellas and picnic fixings and hang out with your kids, who will undoubtedly love it (there’s also roughly a 1,000 percent chance your kids will ask you buy them a drone).

Wanna be in the Hub of Bend’s Startup/Tech Activity? Stackhouse Coffee is For Sale

Stackhouse Coffee is for sale. Owners Jake and Becca Hermeling are moving on to their next entrepreneurial adventure, and they’re looking for buyers who want to “take the cafe to the next level.”

If you’ve never been, Stackhouse Coffee is in the 1001 Tech Center, the building which also houses the BendTECH co-working and startup space (that’s where I’m located), as well as Kollective, Seven Peaks Ventures, Pneuma33 Creative and Five Talent. In two fast years, the shop has definitely become one of the go-to meeting spots for Bend’s startup and tech community.

On any given day, you’ll see founders talking with investors, startup teams meeting with each other and often myself just meeting with an ocean roll. (What’s an ocean roll? Have you even LIVED?)

BVC 2016 Introduces New Social Impact Track

Yes, we are still in the midst of a sunny, Central Oregon summer. But hop out of that inner tube and put down your beer (just for a minute) because it’s time to start thinking about fall — and that means the Bend Venture Conference. Hosted by EDCO, the BVC offers some exciting additions this year, including a Social Impact Competition.

This new track is open to for-profit companies, whose business models are integrated with a mission to have a significant, measurable social or environmental impact. Startups in this category should be aiming to create long-term value and attractive returns on capital, according to an EDCO news release. Applicants must be located in Oregon to apply or win. Interested? Apply here. 

Startups participating in the Social Impact track could win an investment of $25,000-$100,000, and $25,000 of investment has already been committed.“This will bring a sizable investment into a company that not only has a compelling business plan, but also has an integrated social and/or environmental mission,” says Brian Vierra, EDCO’s venture catalyst.