Month: August 2016

BVC Workshops to Help You Craft a Power Pitch

Hey startup founders, pitch season is officially here. If you’re planning to pitch at the Bend Venture Conference, at Pub Talk, or even at any of the upcoming angel conferences around the state or to individual VC funds, you’ll want to check out these upcoming pitch workshops.

Led by Pam Stevenson, the BVC pitch coach for the past 12 years, the workshops will help founders develop their Power Pitch. “A Power Pitch grabs attention, tells a compelling story and seals the deal with a ‘Wow!’ factor,” according to the news release.

The workshops will focus on:

*   The SMART Framework – assess and optimize your underlying business opportunity

*   The Anatomy of an Angel – know your audience

*   The Power Pitch Canvas – the key elements of a winning investor pitch

First-Ever Bend Tech Crawl Features Local Companies + Beer + Fun

Most of the time, showing up at tech companies unannounced and hoping for a free beer would be considered tacky. I just learned this. But not on Sept. 8th people. As part of the first-ever Bend Tech Crawl, you can spend an evening touring around participating tech companies, having some apps and maybe a brewski — and then ending up at a party.

The Central Oregon branch of the Technology Association of Oregon has organized the Bend Tech Crawl as part of its first statewide tech networking event. That means people in Eugene and Portland will also be tech crawling around their towns at the same time.

The Bend event starts at 4:30 p.m. at the BendTECH coworking space, located at 1001 SW Emkay Drive. From there, you’ll get a map with info about all of the 11 participating companies. Then you can get out and actually visit them as part of a self-guided tour. Stop at as many places as you like. You can meet other people in tech, learn more about companies here, put appetizers in your purse. NO JUDGEMENT. Then at 7:30 everyone will meet up for a reception at The Barrel Thief.

Droplr Raises Another $400,000 to Fund More Hires; Lands Integration w/ Cisco

Droplr recently raised another $400,000 to grow its team and accelerate its outbound sales efforts, says Gray Skinner, the Bend startup’s CEO. Gray described the round as a bridge between Droplr’s initial seed round (which was about $850,000) and a potential Series A.

“We’re planning to grow our team from 10 to 15, and do more outbound sales to the thousands of companies we haven’t gone after before,” he says.

This recent round was lead by Bend-based Cascade Angels, who invested another $150,000 in the startup. Inspiration Ventures, out of Burlingame, Calif., invested $100,000. Seven Peaks Ventures, also from Bend, and a group of individuals from Nashville filled out the rest.

The company makes sharing screen shots and files easier. Earlier this year, the startup announced an integration with Slack to do just that. Most recently, Gray says the startup has forged a partnership with Cisco. Droplr is building an integration for Cisco’s own communication platform, Spark, and then looking to pursue channel sales via relationships with Cisco’s enterprise clients.

#julieselfie: Why Gary Bracelin Thinks Bend Can Be Outdoor Product Innovation Hub

Julie Harrelson, CEO of the Harrelson Group, Fund 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 blog continues a series of selfies + blogs about the amazing people she’s met in the last couple of years. #julieselfie

Gary Bracelin is a creative force behind the outdoor industry in Oregon. He formed one of the first sales rep groups that served the action sports industry, served as the director of global sales for KIALOA Paddles and most recently founded the Bend Outdoor Worx accelerator.

I recently caught up with Gary to celebrate his birthday, check out his 50s cruiser bike and talk about Central Oregon as a hub for outdoor product innovation. Please note: the sign behind us says “Please do not climb on the tree.” I was very surprised we both didn’t immediately try!

Craft CMS Finds Web Dev Sweet Spot: No More Chicken Nuggets for You

I love a good metaphor. So when the team at Craft CMS—a tech company mostly new to Bend—compared one of their primary competitors to a chicken nugget (they’re more of a custom sandwich, made on artisanal bread, with heirloom tomatoes and other delicious things) I had to know more.

Two-thirds of the team at Craft CMS are new arrivals to town. Founder and CEO Brandon Kelly started Craft’s parent company, Pixel & Tonic, a software development agency specializing in ExpressionEngine add-ons, in San Jose in early 2011. But he quickly realized that he wanted to do something more.

“I wanted to do my own CMS,” Brandon says. The company’s CTO Brad jokes that every developer wants to write his or her own CMS— “It’s a rite of passage.”

Adventure Code School Debuts Bend Bootcamp; Learn More at Events in Seattle, PDX and Eugene

Do you know what’s a good idea? This: Adventure Code School. Bend web developer Chris Tsongas has created a code school that combines learning to code with all sorts of outdoor adventure and exercise, including rock climbing, kayaking, mountain biking and daily yoga.

The school’s first bootcamp begins in Bend this Sept. and runs 12 weeks. From the school’s website:

Start an awesome new career supported by yoga, meditation and amazing outdoor activities. Adventure Code School’s 12-week Full-Stack JavaScript Bootcamp teaches the most in-demand programming skills, plus Yoga for Coders™, meditation enhanced with binaural beat soundtracks, and expert instruction in mountain biking, slacklining, rock climbing and whitewater kayaking!

Bend Outdoor Worx Counts Zealios, Fat Chance Bikes and Bosky in Next Class

Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW), Central Oregon’s outdoor industry accelerator, just keeps cranking out cohorts of outdoor startups. Their next group starts this September and includes Bosky Optics, Fat Chance Bicycles and Zealios.

This is the fourth group of companies to receive guidance from BOW’s industry founders. The accelerator analyzes the startups’ needs, develops a custom curriculum and then provides guidance to the startups via BOW’s founders and connections with industry experts. BOW also connects startups with legal assistance, financial planning, marketing, logistics, sales, marketing and product development.

This little-accelerator-that-could claims several very cool Central Oregon startups as alum including Cairn, The Robert Axle Project, Homeschool Apparel, Freerange Equipment and SnoPlanks. The next cohort seems like a great addition.

Cool Startup Event: Traversing the Traction Gap w/ Bruce Cleveland

As you may know, Bend has a brain trust of experienced entrepreneurs and investors, who are often more than willing to share their knowledge with startup founders. And a cool event slated for next Tuesday (8/16) offers a prime example.

Join Seven Peaks Ventures and Bruce Cleveland, a relatively new Bendite and founding partner of Menlo Park-based Wildcat Ventures, for a discussion on Traversing the Traction Gap — that is the span between a startup’s Initial Product Release (IPR) to Minimum Viable Traction (MVT). There’s only about two dozen spots left, so sign up soon.

For early stage companies, successfully navigating the traction gap can lead to better outcomes for founders and investors. From Wildcat Ventures:

In our decades of venture experience, we have seen thousands of successful startups go from an idea to product (the go-to-product phase), from product to traction (the go-to-market phase), and from traction to scale (the go-to-scale phase).