Month: July 2017

Yessss! First-Ever Innovation Day Connects People, Projects and Ideas

Did you go to Innovation Day yesterday? Because if you did, then let’s talk about how awesome it was — and if you didn’t then let me tell you about it. Put on by Opportunity Knocks, the Bend Chamber and OSU-Cascades with the help of many other organizations, Innovation Day presented a chance to meet innovators from around Bend, hear their ideas and then offer your own.

First of all, we all get stuck in the rut of talking with the same people in our industry or going to events about topics we’re familiar with. It’s human nature, but it creates community silos and frankly, missed opportunities. In fact, there’s some fascinating research by University of Chicago business professor Ronald Burt that highlights the benefits of engaging with people from different social clusters (I wrote some about it for SoFi here).

BVC Alum Raises $8 Million Series B w/ Investment from Seven Peaks Ventures — a Portland startup with Bend connections — announced today that it closed an $8 million Series B funding road. The round was led by B Capital Group, and included additional investment from Seven Peaks Ventures. has developed a virtual care solution that aims to improve healthcare efficiencies and outcomes, while reducing costs for common health conditions. The company caught Seven Peaks attention at the Bend Venture Conference three years ago, when the company pitched on the growth stage. The Bend-based VC firm awarded a $100,000 investment as part of the conference. Seven Peaks then subsequently invested in’s $3.5 million Series A as well. With the latest funding round the startup has raised $11.5 million.

Hey Startups! The Bend Venture Conference is Accepting Applications Through Aug. 11

Remember how much fun the Bend Venture Conference was last year? Remember when they rolled out the social impact track? Or when they just kept handing out giant checks for a total of $4 million and everyone was just crying and cheering? That was fun. Guess what? It’s happening again and if you’re a startup founder who wants to be on the stage, then the time to apply is now.

From our friends at EDCO:

This year’s conference will once again feature three competition categories: Growth Stage, Early Stage and Social Impact. The application period is open now through August 11th.

  • Growth Stage Competition: This category is open to companies that have a proven concept, have generated initial revenues and are prepared to scale quickly with investment. Applicants can be located anywhere in the U.S. To apply, click here.
  • Early Stage Competition: This category is open to companies that have a great idea and are close to “proof of concept.” They are pre-revenue (or very early-revenue) and are in the process of testing their product in the market. Applicants must be located in Central Oregon. To apply, click here.
  • Social Impact Competition: Now in its second year, this category is open to for-profit companies, whose business models are integrated with a mission to have a significant and measurable social or environmental impact. Applicants should be aiming to generate long-term enterprise value and attractive returns on capital.Applicants must be located in Oregon. To apply, click here.

“Bend Venture Conference truly elevated venture and angel investing in Oregon last year by deploying nearly $4 million to ten companies. It was a banner year with over 90 impressive applicants. We continue to attract some of the most innovative companies in the west to compete for these investments. And at the same time, there’s room for companies of all stages to compete within our three categories,” said Brian Vierra, EDCO’s Venture Catalyst.

Cookie News! FoundersPad Invests in Bend-Based No-Bake Cookie Company

Please stop what you’re doing so that we can talk about cookies. Specifically, FoundersPad, Bend’s own early-stage venture fund plus mentoring, has made an investment in The No-Bake Cookie Company. FoundersPad is also actively mentoring the company to help speed up its growth and put more cookies into more stores around the country. FYI if you’re ever given a choice between cookies and more cookies, the latter is always the right answer.

From the FoundersPad news release:

Since partnering with The No-Bake Cookie Company, FoundersPad has helped raise $500,000 in conjunction with CircleUp. The company is experiencing rapid growth, hiring locally for a second shift, expanding their national sales team, and selling cookies in an additional 2,000 stores nationwide, bringing them to a total of over 6,500 stores.

Check Out Bend’s First Innovation Day July 18th: Meet Local Innovators, Inspiring Entrepreneurs and Creative Business Leaders

There’s a new event happening this summer and it’s one you don’t want to miss! Discover what makes Central Oregon so innovative at the first Innovation Day on July 18th at OSU-Cascades.

The event is coordinated by Opportunity Knocks and supported by a host of organizations including TAO, OSU-Cascades, The Bend Chamber and BendTECH. Here’s more from the organizers:

Innovation Day 2017 is a first-time Bend event that, similar to TEDxBend, PPP, and the Bend Venture Conference, will become a permanent fixture in Bend’s collaborative, people-driven culture.

The event will feature a speed-dating format allowing you to meet, hear and chat with our region’s leading innovators. Table discussion facilitators will include Scott Allan from HydroFlask talking with you about his company’s unusual culture, Shannon Keith sharing Sudara’s social impact concept, Jim Schell and Roger Lee discussing the role of collaboration in Central Oregon’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, and Preston Callicott and Kelly Sparks will discuss the new Innovation District. And there’s so much more!