Central Oregon Startup Ecosystem
After a few folks pointed out that we lacked a proper guide for how entrepreneurs could get their business concepts funded, I created this infographic to help visualize our ecosystem. We were coming up on the Bend Venture Conference in 2013 and had an exciting array of companies exiting FoundersPad and entering the competition.

After a few folks pointed out that we lacked a proper guide for how entrepreneurs could get their business concepts funded, I created this infographic to help visualize our ecosystem. We were coming up on the Bend Venture Conference in 2013 and had an exciting array of companies exiting FoundersPad and entering the competition.

As it turns out, Nouvola won the top prize of $250k at BVC and pulled a hat trick by going on to win $256k from Angel Oregon and $215 from Southern Oregon Angel Conference. Here’s how our local ecosystem helps make this type of accelerated growth possible:

Central Oregon Startup Ecosystem

  1. Local events are a great inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs. Generally these are platforms for people to network with other like-minded professionals, educate others on lessons learned, or pitch their ideas to a group for feedback. Events include EDCO’s popular PubTalk, Ignite Bend, Ruby on Ales, TEDxBend, the BVC unConference, and various Meetup.com gatherings.
  2. If you really want to get a concept off the ground quickly, you can launch it in 48 hours at a Startup Weekend event. These are amazing opportunities for anyone with a good idea to form a team and actually build something demonstrable. If you haven’t attended one, do it, even if you only participate by helping someone else out with their idea.
  3. Once you’ve taken the leap to focus on turning your startup idea into a reality, you should consider joining a co-working space like Techspace Bend (soon to be BendTECH). This is where you can brainstorm ideas with the local tech community on a regular basis. It’s probably the best way to stay plugged into the startup culture and build your network of future mentors, co-workers and friends.
  4. Universities have always played a big role in supporting startup ecosystems, and Oregon State just began offering a Computer Science degree that will hopefully produce talent for local startups.
  5. For startups that have validated their business concepts thoroughly enough to be accepted into an incubator program, FoundersPad offers mentorship and investment opportunities in exchange for equity. Their goal is to prepare companies for growth by indoctrinating them with lean startup practices and mastering the presentation of their business to an audience.
  6. The Bend Venture Conference is the highlight of our startup scene, and in fact is the largest venture conference in Oregon. With over 400 attendees every year and at least a $250k investment, it always attracts companies throughout the Northwest region and is a fantastic way to witness the competitive fundraising process first-hand.
  7. Finally, Central Oregon has two new venture capital firms that invest in local startups every year. They provide entrepreneurs with excellent advice, access to funding, and support for educational resources in the area.

It’s worth mentioning that crowdfunding is a very popular alternative source of capital for startups, and should be the next step if venture money isn’t an option.

We’ll need to update this over time, but hopefully it’s a useful starting point. If I’ve missed something, please let me know in the comments below and I’ll probably send you the PSD file to make the changes 🙂

James Gentes

CEO at Tend.ai
James is a huge fan of Bend's startup scene. He is responsible for creating the BendTech coworking space at 1001 SW Emkay during his many years as board member and president of the Tech Alliance of Central Oregon.

He loves to write code, is passionate about design, and runs StartupCommunity.org as a side hobby. He sold his previous company that he started in Bend, 'The Social Business' to Innovation Garden in New York.

You can reach James by email at [email protected].