Were you dying of suspense? I was. To recap: Earlier this month, Cascade Angels sponsored a fun contest to give away a BVC ticket. The Bend-based angel fund asked applicants to provide short answers to three questions, and the winner gets a ticket to the Bend Venture Conference.

There were some great entries. So much so, that the Cascade Angels team decided to give away TWO tickets instead of one. Which brings us to our winners. Please congratulate:

Karen Bonner
McKenna Dempsey

The contest asked applicants to answer these questions:

  • Why should you win a ticket to the BVC?
  • How/why did you become interested in Bend?
  • What was your very first job?

Here is McKenna’s submission …

Why should you win a ticket to the BVC? I applied for the BVC Early Stage track and unfortunately I didn’t make it in. It taught me a lot about how I want to build my business, what I’m looking for in funding and how I want to grow and move Mandala forward. I want to win this ticket because I want to see the magic that is BVC, what it takes to get there and the check out the incredible businesses that made it in.
How/why did you become interested in Bend? Well, my interest in Bend wasn’t really my choice. I was born and raised here. However, my commitment to it, my desire to be here, that is all my own. As I continue to grow and thrive in this city, it continues to amaze me. The creativity, the opportunity and, most importantly, the community. I don’t have much experience in other cities, but I can’t imagine a city with more people willing to help you make your dream come true. Bend steps up when it comes to connecting people and creating a place where we feel comfortable sharing our ideas.
What was your very first job? My very very first job was at Cibelli’s in Redmond (I tore up the pizza scene), but my first big kid job was at Five Talent. Five Talent is where I learned the direction I wanted to go with my career. Preston gave me an opportunity based on nothing but college experience and I am so grateful that I was able to work with that team to kickstart my career and grow into who I am today.
And here are Karen’s answers …
Why should you win a ticket to the BVC? I should win a ticket to the BVC because it’s an opportunity to make amazing connections that could contribute to the success of my business, Red Duck Foods!
How/why did you become interested in Bend? Growing up on the other side of the mountains, I originally saw Bend as a fun place to visit. But after launching our own companies and hearing about the thriving entrepreneurial community in Bend, my fiance and I decided to move here. That was three years ago, and now we can’t imagine being anywhere else.
What was your very first job? My first job was working as a lifeguard at a public pool in Eugene, OR. I was paid minimum wage, which was $6.25 at the time. I never had to save anyone from drowning, but I did have to make sure kids didn’t get into the hot tub.
A big heartfelt THANK YOU to Julie and Robert with Cascade Angels, for sponsoring this contest and growing and supporting entrepreneurship in Central Oregon. See you at BVC!

Kelly Kearsley

Kelly Kearsley, the co-founder of StartupBend.com, is passionate about startups, entrepreneurship and Bend. In addition to writing this blog, she creates content and manages content projects for global financial companies, tech firms and startups. She began her career as a newspaper journalist and later worked as a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in WSJ.com, Money Magazine, CNNMoney, MSNBC and Runner's World. See her work at kellykearsley.contently.com or kellykearsley.com.

You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].
Kelly Kearsley