Sudara is making a big move this year — a literal move. Since its founding four years ago, the Bend-based B-Corp has sold beautiful clothes, and in the process provided employment, job training and funds to women in India who are escaping sex trafficking.
You’re likely familiar with the gender pay gap. Well, there’s also a very real and very large gender investment gap when it comes to startup founders who receive funding. It’s one of the statistics that you keep waiting to see improve, and it doesn’t really budge much from 2% — that is 2% of all investment dollars go toward women founders. Far, far less goes to women of color.
The first company to take up residence in BendTECH’s first-ever Startup Founder’s Office is Rupie, a platform that connects game developer talent with game studios. CEO Austin Anderson, previously a lead software engineer at LinkedIn, founded the company in late 2017 as a way to help small to mid-sized game studios find and engage developer talent.
Job hunters, heads up: The jobs board has some interesting tech, sales and nonprofit positions posted. We’ll start with the latter. The BendTECH team (which includes myself, as board president) is looking for a new executive director. It’s a great organization, run by a stellar board that’s excited to take nonprofit coworking to the next level.
Check out the posting (and feel free to email me if interested).
BendTech Executive Director
Putting on my BendTECH hat for a moment — I’ve been on the BendTECH board for a few years, and finding a way to increase access to our awesome coworking community has been on the minds of board members for awhile. That’s why we’re so excited to announce the Startup Founders Office program, which allows us to support more early stage entrepreneurs with free space, awesome expertise, and a supportive community ready to help you get your business off the ground.
LuDela is part of the 10-company cohort, which includes six startups from Colorado. Founder Jamie Bianchini is headed to Boulder for the three-month program. His company is currently housed at BendTECH, and Jamie plans to return Central Oregon after Techstars wraps up.
Jamie took second place at unConference and was a BVC early stage finalist. He started his company after experiencing a candle fire while on a bike trip in western Africa. He wanted to develop a safer candle that still offered that real-life experience.
Congratulations to Jamie and the LuDela team.
“Without an early source of non-dilutive capital, promising companies cannot live up to their full potential. Early public investment in these innovative companies will support the ability to scale up in Oregon, creating new technologies, products, and jobs,” according to the RFP.
The grants target startups with science or research in the following industries: active lifestyle, advanced manufacturing, natural resources, life science applications, advanced materials, and clean tech/impact investing.
To ensure that applicants have or are receiving adequate wrap-around services, “eligible companies should have existing relationships with service providers like Signature Research Centers, University Tech Transfer Offices and related incubators or accelerators, awardees of Oregon Growth Board funding, or Business Oregon innovation partner organizations.”
The list includes 80 different organizations, including our very own OSU-Cascades Co-Lab. The applications are due Feb. 1. If you’d like more information, here is the RFP and there’s also more information at the Business Oregon website.