The BendTECH unConference is back for its 9th year, bigger and better than ever. The unConference, scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 16th, is a fun-loving, crowd-pleasing, startup-celebrating pitch fest. Entrepreneurs line up to snag one of the first-come, first-serve pitch spots and then compete on stage to win cash awards. Winners are determined by audience vote.

Last year was the first that the unConference offered cash prizes. This year, thanks to the awesome sponsors, we’re offering A. more prizes, and B. bigger ones. The idea is to provide some fuel to help people with a spark an idea take the next meaningful step.

The competition is open to everyone including students, people in town for the Bend Venture Conference, those who have pitched other places and those who have are putting their startup idea out there for the first time. There are very few rules: All ideas and founders are welcome. We just ask that entrepreneurs on stage and people in crowd be supportive, be constructive, and have fun.

The awards, determined by audience vote, are:

  • First place: $2,500 and a BendTECH coworking membership.
  • Second place: $1,000 and a BendTECH coworking membership.
  • Third place: $500 and a BendTECH coworking membership.

The event is free, and in our 1,000% biased opinion, quite fun. Every attendee gets a free beer ticket. We’ll be raffling off an Apple Watch to those who stick around for the vote. And there’s cowbells so that you can show your support for ideas that you think have legs and founders who need a little love.

Other things: In keeping with the “un,” BendTECH doesn’t take applications or reserve pitch spots. For the past few years, people have been showing up a bit early — sometimes an hour or two — to stand in line and secure a spot. We’ll aim for 15 to 18 spots, and the line for snagging one will be clearly marked. Once the spots are filled, they’re filled.

Also, if you want to win, some early campaigning to get your friends and family there to vote certainly helps and is encouraged. The voting happens after all the pitches, and the winners are announced right then.

This event is a labor of love from BendTECH Coworking staff, volunteers and super amazing sponsors. It’s made possible thanks to:

Premier Sponsors
Business Oregon
Bend Broadband Business


Underwriting Sponsors
City of Bend
Price Fronk & Co.

Supporting Sponsors
St. Charles Health System
The 1001 Tech Center

Interested? We hope so. It’s a fun afternoon and a great way to kick of a week of Bend Venture Conference and Bend Outdoor Worx related events.

The BendTECH unConference
Tuesday Oct. 16th
2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Thump @ 1001 Tech Center
1001 SW Emkay in Bend
More information or to register for a free beer ticket.

I don’t want to say it … but I will … more cowbell.