Even though it seems like just yesterday we were lazily drifting down the river on our giant unicorn floatie (OK so it was two days ago), Fall is actually upon us. And that means so is the Bend Venture Conference. EDCO announced the 26 semi-finalists for its three competition categories today, a mix of B2B and B2C tech, consumer products, healthcare and even modular housing startups.

Though most of the semifinalists hail from Oregon, there are also some startups from California and Washington.  The BVC has three different tracks this year. The early stage startups are competing for a $15,000 prize from BendBroadband. This group of 10 will be narrowed down to five via an audience vote at the Sept. 22 PubTalk. Each startup with get the chance to pitch for three minutes. The 10 semi-finalists are:

  • Best Hire: Develops a web-based employment testing/screening application to identify employees with the grit and integrity to help businesses thrive.
  • Broken Top Candle Company: Specializes in handmade scented candles made from the highest quality soy blended wax, 100% cotton wicks and fine essential oil infused fragrances.
  • Cascade Wellness Technologies, Inc.: Produces an Automated Thermal Contrast device to non-invasively increase regional blood flow in the body.
  • CushCore: Manufactures an Inner-Tire Suspension System for mountain bikes.
  • Fire Funder: Crowdfunding platform for the outdoor and sports community.
  • Free Rain Designs: Creator of two backyard products – The Cube, an aesthetically pleasing option for rainwater collection, and The Hexagarden, a raised bed gardening system.
  • Hytchr: Mobile photo/video crowdsourcing application powered by blockchain technology.
  • InvestiPro: Cloud-based software platform that simplifies how employers conduct workplace investigations.
  • Pryzm Home System: Free, mobile application that allows users to create online, interactive, customized home owners’ manuals.
  • SIMBAWARE, Inc.: Provides an innovative, cloud-native electronic quality management system that allows customers to achieve the highest level of quality, compliance and efficiency in their regulatory processes.

“As a group, the 10 Early Stage contenders are stronger than ever, so next week’s PubTalk competition will be a tight race,” says Brian Vierra, Venture Catalyst Manager for EDCO, via a news release. “When voting, the audience should consider which five ideas they think are the most investable.”

EDCO has three rooms at McMenamins in downtown Bend for PubTalk. Networking begins at 5 p.m. and the program kicks off at 5:45 p.m. For more information or to purchase a ticket, visit the EDCO Events page.

Then we have the 10 Growth Stage semi-finalists. An investor team will then winnow down this bunch to five startups, which will then pitch on stage at the BVC. They’ll be vying for more than $900,000 investments.

The semifinalists are:

  • Blokable, Inc. (Portland, Ore.): High-performance modular building system for developers to deliver housing, multi-family and mixed-use projects in a fraction of the time.
  • Cartogram (Kirkland, Wash.): Provides indoor location services for businesses including line wait times, product search, staff monitoring, and indoor maps built into Google Maps.
  • Fingertips Lab (San Francisco, Calif.): Developer of O6, a mobile application and device that turns apps, articles and inboxes into interactive audio playlists, allowing users to stay connected during their commute, workout or chores.
  • Hubb (Vancouver, Wash.): Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that automates the business process for collecting, managing and marketing the abstracts, speakers and sponsors for conferences and meetings.
  • Madorra (Portland, Ore.): First non-hormonal, non-invasive medical device to treat vaginal atrophy in post-menopausal women.
  • Noappfee.com (Beaverton, Ore.): Website that allows users to run a background check, then instantly see hundreds of rental properties for which they are pre-qualified.
  • Outdoor Project (Portland, Ore.): The fastest growing media platform in the U.S. for outdoor recreation and travel.
  • RFPIO Inc. (Portland, Ore.): SaaS solution that streamlines the RFP response process and increases the win rate through automation, collaboration and Salesforce integration.
  • Ripclear (Bend, Ore.): Patented thin film technology that protects eyewear lenses, goggles, camera lens, and devices.
  • Switchboard (Portland, Ore.): Engagement and giving platform that strengthens alumni and affinity communities by helping their members help one another.

Last but not least, we have the inaugural Social Impact track, which focuses on for-profit companies that are creating some measurable social, economic or environmental benefit as a key part of their business. This group will be narrowed down to three or four.

The six semi-finalists are:

  • eChemion (Corvallis, Ore.): Develops a patent-pending chemical that treats graphitic carbon electrodes and current collectors improving the lifespan of batteries.
  • Hemex Health (Portland, Ore.): Improves millions of lives in underserved countries by providing new diagnostics for malaria and sickle cell disease where there’s currently no viable test available.
  • IOTAS (Portland, Ore.): Technology that accelerates ‘Smart Apartment’ adoption by giving building owners compelling benefits, including automated integration of smart devices into a control network.
  • OpConnect (Portland, Ore.): Sells and operates smart electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.
  • Sudara (Bend, Ore.): Creates beautiful products in India, sold via e-commerce, creating jobs for survivors of sex-trafficking.
  • TryECO (Portland, Ore.): Develops super absorbent polymers that are soil amendments and seed coatings, which increase crop yields with less water while improving soil tilth and biologics.

The BVC will take place on Oct. 13th and 14th, with events happening both days. Vierra says that tickets are moving fast. If you’re planning on going, you can buy one here.

 

 

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