In our house, we like to talk about “doing the work.” Want to be good at soccer? Gotta do the work. Want to improve your math? Do the work. Well, Cascade Angels has been quietly doing the work of building its investment fund and our startup ecosystem since its inception in 2014, and the effort is absolutely paying off.

The Bend-based angel fund announced that its fifth fund, a multi-year fund launched this year, is its largest at $3 million. That fund made seven investments in 2018, totaling $1.1 million dollars and supporting startups across a range of industries.

“Fund V is 2.5 times larger than last year’s fund and over seven times larger than our first fund in 2014,” says Fund Manager Julie Harrelson. “This allows us to make more investments of larger dollar amounts, while still being focused on a part of the market underserved by individual angel investors and larger venture capital firms.”

Julie Harrelson and Robert Pease, fund managers of Cascade Angels.

Cascade Angels has made two dozen investments since it began, totaling nearly $4 million. The companies funded, according to the organization, employ more than 200 people. A quarter have a female CEO, and more than half count a woman or minority on their executive team.

Investments announced and completed in 2018 include:

  • Tali (www.telltali.com) – a Portland, OR software company focused on conversational time tracking.
  • Outdoor Project (www.outdoorproject.com) – a Portland, OR digital media company focused on outdoor recreation.
  • Rumpl (www.rumpl.com) – a Portland, OR consumer products company focused on technical and outdoor blankets.
  • StarveUps (www.starveups.com) – an Oregon-based peer-driven entrepreneurship accelerator with locations in Portland, Eugene, and Bend.
  • Stabilitas (www.stabilitas.io) – a Seattle, WA-based software company focused on corporate security and threat detection.
  • Slumberkins (www.slumberkins.com) – a Vancouver, WA-based consumer products company providing educational tools for childhood life skills and emotional development.
  • Talkoot (www.talkoot.com) – a Hood River, OR-based software company that provides content collaboration for direct to consumer brands.

Robert Pease joined Cascade Angels in 2017, and is also a manager of Fund V. He notes that being based outside the larger cities provides a unique perspective on startup opportunities.

“Our portfolio includes companies in Bend, Eugene, Portland, and Seattle and we have great connections to each entrepreneurial community having lived and worked in these same cities over many years,” he says.

Of course, we’ve long been passionate about the notion that startups can and should be able to thrive in smaller places, regional hubs, and rural areas. Good ideas and great businesses can flourish anywhere, as long as the right resources are in place. Hats off to Robert and Julie, who have been helping build those resources with their fund and by showing up and doing the work daily. Our startup community is better for it.

Kelly Kearsley

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]rtupbend.com.
Kelly Kearsley