One of the most fun parts of the Bend Venture Conference is the early stage competition. It features Central Oregon startups who are just getting going, and vying for a $17,500 award to help them launch. Adding to the fun: The audience at this month’s PubTalk, along with an expert panel, gets to weigh in on who moves on to the main conference.

Today, EDCO announced the semi-finalists, who will pitching to a packed house at PubTalk, scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 28th.

In alphabetical order, the Ten Early Stage semi-finalists are:

  1. BladeRunner Energy – A micro-hydro technology based on biomimicry that harnesses renewable energy from the natural flow of water.
  2. kidcareshare – A social network for parent communities to instantly schedule and trade carpools, play dates and care.
  3. Mission Limelight – Empowers non-profits and commercial enterprises to maximize their marketing, fundraising and social impact.
  4. Ockam – A blockchain based platform to solve systemic security and interoperability problems in all IOT devices.
  5. Snappy Sitters – Matches reliable and capable sitters with busy families who have extremely high standards.
  6. Tread & Butter – Intentionally-designed cork insoles for sport, work and outdoors.
  7. Tribe Pilot – A social tool to plan outdoor adventure.
  8. Voilà – Specialty instant coffee from top US roasters, delivered monthly.
  9. Wildish – Makers of outdoorsy gear for outsidey people.
  10. Wingo – The first truly ergonomic cases for tablets and smartphones to alleviate pain, prevent injury, and substantially increase comfort.

From the EDCO news release:

With the largest crowd of the year, the action will be live-streamed throughout multiple rooms at McMenamins. Don’t wait to secure your seats – tickets are going fast and this event will sell out. Since 2011, BendBroadband Business has sponsored the Early Stage competition. This year, the cash award has increased to an impressive $17,500 for the BVC Early Stage winner.

PubTalk Agenda – Sept. 28
5:00 pm to 5:45 pm Networking
5:45 pm to 8:00 pm Early Stage semi-finalist presentations, voting & announcement of finalists

PubTalk Cost and Registration
$25 EDCO & OEN Members (Become a member here)
$35 Non-Members
Cost includes appetizers and a beverage (choice of beer, wine, or soda)

Kelly Kearsley

Kelly Kearsley, the co-founder of, 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, Money Magazine, CNNMoney, MSNBC and Runner's World. See her work at or

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