The Bend Venture Conference and the Bend Outdoor Worx conferences are coming up — and the news about the startups participating in these pitch contests has been coming fast and furious too.

So first up, the BOW folks announced the companies that will be competing in BOW Breakout on Oct. 17th. The six finalists include a nice mix of startups at different stages and businesses from Bend and beyond. The companies are vying for $15k in cash grants and Business Oregon Financing Award up to $100,000 for Oregon companies, according to the BOW news release.

For the BreakOut Award, early stage category, the finalists are:

  • Mystic Devices (Eagle, CO), Trail adaptive bike lighting system.
  • Sew Go Outdoors (Bend, OR) Lightweight adventure gaitors.
  • Lacuda (Bend, OR), new resistance training swimsuits for competitive female swimmers and triathletes.

For the Ready-To-Roll Award, growth stage category, the finalists are:

  • Heather’s Choice (Anchorage, AK) Light-weight backpacking food.
  • Ombraz Sunglasses (Seattle, WA) A revolutionary pair of sunglasses with a built-in adjustable cord that replaces the temple arms that hold them comfortably and securely on your face.
  • Bluey Merino  (NSW, Aus) Active and outdoor merino wool clothing brand. Farm-to-consumer direct model.

Tickets for BOW Breakout are available in advance at and at the door.

The same week, five early stage companies will also compete at the Bend Venture Conference on Friday, Oct. 19th for an investment from Portland Seed Fund of up to $20,000. These finalists all pitched at PubTalk last week, and to one, did an outstanding job. The finalists are:

  • Ella & Oak (Bend, Ore.) – An online bridal marketplace for plus-size brides bringing the “try and buy” experience home to consumers before making the big purchase.
  • LuDela (Bend, Ore.) – Bringing smart technology to the scented candle space.
  • Plover, Inc. (Portland, Ore.) – A carwash machine that utilizes computer vision and modern robotics to clean cars using only steam and water.
  • Raaft (Bend, Ore.) – Provider of easy-to-use software that helps software as a service (SAAS) companies reduce customer cancellations.
  • ZibaHub (Portland, Ore.) – A professional social networking platform connecting health and beauty practitioners to jobs, customers, and each other.

2018 Early Stage Finalists, courtesy of EDCO. Photo: Marisa Chappell Photography

From the EDCO news release:

“This is the first year that the BVC has opened up the Early Stage competition to companies outside of Central Oregon and it has resulted in more investment dollars and a more mature group of companies than we have ever previously had,” said Brian Vierra, EDCO’s Venture Catalyst. “The talent in this category is going to make for a tight competition.”

Tickets to the 15th Annual Bend Venture Conference are on sale now and are available here.