More startups. More funding. More fun. Bend Outdoor Worx, Central  Oregon’s outdoor industry accelerator, plans to host an outdoor product venture event to help kick off the Bend Venture Conference.

Called Venture Out — I’m having event name envy — the event will offer early and growth stage outdoor products startups the chance to compete for $110,000 in awards and investments. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 12th.

Rob Little, founder of Cair, at the 2014 BVC.
Rob Little, founder of Cairn, also a BOW alum, at the 2014 BVC.

Two Bros. Ventures, a Bend-based firm owned by brothers Brian and Chris Azur, will be funding a venture round of at least $100,000 to be awarded to a growth stage outdoor product company. In addition, the Bend Radio Group will be sponsoring a $10,000 Breakout Award for an early stage company.

Just an observation: The outdoor product folks seem to go big or go home and it’s generally the first. They launched this event last year — also on the Wednesday before BVC. They had three finalist companies pitch to a standing room only crowd of more than 250, and ultimately awarded the Robert Axle Project, a local manufacturer of axle adaptors for bike trailers, a $10,000 prize. Beaver Theodosakis, the founder of Prana, was the keynote speaker.

“We received so much support last year that we decided to step it up,” Bracelin, co-founder of BOW said this morning. The 2016 event is supported by the Oregon Outdoor Alliance and EDCO. Some of the details are still be finalized — for instance, whether companies will need to Bend or Oregon based to compete — but BOW plans to begin accepting applications from interested startups mid-June. We’ll update you when we know more.

Bracelin notes that startups can apply for both the Bend Venture Conference tracks and the Venture Out event.

The co-founders of SnoPlanks -- a BOW company -- in the PubTalk run up to last year's BVC.
The co-founders of SnoPlanks — a BOW company — in the PubTalk run up to last year’s BVC.

FYI, the accelerator is still taking applications for its next cohort through June 1. More on that from BOW …

Since 2014, BOW has worked with eight start-up outdoor companies providing them with mentorship from industry founders and an extended mentor group.  Through a process of discovery meetings, analysis and curriculum building, BOW determines company needs and provides guidance. The accelerator supports these companies by aligning them with additional resources needed to succeed, including legal, financial, marketing, logistics, sales, marketing, and product development.

So if you’re an outdoor startup, you got some applying to do. And hopefully we’ll see on one of the stages come October.

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