Category Archives: Economic Development

BVC 2016: $3.76 Million in Investments Sets a Record, Women Slay and Oregon Wins

The 2016 Bend Venture Conference is officially wrapped up and the big headline is $3.76 MILLION in funding was awarded, and Vancouver, Wash.-based Hubb snagged $2.5 million of that. There were big checks flying everywhere, people were crying tears of happiness and the conference set a funding record for angel conferences in the state.

Other big takeaways: The women entrepreneurs, investors and keynotes slayed this conference, the first-ever social impact made a big impression and if you live in this state, then we’re all winners. So let’s dig in.

First, the money.

There were three funding tracks this year, with the BVC debuting the social impact track on Thursday, followed by the usual early and growth stage tracks on Friday. As noted, the conference’s big winner was Hubb, a startup that makes event management software.

BVC Announced Two Keynote Speakers; Application Deadline is Aug. 12

The Bend Venture Conference will feature two keynote speakers this year, one from Zillow and one from Adobe, EDCO announced today. The BVC is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 13 and Friday, Oct. 14.

From EDCO:

The new Social Impact Competition, taking place on Thursday afternoon of the conference, will feature keynote speaker Rebekah Bastian, Vice President of Product at Zillow. Bastian was one of Zillow’s first employees, coming over from Microsoft in 2005, and has led the development of several areas of the site since its launch. She currently drives the strategy and execution of product teams focusing on advertising, financial systems and connecting real estate buyers with agents. Always searching for ways to connect her personal values to her technology career, Bastian launched the Community Pillar program to help connect low income renters with affordable housing. She also serves on several local boards related to rising housing costs and homelessness.

Hey Outdoor Startups: Bend Outdoor Worx is Taking Applications

Calling all outdoor startups: Bend Outdoor Worx, Central Oregon’s outdoor industry accelerator, is taking applications for its summer cohort. Selected companies receive mentorship from BOW’s industry founders, who have expertise in a variety of disciplines.

BOW guides its companies through a process of discovery meeting, analysis and curriculum and matches mentors to each startups needs. The accelerator also supports the companies by aligning them with additional resources, including legal assistance, financial planning, marketing, logistics, sales and product development.

This fourth group of startups will join an impressive list of BOW alumni, which includes:

The accelerator course runs from July through November. Interested startups can apply online here. Applications are due by May 31, 2016.

Funding FOMO Alert: Cascade Angels Deadline is April 15

If you’re an Oregon startup looking for funding, then you’ve got two weeks to get your application into Cascade Angels. The Bend-based fund is accepting applications through April 15. Cascade Angels expects to invest in two to six companies this year, in amounts ranging from $50,000 to $250,000.

“We’re seeing lots of diversity in the kinds of companies that are applying as well as an increased interest in the fund as we move into our third year,” says Julie Harrelson, CEO of the Harrelson Group, which manages the fund. There may be other application rounds in the coming months.

Cascade Angels has invested nearly $1 million in nine Oregon startups via two funds (2014 and 2015).

Of those companies:

While the fund has invested primarily in tech, Harrelson says Cascade Angels is exploring investments in all kinds of companies. If you’re interested, you can apply for investment on Gust.com, at least for the next two weeks. So turn in your investment application, file your tax return and you’re golden. Homework done.

Help a Student and Our Tech Startups: Take This Survey

Friends. Brian Gerney, a graduate student at University of North Carolina, is researching how smaller cities and towns grow tech clusters, without “the standard advantages of … large population, major research universities, high number of related firms, etc.” he says.

Gerney is focusing his study on Bend as one of the places that has an active startup scene, especially around technology, despite, you know, being in the middle of the desert. He wants to know WHY.

While it certainly appears that Bend has developed into a hotbed of all sorts of entrepreneurial activity and especially for technology related firms I’m sure it has been due to the hard work and commitment of its residents who may have had an easier path if they had located in an already established tech cluster like Silicon Valley or Seattle.  So I would like to know about the experience of tech workers and entrepreneurs in the area to see how they have overcome these obstacles, or if the obstacles even exist in the first place, to present a case study of growth that differs from the Silicon Valley model of a major university, military funding, and early large firms driving success.

He’s also looking at St. George, Utah. So if you work in tech here or have a tech company, please take his survey. There’s 13 questions and it should only take 5 to 10 minutes of your time.

TAKE THE SURVEY.

Gerney plans to use the results for his master’s thesis in geography. “Ideally it would be useful for policy makers in small towns or outlying regions looking to develop their own technology related economies by showcasing how to do it organically and with local talent and effort,” he says.

Get Your Hands on Some Hardware: E Space Labs Doubles Course Offerings

If you’re New Year’s resolution includes learning more about micro-electronic hardware, then I’ve got a little something for you. E Space Labs has doubled its number of course offerings for the first quarter of 2016 — and plans on adding even more as the year goes on.

Launched last year, the founders of E Space, David Robson and Rick Silver, are hoping to support the growth of the high-tech electronic hardware market industry in Central Oregon. Their lab — located at The Bridge — features a 3-D print work station, and electro-mechanical design workstation and three electric design workstations.

You can buy a membership to E Space and make full use of their equipment. And as mentioned, E Space offers courses available to members and nonmembers alike. “I think if you build something, you really learn (the subject) better,” Robson says.

BVC Investments Reach $877,500; All Growth-Stage Startups Received Funds

The Bend Venture Conference doled out $620,000 in investments and awards last month, but ensuing side deals have pushed the total investment figure to $877,500, Economic Development of Central Oregon reports.

Scratch-It, the Portland-based company that makes “reveal” marketing technology (lottery ticket-like scratch off messages), continues to bring home the bacon. The company left BVC with the most funds, garnering $225,000 in investments — $125,000 from Cascade Angels and $100,000 from Seven Peaks Ventures.

The startup has since scooped up at least another $50,000 investment via a side deal with Lake Oswego-based Credo Investments, according to Brian Vierra, EDCO’s venture catalyst. Additional investments in Nemametrix, the Perfect Company, Scratch-It and Honeycomb now total $215,000. Details of how much each company received weren’t yet available.