Category Archives: Outdoor Gear

Bend Startup Tribe Pilot Wins at OUTFOUND Pitch Competition

Remember when we reported that new Bend startup Tribe Pilot had been selected as one of three early stage companies to pitch at the OUTFOUND festival in Hood River last weekend? They won. Matt Smith, the company’s founder, snagged the popular vote for his early-stage startup, a social app that helps plan group adventures.

“People were really excited about the idea, and couldn’t believe that it didn’t exist,” Smith says. “The most common response we got was ‘I’m planning three trips and I need this right now.'”

Tribe Pilot was initially selected from more than 30 companies to compete in what OUTFOUND calls its venture stage, essentially concept-stage startups. Matt narrowly squeaked by his two presenting competitors to win a bottle of Oregon bourbon, and of course the glory of winning.

Bend Startup Tribe Pilot to Pitch at Inaugural OUTFOUND Series in Hood River

Hood River will be hosting an adventure sports and outdoor innovation festival next week, and a host of Bend speakers, startups and business leaders are participating. The inaugural OUTFOUND Series, slated for June 9 through June 11, combines an outdoor business expo and startup competition with social and recreational activities. According to the news release:

The 3-day event includes Outfound Talks: 20-minute lightning presentations from inspiring leaders in the outdoor space; OutFounder: a pitch competition for outdoor driven startups; and The Expo: an adventure sports consumer show where innovative brands showcase and demo the latest products. All of these activities take place on a scenic, 30-acre waterfront outdoor playground filled with sports activities, workshops, outdoor films and music performances.

Bend Startup Launches Kickstarter for the M.C. Hammie, a Reinvented Hammock

Wildish co-founders Rick Lee and Adam Allen have reimagined something that’s already good — a hammock! — and made it even better. The pair debuted the M.C. Hammie on Kickstarter last week, and they’ve raised more than $8,200 of their $15,000 goal already.

The founders plans to use the money to manufacture the M.C. Hammie. But first, what is it exaclty? It’s a three-in-one hammock, shelter and blanket. Up to eight of your very best friends can lounge on this thing when it’s spread out on the ground. Then, it pops into a little shelter and you can hop inside, or string it between two trees and ta dah — a hammock.

Rick and Adam started their company last year with another gear reinvention that they call Mr. Big Stuff (props for creative product names). That is basically a gigantic beach blanket that packs down into a teeny tiny pouch for travel. The duo sold 500 of the blankets in their first month.

Cairn Hires Former Cascade Designs VP Mona West as New Chief Product Officer

Our friends over at Cairn continue to grow, moving into new digs and hiring rock stars. Most recently, the Bend startup announced that it’s hired Mona West to be the company’s new Chief Product Officer. In this newly created position, Mona will oversee the strategic direction of the company’s product offering and relationships with brand partners, according to a news release.

From Cairn:

West comes to Cairn with an impressive background in product management and marketing. She joins Cairn from Cascade Designs, where as Vice President of Emerging Brands she spearheaded the growth of numerous brands including Platypus®, SealLine®, and PackTowl®. Prior to that she drove marketing strategy for Therm-a-Rest® and MSR®. West combines this deep outdoor industry experience with expertise from leading consumer product and retail brands at Fortune 200 companies including Ste Michelle Wine Estates, where she oversaw the significant expansion of their wine subscription box programs, Amazon.com, and General Mills.

Hey Mt Bikers! BVC Winner CushCore to Demo Its Inner Tire Suspension System Saturday at Maston

The team at CushCore certainly caught a lot of people’s attention with their startup pitch last fall for an innovative inner-tire suspension system for mountain bikes. The perks: Better traction, improved stability and ultimately fewer flats. It was an easy sell to a town that spends a lot of time on singletrack trails.

The company won the Bend Venture Conference $15,000 BendBroadband Business Early Stage Cash Prize last October and officially launched their product last month. Even more exciting: You can try out CushCore’s patent-pending inner-tire system this Saturday. Head to the Maston Trailhead — details below — and they’ll have wheels fitted with the system that you can put on your bike. Then just, you know, ride like a bat out of hell. See what happens.

Cairn Co-Founders on the Secret to Their Successful Partnership #julieselfie

Julie Harrelson, CEO of the Harrelson Group, Fund Manager of Cascade Angels, loves taking selfies with entrepreneurs, investors and people of Oregon who support building a strong Oregon through entrepreneurialism. This blog continues a series of selfies + blogs about the amazing people she’s met in the last couple of years. #julieselfie

Cairn believes that being outside replenishes the soul. The company was founded with the goal of creating meaningful ways for people to feel connected with the outdoors in their everyday lives. Their monthly subscription box service introduces people to innovative new products and gear that inspires them to get outdoors and try new things, go new places, and share the experience with others.

In the fall of 2014, Cairn was a member of the first class of Bend Outdoor Worx, an accelerator for Central Oregon outdoor-product companies. At the start of 2015, the company, founded by Rob Little and Jared Peterson, had two employees and approximately 500 subscribers. Today Cairn has 14 employees, ships products to over 15,000 subscribers each month, and sources products from over 100 companies. Cairn, based in Bend, was chosen among all development stage companies in Oregon as the winner of the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network Entrepreneurship Award in 2015.

Bend-based DubsLabs KickStarts On-Ear, Flat Headphones, Which Allow You to Hear Your Surroundings and Music While Skiing, Biking and More

The best thing about working in a co-working space is getting to meet people doing really interesting things. Today, that person was Eric Dubs, creator of Versafit, wireless, on-ear headphones. He launched a Kickstarter for the product a few hours ago, aiming to raise $35,000, to fund the headphone production.

I couldn’t help but walk over to his desk to learn more, after hearing his team’s excitement about their first backers. I’m glad I did, and you will be too. Versafit headphones are flat, bendable headphones that rest on top of your ears.

As Eric explains, this not only makes them more comfortable than traditional ear buds, but it also allows you to still hear noise from the outside. This makes them a great, safe option for people listening to music, who also need to be aware of their surroundings, such as mt. biker, skiers, snowboarders, or people just walking down the street.

Why You Don’t Tell the Ripclear Founders That Something Is Impossible … #50startups

It’s conventional wisdom that the best products and companies come from people who were trying to solve their own problems. That seems to be the case with Ryan Doherty and Zach Hines, co-founders of Ripclear, a Bend startup that creates (actually invented) adhesive ski goggle protectors.

Ryan was working at Mt. Bachelor as an inventory controller in 2013, basically making sure that the resort’s various lodges had all the food and beverages they needed to serve their customers. An avid snowboarder, he’d often snowboard between the mountain’s lodges and buildings.

“I was scratching up to three or four pairs of goggles a year,” he says. He thought that there had to be something he could adhere to the front – like a cellphone screen cover – that would prevent the damage. But after a lot of Internet searching, he found exactly nothing.