Category Archives: Startups

Calling Techies, Makers and More: Partner with Students for Central Oregon’s First Make-a-Thon

If you love technology and learning and kids, then you’ll want to check out this awesome event happening next week. High Desert Career Technical Education is partnering with Skyview Middle School to launch Innovate Oregon’s Make-a-Thon program in Central Oregon. And they are seeking community professionals to participate on teams with students to make the event a success.

Make-a-Thon details:

What it is: At the Make-a-thon, teams comprised of a middle school student, an educator, and an industry professional will learn about and collectively create solutions using an electronic circuit board. No experience (or expertise) necessary! All materials will be provided; fun is guaranteed! This video from Yamhill County shows more about what the event will look like.

Looking for Funds? Apply for Cascade Angels Investment by May 1

Does money buy happiness? No, people it does not. But it can get your startup another developer or fund a production run of your product, and sometimes, that’s just what you need. And if you happen to be looking for investment, then consider applying for Cascade Angels’ second funding round of the year.

From Cascade Angels:

Entrepreneurs seeking investment capital have an opportunity to present their early stage businesses for growth to Cascade Angels. Cascade Angels Fund 2017, LLC (“Cascade Angels Fund 2017” or the “Fund”) has opened up its second application period, which runs from April 4 to May 1, 2017. Entrepreneurs interested in applying can do so via

The Fund anticipates additional application rounds in the coming months and investing in 4-7 companies in 2017. Typical investments are made in early stage, Oregon-based companies from any industry. Investments are anticipated to range from $100,000 to $250,000.

Apptoto Founder Relocates Tech Startup to Bend, Now Hiring Engineers and a Designer

Founder of Apptoto Frank Cort long thought that he’d move back to Bend. The 1995 Mountain View High School grad headed off to Oregon State for college and then finished his Masters in Computer Science at Stanford.

Frank dove into the Bay Area’s tech community, working as a software engineer for Xobni and then Yahoo, and founding his own startups on the side. The one that took off – Apptoto – he’s recently brought back to Bend. “Bend is all about lifestyle, which we wanted, but then there’s lots of people to talk to about startups, lots of people willing to help and offer advice,” Frank says. “It’s been really good.”

A fateful convo

Apptoto is an automated appointment reminder app. Frank developed the first iteration of his product after talking with the guy who cuts his hair about the money he lost every time someone missed an appointment. “He booked his appointments months out, but if he didn’t call people to remind them the day before, they’d often forget,” Frank says.

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,, and General Mills.

It is Time to Improve Your Pitch? Check Out This Upcoming Workshop

If you’re planning on pitching your startup to investors, then this post is for you. Pam Stevenson, a pitch coach and startup strategist whose advised more than 200 companies, is hosting a pitch workshop on Monday, April 17th.

The workshop aims to prepare entrepreneurs for pitching to Cascade Angels, Seven Peaks Ventures, Bend Venture Conference, Pub Talk or other angel or venture capital funds or conferences. Pam is a long-time BVC coach — and not necessarily related, but still very interesting, also helped design shoes for Michael Johnson’s Olympic races when she worked for Nike.

As part of the workshop, you’ll learn:

  • The SMART Framework-assess and optimize your underlying business opportunity.
  • The Anatomy of an Angel- know your audience.
  • The Power Pitch Canvas- the key elements of a winning investor pitch.
  • How to add Wow! Factor to any presentation.
  • The Fundability Formula for an investor-ready entrepreneur

Pam also says that the workshop will include hands-on exercises and real-life pitches. The workshop costs $100 and only has room for 12 entrepreneurs. So sign up soon.

Locals Compass Celebrates Launch w/ Bend Party, Discount Codes for Itineraries

Founder Zilaida Salgueiro first publicly pitched her startup idea, an online marketplace for personalized travel itineraries, at the unConference last October. That event was at The Capitol in downtown Bend, and Zilaida was back at the same place last night, hosting a launch party for her company, Locals Compass. What can we say? She moves fast.

The party was a great celebration of bringing an idea to life, and Zilaida took the chance to thank many people, note the joy of launching and take a quick pause before the work ahead.

If you’ve ever had the experience of asking locals for recommendations for restaurants, outings and more while you’re traveling, then you’ll get Locals Compass. The startup aims to tap into the knowledge of locals, who will offer personalized itineraries that meet travelers needs. You can read profiles of locals and their interests, and then request a one or multi-day itinerary based on your preferences and their insider tips. Locals Compass is already offering the service for people traveling to Bend. If you have guests headed this way or want to try it out, enter the discount code LAUNCH and you’ll receive 50% off.

Upcoming Tech Talk Features Bend City Manager Eric King

As a former newspaper reporter, I’m a total geek for local government. As it turns out, the actions of your city and county and parks department often have a much larger impact on your daily life than say, what’s happening in Washington, D.C. And next week, you can geek out on local government too, as part of the upcoming TAO Tech Talk featuring Eric King, Bend’s city manager.

Eric will offer his insights into city government, transportation and even taxes. The talk is interactive, and a great chance to ask questions, voice concerns and generally learn more about how our fair city functions. His discussion will highlight:

  • Governance
  • City Services
  • Council Goals
  • Finances

Be sure to register in advance. Your admission fee includes a Thump drink ticket (beer, wine, coffee, whatever) and of course, a chance to say hi to all your tech friends.

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.