The Bend Venture Conference happened for the 15th year in a row. To be sure, at this point the event happens – it’s a thing – and yet I find myself always somewhat amazed that so many investors, entrepreneurs, and startup supporters come to Bend, millions of dollars are doled out to promising companies, and respected keynote speakers have inspiring conversations on stage.
Bend-based Seven Peaks Ventures announced today that it’s launching its second fund, which aims to funnel $28 million in venture funding toward early stage tech startups in the PNW and rest of the west. The firm launched in 2013 with the goal of helping to fill the regional capital gap facing PNW, and particularly, Oregon-based startups. The first fund, which totaled $7.5 million, invested in multiple Oregon startups, including Bend-based Manzama, and Portland-based CrowdStreet and Bright.md.
Bend Venture Conference winner RFPIO announced a $25M investment from K1 Investment Management today. The announcement was the largest round yet for the young startup, and represented a nice return for BVC investors.
TechfestNW is fast approaching and Bend startups are ready to make a strong showing. The conference, which runs April 5th and 6th in Portland, includes a pitch competition aptly named PitchfestNW. More than 80 founders will pitch their startups, including at least six from Bend. Who are they? Glad you asked. TechfestNW attendees and the esteemed judging panel will get to hear from:
One of Bend’s own will be part of Project Entrepreneur’s 2018 Class in New York. If you see Jen Ortado, founder of Kidcareshare, tell her congrats. She recently discovered she’ll be one of 200 female founders taking part in the April event.
We didn’t want the week to end without acknowledging the cool work that OSU Cascades CS Instructor Yong Bakos and his band of creative-thinking CS students did last weekend. Yong organized a hackathon Saturday aimed at finding a way to help the nonprofit Guardian Group more efficiently fight online sex trafficking.
This year is off to a good start for Amanda Krantz, CEO and founder of DohJe. Amanda learned last week that DohJe was one of seven winners of the Gratitude in the Workplace Challenge, sponsored by OpenIDEO and the Greater Good Science Center.
You might have seen Bend’s Matthew Gregory pitch his idea for a blockchain-based startup that creates a registry for IoT devices during the runup to the Bend Venture Conference. Well, while the rest of us have been reading Buzzfeed and eating Christmas cookies (OK just me), Matt has been readying to launch his startup, Ockam.