Category Archives: Local Tech

Hip, Luxury Lipstick That’s Also Vegan? Yep, Meet Axiology 

As a long-time vegan, Ericka Rodriguez wasn’t pleased with her makeup options, especially when it came to lipstick. “There was no brand out there that represented what I wanted,” she says. “Nothing that was vegan was also hip or luxe and every time I put on a vegan, organic lipstick I didn’t get the result I wanted.”

Ericka began making her own lipstick in 2012, researching how to make lip balm and then adding color. “It became an obsession pretty quickly,” she says. “I was working at a juice bar in New York City and making lipstick before work and after work.”

She landed on a winning formula—and ultimately launched Axiology, a luxury vegan, organic lipstick company based here in Bend. The growing brand is now found in 90 boutiques, including Free People shops, around the country.

Tech People: Learn How to Improve Your Soft Skills at the Tech Talent Development Summit

You know what’s nice? Not having to leave town for great, informative, industry-related events. And it seems like there’s more of them here everyday. One of the most recent postings to the StartupBend events calendar — a Tech Talent Development Summit — is something that every local tech professional should check out.

Scheduled for Feb. 22, this summit is focused on helping tech employees develop their soft skills, which are just as crucial as your technical skills and frankly, can often mean the difference between getting hired or promoted — or not.

From the event information:

While your technical skills may get your foot in the door, long-term your soft skills help you stay relevant and create opportunities for advancement. Developing those soft skills begins with an awareness and understanding of who you are as an employee—what you already offer, how you’d like to grow and how you’re connected to your work. With that understanding, you can better develop and apply essential networking and communication skills that are authentic to you and most impactful to your professional growth and success.

FoundersPad Invests in Bend VR Startup, ZeroTransform

Last week FoundersPad announced the formation of its new fund. This week that fund announced its first investment in ZeroTransform, a Bend-based virtual reality gaming startup. To quote our good friend Ferris Bueller, life moves pretty fast.

FoundersPad has actually been mentoring ZeroTransform for the past year. The early-stage venture fund joins other investors in the startup, including Bend-based Cascade Angels. Neither fund announced investment amounts, but ZeroTransform COO Scott Bayless told the Bulletin earlier this year that he was hoping to complete a $500,000 round by November.

From FoundersPad:
“This is an exciting market with a tremendous amount of potential. ZeroTransform has not only been an innovator in bringing immersive cinematic VR games to life, but is well positioned to be one of the premier game developers in this emerging market,” says Chris Capdevila, Principal at FoundersPad. “With the VR hardware wars heating up, significant improvement in the user experience and dropping prices, VR gaming is becoming a sought-after reality for the mass market.”

Tech Soft 3D Begins to Build Out Bend Dev Team, Looking to Hire

Tech Soft 3D is one of those Bend tech companies that can fly under your radar — but don’t let it. The company employs nearly 100 people around the world, with offices in Bend, Japan, France, England, Berkeley, Ohio and soon Germany. CEO Ron Fritz is now aiming to grow a development team here.

“We think this is a great time to begin adding to our tech talent,” Ron says.

More on that in a moment. But first, Tech Soft 3D does really cool things. In addition to creating the 3D technology that underpins the PDF standard, the company also provides software development tools that help software teams create all sorts of 3D engineering applications for manufacturing, architecture, engineering and construction, metrology, geospatial, mining and more.

Bend Startups: How InvestiPro Software Streamlines Workplace Investigations

As a self-employed person, I don’t encounter a lot of HR investigations – though I do wonder who ate my Pizza Mondo leftovers (OK, it was me). However, Dana Barbato, founder of InvestiPro has spent nearly 25 years working in HR, with a focus on employee relations and investigations. “I came to be known as the go-to person for sticky employee situations,” says Dana, who was able to transform these challenging circumstances into a workable, repeatable processes.

She created InvestiPro – cloud-based, workplace investigations software – to bring such a process to more companies. Launched in August, her software was selected as one of eight products vying for the title Next Great HR Technology Company last week at the HR Tech Conference in Chicago. Her company finished in the top four.

New Tech in Bend! Simbaware Targets Medical Device Manufacturers

There are a few tech companies in Bend building enterprise SaaS products for businesses in that mysterious middle: Too big for a simple, off-the-shelf solutions, but not large enough to afford costly, custom software employed by giant brands.

Simbaware is one of the newest in this realm. The startup has created a quality management system (QMS) for small to mid-sized, medical device manufacturers. Now forgive me for a sec while I unleash a flurry of acronyms on you: It’s QMS SaaS for SMBs. To help them meet FDA requirements. FTW!

So many letters. What does it all mean? Settle in for a few minutes because it’s time to learn something. First, the good news for anyone needing a medical device is that the FDA does not let companies just make them willy nilly.

First-Ever Bend Tech Crawl Features Local Companies + Beer + Fun

Most of the time, showing up at tech companies unannounced and hoping for a free beer would be considered tacky. I just learned this. But not on Sept. 8th people. As part of the first-ever Bend Tech Crawl, you can spend an evening touring around participating tech companies, having some apps and maybe a brewski — and then ending up at a party.

The Central Oregon branch of the Technology Association of Oregon has organized the Bend Tech Crawl as part of its first statewide tech networking event. That means people in Eugene and Portland will also be tech crawling around their towns at the same time.

The Bend event starts at 4:30 p.m. at the BendTECH coworking space, located at 1001 SW Emkay Drive. From there, you’ll get a map with info about all of the 11 participating companies. Then you can get out and actually visit them as part of a self-guided tour. Stop at as many places as you like. You can meet other people in tech, learn more about companies here, put appetizers in your purse. NO JUDGEMENT. Then at 7:30 everyone will meet up for a reception at The Barrel Thief.

Droplr Raises Another $400,000 to Fund More Hires; Lands Integration w/ Cisco

Droplr recently raised another $400,000 to grow its team and accelerate its outbound sales efforts, says Gray Skinner, the Bend startup’s CEO. Gray described the round as a bridge between Droplr’s initial seed round (which was about $850,000) and a potential Series A.

“We’re planning to grow our team from 10 to 15, and do more outbound sales to the thousands of companies we haven’t gone after before,” he says.

This recent round was lead by Bend-based Cascade Angels, who invested another $150,000 in the startup. Inspiration Ventures, out of Burlingame, Calif., invested $100,000. Seven Peaks Ventures, also from Bend, and a group of individuals from Nashville filled out the rest.

The company makes sharing screen shots and files easier. Earlier this year, the startup announced an integration with Slack to do just that. Most recently, Gray says the startup has forged a partnership with Cisco. Droplr is building an integration for Cisco’s own communication platform, Spark, and then looking to pursue channel sales via relationships with Cisco’s enterprise clients.