Category Archives: Spotlight

#julieselfie: Five Talent CEO on What Bend Needs to Grow Smart + Advice to His 25-Year-Old Self

Julie Harrelson, CEO of the Harrelson Group, Fund Manager of Cascade Angels, has a beloved penchant for 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

I first met Preston Callicott, CEO of Five Talent, a few years ago when I was launching Cascade Angels and he was building the Bend-based web and software development firm. Now several years and a number of substantive conversations later, I caught up with Preston to ask his thoughts on some pressing topics including how Bend can grow sensibly, advice to his younger self and how he recharges.

Craft CMS Finds Web Dev Sweet Spot: No More Chicken Nuggets for You

I love a good metaphor. So when the team at Craft CMS—a tech company mostly new to Bend—compared one of their primary competitors to a chicken nugget (they’re more of a custom sandwich, made on artisanal bread, with heirloom tomatoes and other delicious things) I had to know more.

Two-thirds of the team at Craft CMS are new arrivals to town. Founder and CEO Brandon Kelly started Craft’s parent company, Pixel & Tonic, a software development agency specializing in ExpressionEngine add-ons, in San Jose in early 2011. But he quickly realized that he wanted to do something more.

“I wanted to do my own CMS,” Brandon says. The company’s CTO Brad jokes that every developer wants to write his or her own CMS— “It’s a rite of passage.”

Back it Like it’s Hot: Bend Inventor Debuts Fireside Audiobox on Kickstarter

Coming in hot from the land of things-you-didn’t-know-you-needed-but-now-must-have is a Bluetooth-enabled, speaker featuring flames that dance to the beat of your tunes. Designed by Bend-based inventor Tyrone Hazen, the Fireside Audiobox made its Kickstarter debut today.

Tyrone got started on the idea a couple years ago. Interested in the maker movement, he found a maker space in his then home of San Diego and wanted a project that would help him to learn how to use all of the equipment. Tyrone had been fascinated by the Rubens’ Tube — a flame tube that demonstrates acoustic standing waves — since studying physics in college.

“I thought what if I could create a desktop version that you put music through,” he said this morning, sparking the first concept for the Fireside Audiobox. He didn’t initially envision that his project would turn into a business, but people were really interested in the product — and wanted to know when they could buy their own flame dancing speaker.

Electronics Manufacturing Company SisTech Keeps It Local

In your dreams, you’ve designed the NEXT BIG THING, raised more than you ever hoped on Kickstarter, and life is good. Then, those dreams turn quickly into a protracted maze of international commerce, foreign manufacturing pitfalls, taxes, port strikes, and the high cost of fulfillment. Portland entrepreneur Kevin Bates actually moved to China to make Aruboy a success. Central Oregon startups may find help closer to home.

SisTech is a state-of-the-art electronics design and assembly facility right here in Bend off Empire Avenue. Industry veterans Brad and Lorraine Kennedy founded the company in 2009 and have been growing ever since. (Fun fact, they almost named it BendTech, and were the former owners of this domain.)

“We are a total product design realization solution for electronics products, from prototyping to full production,” says Brad Kennedy. SisTech has a 22,000 square foot facility, 16 employees, three production lines, a massive inventory of electronic components in stock for assembly, and a shipping department.

#50startups: How Hydaway Won Kickstarter and What’s Next

Niki Singlaub travels a lot for work and wanted a water bottle that folded to fit into his pocket while going through airport security. Then he could pop it open and fill it up before boarding. But even after diving deep into the depths of Amazon (there’s things you can’t unsee people) Singlaub couldn’t find what he needed. So being a product designer by trade and an entrepreneur at heart, he made one.

As it turns out, Singlaub was onto something. His collapsible water bottle not only caught the attention of his friends and family, but he’s raised nearly $100,000 thanks to excited Kickstarter backers this month. And the campaign is still going. BendTECH sat down with Singlaub to discuss what goes into designing his collapsible water bottle called the Hydaway, and how he transformed his idea into a successful, nearing six-figure Kickstarter campaign.

Meet Impossible Engine, Animating Big Tech Brands from Bend

Scott Oliphant discovered Bend six years ago on a motorcycle trip. After some misadventures on the road, he ended up here to recharge and Bend stayed on his mind long after he returned to Texas. He saw the opportunity to move his company, Impossible Engine, here in 2014 from Austin.

Impossible Engine, specializes in animation, motion graphics and visual effects. Their clients include Twitter, Facebook, Zappos, Dell HTC, SanDisk, Freescale, ADP, VMware, AMD, Rackspace, Chase, and AMC Theaters.

Oliphant started the agency in 2010, and it has since gained steam. West Coast tech firms have taken notice of the company over the past two years, and now nearly 70% of new business originates from outside Austin, with the majority in Silicon Valley and the Pacific Northwest.

#50startups: Smartwaiver Provides Digital Waivers for the Masses

Sometimes you just want to ride a mechanical bull. But before you can saddle up, you have to sign a release of liability waiver indemnifying the tavern of any responsibility lest you get bucked off and break something. Smartwaiver provides easy-to-use, digital release of liability waivers for just such scenarios. Co-founder and CEO Mark Silliman sat down with BendTECH to talk about his fifth startup, lessons learned and how big wall climbing relates to entrepreneurship.