Economic Development for Central Oregon
(EDCO) last week hosted the 13th Annual Bend Venture Conference
(BVC) and announced that over $3,918,000 was awarded in investments and cash prizes, setting a new record for Oregon angel conferences and making it one of the top angel conferences in the country.
The conference featured four competition categories, 12 winners and investments made by numerous investment groups including BendBroadband Business, Business Oregon, BVC LLC, Cascade Angels, Craft3, Elevate Capital, Office of the State Treasurer, Oregon Angel Fund, Oregon BEST, Oregon Community Foundation, and Trigen Investments.
Growth Stage Competition
This competition, which included companies with a proven concept and initial revenues, had five winners:
- Hubb (Vancouver, Wash.), a SaaS platform for event management, was awarded $2,515,000, making them BVC’s biggest winner.
- RFPIO Inc. (Portland, Ore.), a SaaS solution that streamlines the RFP response process, was awarded $350,000.
- Outdoor Project (Portland, Ore.), the fastest growing media platform for outdoor recreation and travel, was awarded $150,000.
- Scout Military Discount (Portland, Ore.), an app that allows the military community to receive discounts, was awarded $125,000.
- Fat Chance Bicycles (Ashland, Ore.), an iconic heritage mountain bike brand, was awarded $100,000.
Social Impact Competition
This competition, which included for-profit companies with an integrated social or environmental mission, had three winners:
- Sudara (Bend, Ore.), a company that designs and manufactures beautiful products in India, creating jobs for survivors of sex-trafficking, was awarded $250,000.
- OpConnect (Portland, Ore.), a company that sells and operates smart electric vehicle charging stations, was awarded $100,000.
- Hemex Health (Portland, Ore.), a company that provides new diagnostics for malaria and sickle cell disease, was awarded $50,000.
Early Stage Competition
This competition, which included companies who were close to “proof of concept” and pre or early revenue, had two winners:
- Cascade Wellness Technologies (Sunriver, Ore.), manufacturer of an Automated Thermal Contrast device to non-evasively increase blood flow to the body, was awarded $100,000.
- CushCore (Bend, Ore.), manufacturer of an Inner-Tire Suspension System for mountain bikes, was awarded $15,000.
Venture Out Competition
The first venture event focused solely on the outdoor industry, hosted by Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW) and the Oregon Outdoor Alliance (OOA) in collaboration with EDCO, had three winners:
- SnoPlanks (Bend, Ore.), maker of handcrafted bamboo snowboards and skis, was awarded $100,000.
- TOUGHER (Corvallis, Ore.), maker of durable and functional work wear for women, won $10,000.
- CushCore (mentioned above) was awarded $3,000.
“The goal of this conference is to bring together investors and companies in the hopes that through the process some magic will occur and companies will get discovered and funded,” said Brian Vierra, Venture Catalyst for EDCO. “This year, due to a high level of collaboration between both angel and venture funds, institutions and the State itself, we succeeded to a level the conference hasn’t seen before. This resulted in a new record of almost $4 million for investment deployed.”
About the Bend Venture Conference
The Bend Venture Conference, hosted by Economic Development for Central Oregon, is one of the largest angel conferences in the country. More than 500 attendees, six funds, 32 prominent investors, and 90 companies participated in this year’s conference, where close to $4 million was awarded to 12 winners.