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Bend Venture Conference awards $1.65 million to 8 companies

BEND, Ore. - Economic Development for Central Oregon  hosted the 14th Annual Bend Venture Conference  to a sold-out crowd at the Tower Theatre in downtown Bend.

Over Thursday and Friday, 14 companies presented their ideas to over 600 attendees in hopes of gaining investments from prominent funds. Of those 14 finalists, eight companies walked away with funding totaling $1,650,000 in both investments and cash prizes. Side investment deals are still being finalized.

Over the past four years, the Bend Venture Conference has awarded more than $7,600,000 million to 30 companies, completely reinventing Oregon’s angel and venture investor landscape. This year’s award breakdown is as follows:

Growth Stage Competition

The Growth Stage competition, which included companies that have a proven concept and initial revenues, had five different winners.

  • Winners of BVC, LLC, Investment Awards*:
    • LeadMethod (Bend, OR), creator of the first channel revenue optimization software, was awarded an investment of $110,000+.
    • Handful (Wilsonville, OR), the creators of flattering, versatile lifestyle products for women, was awarded a secondary investment of $100,000.
  • Winners of Business Oregon Awards:
    • Drone Complier (Portland, OR), providing government compliance management solutions to companies in the Drone Industry, was awarded $200,000.
    • Levrum (Corvallis, OR), BVC semi-finalists and creators of a program that more efficiently deploys emergency services, was awarded $175,000.
    • LeadMethod received an additional $150,000.
    • InvestiPro (Bend, OR), creators of a cloud-based, fully-automated workplace investigation platform, was awarded $150,000.
  • Winner of Cascade Angels Fund Investment Award:
    • LeadMethod was awarded an additional $175,000.
  • Winner of an Elevate Capital, Credo Investments & TiE Oregon Award:
    • Handful received an additional $250,000.
  • Winners of Portland Seed Fund Investment Awards:
    • LeadMethod received an additional $50,000.
    • Handful received an additional $50,000.
    • Drone Complier received an additional $25,000.

*The investment arm of the conference, BVC, LLC, awarded the Growth Stage investments following considerable due diligence of each of the five presenting finalists. The investment included $10,000 from Oregon Community Foundation and $25,000 from Oregon Growth Account. Investments are still being finalized, with the final amounts to be announced in the coming months.

Social Impact Competition

The Social Impact competition, which included for-profit companies with an integrated social or environmental mission, had one winner awarded by the Social Impact LLC. This is the third award given by the Social Impact LLC in two years.

  • Winner of Social Impact, LLC, Investment Award*:
    • Green Theme International (Portland, OR), creators of sustainable and water-free textile and fabric finishing techniques, was awarded $110,000+.

*The social impact investment arm of the conference awarded an investment following considerable due diligence of each of the four presenting finalists. This investment included $25,000 from Oregon Growth Account and $15,000 from Craft3. Investments are still being finalized, with the final amount to be announced in the coming months.

Early Stage Competition

  • Winner of the BendBroadband Business Early Stage Competition:
    • BladeRunner Energy (Bend, OR) won the $17,500 BendBroadband Business Early Stage cash award. For this competition, conference attendees voted on the company they believed could benefit the most from the money. BladeRunner Energy creates a micro-hydro technology based on biomimicry that harnesses renewable energy from the natural flow of water.
  • Winner of a Business Oregon Award:
    • BVC Finalist Voilà (Bend, OR) was awarded $85,000. Voilà creates specialty instant coffee sourced from top US roasters, delivered monthly.

Over half of the BVC’s presenting companies received funding. The event’s two big winners receiving the most in funding are LeadMethod, walking away with over $485,000, and Handful receiving $400,000.

“The Bend Venture Conference continues to evolve and advance Central Oregon as a great place for startups and entrepreneurs. The quality of companies that continue to apply and present at BVC is overwhelming,” said Brian Vierra, EDCO’s Venture Catalyst. “Over the past four years, we’ve announced numerous winners – almost all our finalists are ending up with some type of funding or mentoring as a result of the conference. Our goal is to move all these companies towards the next step in their lifecycle.”

About Bend Venture Conference (BVC)
BVC, hosted by EDCO, is one of the largest angel conferences in the country. More than 600 attendees, six funds, 32 prominent investors, and 89 companies participated in 2016’s conference, where nearly $4 million was invested in 10 companies.

About Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO)
EDCO is a non-profit corporation supported by private and public members and stakeholders, whose mission is to create middle-class jobs in Central Oregon by: recruiting new employers to move to the region; helping entrepreneurs start new, scalable businesses; and working with businesses that are already here to grow their operations. For more information, visit www.edcoinfo.com.


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