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Six startups picked for Bend Venture Conference pitches

BEND, Ore. - For two months, a core group of investors in the Bend Venture Conference have met, challenged and vetted 50 Launch Stage applicants. That total field of submissions was successively narrowed to the top six startups.  

Announced late in the day at the conference on October 19, one finalist will earn an investment prize expected to meet or exceed the $250K investment generated last year.  

The bulk of the investment is generated from local investors; however, several investors come from Portland, Seattle, the Bay Area, and other states.  For the first time ever, the Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) has made a $25,000 matching investment and, for the second year, the Oregon Growth Account (OGA) will invest up to $50,000.  $200,000 from private investors is required to get the full investment match from OGF and OFA.     

"BVC had a record number of applications this year, with 70 startups in total," said Steve Westberg, Manager of the BVC, LLC fund.  "In the Launch Stage category, submissions doubled from 25 last year to 50 this year. Most importantly, not only is the quantity of the companies up, but the quality is excellent. Our angel investors are particularly pleased with the quality of the finalists which drove the decision to include six, not five, companies."

The Bend Venture Conference has two tracks:

  • Launch Stage companies typically have some revenue traction, have worked out most of their technology solution, and have gone through a proof of concept process. 
  • Concept Stage companies are, by definition, earlier in the entrepreneurial cycle and may still be working on technology and/or proof of concept.

The investor-driven process to go from 50 submissions to the final six finalists was arduous.

  • Angel investors conducted due diligence efforts (investigations of the company's claims and its operations) on all 50 submissions.  
  • Feedback was given to all entrepreneurs that wanted it.
  • Of the final eight companies deemed the strongest, face-to-face pitches by the entrepreneurs were made to the investor group.

At the Bend Venture Conference, each Launch Stage finalist will make a ten minute pitch and then respond to questions from an expert panel made up of angel investors, venture capitalists, and successful entrepreneurs.  Audience Q&A will follow the expert panel.

In alphabetical order, the six finalists in the Launch Stage category are:

DesignMedix (Lynn Stevenson, Biotechnology, Portland,

DesignMedix, Inc. develops drugs to overcome drug resistance in multiple diseases, and has a malaria drug nearly ready for human trials.

 Element 1 Corp (Robert Schluter, Clean Technology, Bend,

Element 1 intends to be the dominant global supplier of hydrogen generators to fuel-cell system integrators and other merchant hydrogen applications.

Intelligent Power (Ed Davis, Clean Technology, Wilsonville,

Intelligent Power provides energy management and control that saves supermarkets 10% on their energy bills, increasing their profits 15%.

JettStream (Sarah Cota, Medical Devices &  Equipment, Bend,

JettStream is a superior treatment delivery system for children with asthma.

RallyCause (Robert Aiello, Internet/Web Services, Bend,

Kickstarter meets Yelp.  Supporters raise money for their chosen cause every time they shop at participating local businesses.

Sonivate Medical (David Starr, Medical Devices & Equipment, Beaverton,

Sonivate has a disruptive, proprietary, FDA-cleared, medical imaging technology that addresses critical needs in the $5B ultrasound market.

"Our angel investors are an impressive group with their strong entrepreneurial backgrounds," said Jim Coonan, EDCO Venture Catalyst Manager.  "Their expertise across a wide range of industries brings real value to the due diligence efforts.  We expect our ninth Bend Venture Conference to be stimulating, fun, and fast-paced."

Daymond John, ‘shark' from the ABC business reality hit show, Shark Tank, will be the keynote presenter at BVC and also moderate the Concept Stage panel in the afternoon. 

Known for a friendly, accessible atmosphere in a scenic setting, the Bend Venture Conference features six Launch Stage entrepreneurs and six Concept Stage hopefuls pitching their business ideas to a packed audience at the Tower Theatre in Bend, Oregon on October 19th.

The Bend Venture Conference is open to anyone in the business community to attend. Register online here.   

About the Bend Venture Conference (
Now in its ninth year, the Bend Venture Conference (BVC) is the premier regional event connecting concept and early stage companies with investment opportunities.  The annual event attracts more than 300 of the Pacific Northwest's top investors, entrepreneurs, and business leaders and is held at the historic Tower Theatre in Bend, Oregon. The event encompasses pre-conference learning seminars, TechSpace Bend's lively unConference, a pre-conference networking reception at Broken Top Club, the full day venture conference on October 19th, and offers an opportunity to explore Bend's lively hotel, restaurant and downtown scene.  

 About EDCO (
Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to diversifying the Central Oregon economy by attracting new investment and jobs. EDCO focuses on recruiting new companies, helping grow Central Oregon's entrepreneurs, and by helping traded-sector firms already in Central Oregon expand. EDCO has been helping to diversify Central Oregon's economy since 1981. 

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