EDCO Announces Semi-Finalists for the Bend Venture Conference

Twenty-Six Companies Selected Across Three Competition Categories

BEND, Ore. – September 13, 2016 – Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) has selected 26 semi-finalists across three competition categories for the 13th Annual Bend Venture Conference. This group includes 10 Early Stage, 10 Growth Stage and six Social Impact companies that may have an opportunity to compete at BVC on Thursday, October 13 and Friday, October 14, where almost $900K has already been committed in investments.

The 10 Early Stage semi-finalists were selected Friday after review by a panel of seven experts. These companies will deliver fast, three-minute pitches at PubTalk on September 22 and audience vote will decide which five go on to vie for the $15K BendBroadband Business prize at the conference.

In alphabetical order, the 10 Early Stage semi-finalists (all from Central Oregon) that will compete at PubTalk are:

  1. Best Hire: Develops a web-based employment testing/screening application to identify employees with the grit and integrity to help businesses thrive.
  2. Broken Top Candle Company: Specializes in handmade scented candles made from the highest quality soy blended wax, 100% cotton wicks and fine essential oil infused fragrances.
  3. Cascade Wellness Technologies, Inc.: Produces an Automated Thermal Contrast device to non-invasively increase regional blood flow in the body.
  4. CushCore: Manufactures an Inner-Tire Suspension System for mountain bikes.
  5. Fire Funder: Crowdfunding platform for the outdoor and sports community.
  6. Free Rain Designs: Creator of two backyard products – The Cube, an aesthetically pleasing option for rainwater collection, and The Hexagarden, a raised bed gardening system.
  7. Hytchr: Mobile photo/video crowdsourcing application powered by blockchain technology.
  8. InvestiPro: Cloud-based software platform that simplifies how employers conduct workplace investigations.
  9. Pryzm Home System: Free, mobile application that allows users to create online, interactive, customized home owners’ manuals.
  10. SIMBAWARE, Inc.: Provides an innovative, cloud-native electronic quality management system that allows customers to achieve the highest level of quality, compliance and efficiency in their regulatory processes.

“As a group, the 10 Early Stage contenders are stronger than ever, so next week’s PubTalk competition will be a tight race,” said Brian Vierra, Venture Catalyst Manager for EDCO. “When voting, the audience should consider which five ideas they think are the most investable.”

EDCO has taken over three rooms at McMenamins in downtown Bend for this special PubTalk. Networking begins at 5 p.m. and the program kicks off at 5:45 p.m. For more information or to purchase a ticket, visit the EDCO Events page.

The 10 Growth Stage semi-finalists, which will be further narrowed down to five before the Bend Venture Conference, were selected after a thorough vetting process by an investor team.

In alphabetical order, the 10 Growth Stage semi-finalists are:

  1. Blokable, Inc. (Portland, Ore.): High-performance modular building system for developers to deliver housing, multi-family and mixed-use projects in a fraction of the time.
  2. Cartogram (Kirkland, Wash.): Provides indoor location services for businesses including line wait times, product search, staff monitoring, and indoor maps built into Google Maps.
  3. Fingertips Lab (San Francisco, Calif.): Developer of O6, a mobile application and device that turns apps, articles and inboxes into interactive audio playlists, allowing users to stay connected during their commute, workout or chores.
  4. Hubb (Vancouver, Wash.): Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that automates the business process for collecting, managing and marketing the abstracts, speakers and sponsors for conferences and meetings.
  5. Madorra (Portland, Ore.): First non-hormonal, non-invasive medical device to treat vaginal atrophy in post-menopausal women.
  6. com (Beaverton, Ore.): Website that allows users to run a background check, then instantly see hundreds of rental properties for which they are pre-qualified.
  7. Outdoor Project (Portland, Ore.): The fastest growing media platform in the U.S. for outdoor recreation and travel.
  8. RFPIO Inc. (Portland, Ore.): SaaS solution that streamlines the RFP response process and increases the win rate through automation, collaboration and Salesforce integration.
  9. Ripclear (Bend, Ore.): Patented thin film technology that protects eye wear and camera lenses, goggles, and devices.
  10. Switchboard (Portland, Ore.): Engagement and giving platform that strengthens alumni and affinity communities by helping their members help one another.

In alphabetical order, the six Social Impact semi-finalists are:

  1. eChemion (Corvallis, Ore.): Develops a patent-pending chemical that treats graphitic carbon electrodes and current collectors improving the lifespan of batteries.
  2. Hemex Health (Portland, Ore.): Improves millions of lives in underserved countries by providing new diagnostics for malaria and sickle cell disease where there’s currently no viable test available.
  3. IOTAS (Portland, Ore.): Technology that accelerates ‘Smart Apartment’ adoption by giving building owners compelling benefits, including automated integration of smart devices into a control network.
  4. OpConnect (Portland, Ore.): Sells and operates smart electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.
  5. Sudara (Bend, Ore.): Creates beautiful products in India, sold via e-commerce, creating jobs for survivors of sex-trafficking.
  6. TryECO (Portland, Ore.): Develops super absorbent polymers that are soil amendments and seed coatings, which increase crop yields with less water while improving soil tilth and biologics.

The 13th Annual Bend Venture Conference takes place on Thursday, October 13 and Friday, October 14 with events happening throughout both days. To buy a ticket, visit 2016 Bend Venture Conference.

About the Bend Venture Conference
The Bend Venture Conference (BVC), hosted by Economic Development for Central Oregon, is the largest angel conference in the Pacific Northwest. This year, the conference is divided into three competition categories that consist of Social Impact, Early Stage and Growth Stage companies vying for investment and cash prizes. In 2015, more than 465 attendees, 50 prominent investors and 65 companies joined us for a celebration of entrepreneurship and close to $1 million was awarded to multiple winners. For more information, visit www.bendvc.com.

About Economic Development for Central Oregon

Celebrating its 35th year, Economic Development for Central Oregon (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.


Press Contact

Brian Vierra

Venture Catalyst Manager, EDCO

541.388.3236 x5

[email protected]


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