EDCO Announces the Top Five Early Stage Finalists to Present At the Bend Venture Conference


Finalists Chosen During Last Night’s Sold Out PubTalk

BEND, OR (September 29, 2017) – Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) announced the Top Five Early Stage finalists to present at the 14th Annual Bend Venture Conference (BVC) Thursday, October 19 – Friday, October 20, on the iconic Tower Theatre stage in Downtown Bend.

The Early Stage competition includes companies from Central Oregon that have a great idea and are close to “proof of concept.” They are pre-revenue (or very early) and are in the process of testing their product in the market. The competition will take place on Friday, October 20th, with the winner receiving a $17,500 cash grant, courtesy of BendBroadband Business.

In alphabetical order, the five Early Stage finalists, all from Central Oregon, are:

  1. BladeRunner Energy – A micro-hydro technology based on biomimicry that harnesses renewable energy from the natural flow of water.
  2. Mission Limelight – Empowers non-profits and commercial enterprises to maximize their marketing, fundraising and social impact.
  3. Tribe Pilot – A social tool to plan outdoor adventure.
  4. Voilà – Specialty instant coffee from top US roasters, delivered monthly.
  5. Wildish – Makers of outdoorsy gear for outsidey people.

“The quality of the Early Stage companies that pitched last night was clear evidence of the explosion in entrepreneurial activity that Bend has witnessed in recent years,” said Brian Vierra, EDCO’s Venture Catalyst. “We had broad industry representation as well, which is a sign of a healthy ecosystem. Everything from blockchain technology to consumer product startups were on display.”

Since 2011, BendBroadband Business has sponsored the Early Stage Competition Prize, this year increasing the cash prize to an impressive $17,500.

Hosted by Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO), this year’s BVC will once again feature three competition categories: Growth Stage, Early Stage and Social Impact. Last year, nearly $4 million in funding was awarded to ten companies.

Ticket Sales
Tickets to the 14th Annual Bend Venture Conference are on sale now and are available here.

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.

BVC Title Sponsors:

BVC Early Stage Award Sponsor


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