Present: Early Stage Competition



How the BVC Competition Works

At BVC, there are three competition categories – Growth Stage, Early Stage, and Impact, with three to five finalists (companies) selected in each category. Applicant companies for all categories can be located anywhere in the United States.

EARLY STAGE: Companies applying in the early stage competition typically:

  • Have a great idea, and are close to “proof of concept;”
  • Are pre, or very early, revenue;
  • Are in the process of testing their product in the market.

All applicants, regardless of whether or not they are a finalist, have the opportunity to receive feedback from the investor group. The winner of this category could be awarded a minimum $30,000* investment, courtesy of Portland Seed Fund.


 Early Stage Application Process

  • 2020 Company Applications will be accepted from Wednesday, July 8 through Thursday, August 13, 2020. 
  • Applications need to be submitted through GUST here.
  • Upstart Day. Upstart Day, Friday, September 11, 2020, is a fast-paced review of Early Stage company contenders, with feedback provided from a professional panel. The strongest Early Stage Companies will become eligible to present at the September PubTalk.
  • PubTalk Competition. On Thursday, September 24, 2020, Central Oregon PubTalk hosts a pitch competition to narrow down the Early Stage companies selected from Upstart Day. From that field, five Early Stage companies are chosen to advance to BVC by the PubTalk attendees and judges. At the conference, the finalists have three minutes to pitch, followed by Q&A.

Early Stage Access Scholarships

BIPOC Application Scholarships are available thanks to Portland Seed Fund.

To be considered for these limited scholarships, at least one company founder needs to identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and have meaningful equity ownership of the company, while also seeing the application fee as a legitimate barrier to the company’s ability to participate in the conference. In addition to scholarships, Portland Seed Fund is also offering complimentary pre-application screening or post-application coaching to companies in need.

To take advantage of these scholarships, companies need to complete their GUST profile and the ‘Optional Additional Questions’ located at the end of the application process. Due to limitations in the GUST platform, the application fee will still need to be paid but will be quickly refunded after scholarship approval.

Companies who would like to take advantage of the pre-application screening or post-application coaching, or who have qualification questions, please contact [email protected].

Early Stage Competition Timeline

July 8, 2020

Applications open to present at BVC

August 13, 2020

Last day for applying companies to submit their application

September 11, 2020

Upstart Day – all Early Stage companies make their pitch, receive feedback, and are screened for Central Oregon PubTalk.

September 24, 2020

At EDCO’s Central Oregon PubTalk, judges and a sold-out crowd will vote for the five Early Stage companies advancing to BVC. PubTalk is held at McMenamins in downtown Bend.

September 28, 2020

BVC finalists participate in a 30-minute pitch coaching session.

October 15 – 16, 2020

BVC rehearsal, seminars, reception, and competition. The BVC will be held at the Tower Theatre in downtown Bend.