Previous Speakers

2019 Brief Speakers and Topics

BVC Brief #1 | Raising Killer Dough: How Dave Dahl Helped Build Dave’s Killer Bread

Dave Dahl, Creator and Co-Founder, Dave’s Killer Bread interviewed by Robert Riccardelli, Founder, The Converging Zone

An inspirational figure, Dave once led a troubled past, having served over 15 years in prison for multiple offenses prior to his business success. In 2015, Dave’s Killer Bread was sold to Flower Foods, the 2nd-largest bakery in the country for $275 million.

BVC Brief #2 | Barriers to Female Founders: Where are All the Ladies?

Featuring Allie Magyar, Founder & CEO Hubb and Diane Fraiman, Managing Director Voyager Capital

A discussion on why female-owned businesses are so underrepresented and what might be done to change that.

BVC Brief #3 | Accelerating Bend: What’s Behind a Successful Accelerator?

Featuring Chris DeVore, Managing Partner of Founders’ Co-op / former Managing Director of Techstars Seattle; interviewed by Julianne Brands, Partner at Oregon Venture Fund

What is Bend missing? How can we continue, as a community, to grow our startups and support our entrepreneurs?

BVC Brief #4 | Winter is Coming: Startups & Investing in Uncertain Times

Featuring Matt Abrams, General Partner Seven Peaks Ventures; Bruce Cleveland, Founding Partner Wildcat Venture Partners; and Luke Kanies, Founder and Executive Chair of Puppet

This vigorous discussion will tackle what obstacles founders face, how to navigate volatility and uncertainty, and how investors view the landscape and market corrections.


BVC Brief #5 | What They Don’t Tell You: Lessons Learned From Growing Fast

Featuring Robert Pease, Managing Director Cascade Seed Fund; Kelly Oriard, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Slumberkins; and Callie Christensen, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Slumberkins

A real discussion about starting, funding and growing a direct to consumer brand from concept to scale.

BVC Brief #6 | The Next Big Thing: When Finance and Technology Collide

A conversation with Tore Steen, CEO & Co-Founder of CrowdStreet, Shamir Karkal Co-Founder of Simple Bank, and Matt Compton, General Partner of Oregon Venture Fund

How has technology changed the world of finance, making it more accessible to more people. And where are the next big opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs?

2018 Keynote Speaker: Emily Chang
Anchor & Executive Producer, Bloomberg TechnologyBrotopia

2018 BVC Keynote Speaker

Friday’s keynote, Emily Chang, is the anchor and executive producer of Bloomberg Technology, a daily TV show focused on global technology. She regularly speaks with top tech executives, investors, and entrepreneurs in her podcast, Bloomberg Studio 1.0. The Harvard University graduate has won five regional Emmy awards for her reporting and was previously a CNN correspondent in both Beijing and London. She is also the bestselling author of the groundbreaking book, Brotopia, a look at the world of Silicon Valley and what it is like to navigate the “boys’ club” culture as a woman in tech.

Innovation is fueled by diversity. Emily’s keynote will address the numerous studies that have been done to show how diverse teams outperform non-diverse ones, particularly when a customer demographic is represented in a company’s workforce. This comes into conflict with human nature and our tendency to surround ourselves with similar people, with the question if diverse teams can be created “naturally.”

Emily will explore this topic in depth and other learnings from her book Brotopia. She will explore what optimal diversity looks like, the impact of her book both positive and negative, and what it’s like to speak to some of the most powerful voices and personalities in global technology.

2018 Impact Keynote Speaker: Breanna DiGiammarino
Senior Director of Social Innovation, Indiegogo

2018 BVC Impact Keynote Speaker

Thursday’s Impact keynote, Breanna DiGiammarino is the Senior Director of Social Innovation at Indiegogo. She actively raises awareness about the value and best practices of crowdfunding for social entrepreneurs, working to empower many of the most impactful campaigners on the site. She’s worked on campaigns such as blogger Humans of New York’s fundraiser to address bonded labor in Pakistan with a $2.3 million raise and the B Corp Cotopaxi’s Allpa Travel bag campaign with a $1.3 million raise. Before Indiegogo, Breanna was the Senior Associate at the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, a leading social venture fund and an Associate Consultant at The Bridgespan Group, the non-profit arm of Bain & Company.

At the Bend Venture Conference, Bre will share the power of crowdfunding in the social entrepreneurship space, including:

  • Standout campaigns by social entrepreneurs building their businesses and changing the world
  • How crowdfunding enables everyone to become a social venture capitalist
  • How crowdfunding provides financing opportunities to companies outside of traditional venture capital’s purview, including across historic geographic, topic and growth model lines
  • What it takes to put together and run a strong campaign
  • When to consider crowdfunding for your social business

2017 BVC Keynote Speakers

Brad HeadshotBrad Feld is Co-Founder of the Foundry Group, one of the most well-renowned early stage venture firms in the United States. An early stage investor and entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience, Feld’s keynote will stream live from Boulder, Colorado, onto the Tower Theatre stage. Moderated in person by Aviel Ginzburg, the talk will focus on where early-stage financing is heading, new trends emerging in the accelerator world, how corporate America is bridging the gap to the startup world, and more.

RebekahHeadshot Seattle-based Aviel Ginzburg is the Managing Director of the Amazon Alexa Accelerator powered by Techstars, a Venture Partner at Founder’s Co-op, and Co-Founder of Simply Measured. Feld is also a Co-Founder of Techstars, where he works with Ginzburg on the Alexa Accelerator Program. Created in partnership with Amazon’s Alexa Fund, the Alexa Accelerator focuses on advancing voice-powered technologies.


2017 Impact Keynote Speaker

TonyHeadshotTony Arnerich founded Arnerich Massena, one of Portland’s largest investment firms in 1991. Bringing a unique perspective and over 30 years’ experience, Arnerich will discuss the transition from his life in private wealth management to impact investing. Additionally, as an advisor Arnerich works directly with clients across the board: corporate, public, and not-for-profit organizations, as well as high net worth individuals.


RebekahHeadshotRebekah Bastian is Vice President of Product at Zillow, driving the strategy and execution of product teams focusing on advertising, financial systems, and connecting real estate buyers with agents. Rebekah was one of Zillow’s first employees, coming over from Microsoft in 2005, and has led the development of several areas of the site since its launch. She spearheaded the initial Zillow Listings Feed program, the introduction of the Zillow Mobile apps and the advertising products for the Premier Agent Program. Always searching for ways to connect her personal values to her technology career, Rebekah launched the Community Pillar program to help connect low-income renters with affordable housing and serves on several local boards related to rising housing costs and homelessness. Rebekah earned her Masters of Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley. She is also mother to two boys and an aerial acrobat.

Loni HeadshotLoni Stark is Senior Director of Strategy & Product Marketing at Adobe. In her role, Loni leads business growth and go-to-market strategy and execution for Adobe’s digital experience management business. Adobe is a recognized leader in solutions for Digital Experience Platforms and Marketing Cloud Hubs by Forrester and Gartner respectively.

She is also co-founder of Stark Insider, a leading media brand about All Things West Coast® with over 750K readers a year. Over the past decade at Stark Insider, she has interviewed more than 200 creative thinkers and doers who are pushing the boundaries of film, music, and technology. Loni is also a mentor at Alchemist Accelerator, named one of the top five accelerators in the U.S. in 2015, where she advises founders of startups.

Loni frequently speaks at industry conferences and her articles on the impact of digital on customer experience and marketing have appeared in publications including TechCrunch, Entrepreneur and Content Marketing Institute.

In 2015, she was recognized as a Silicon Valley Business Journal Top 40 under 40. Loni holds a Masters in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford University and studied innovation leadership at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. In her spare time, she likes to paint and sip Napa Cabs, preferably at the same time.


Darren Pleasance, who leads Google’s Global Customer Acquisitions team based at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, CA, was the 2015 BVC Keynote Speaker.

In his role, Darren leads a team of ~1,700 people in 32 countries focused on helping companies to use Google’s digital advertising services to grow their business.

His team works with companies in all industries and teach them how to harness the power of “Search”, “Display Advertising”, and “YouTube” to attract, grow, and retain their customers.

Prior to joining Google, Darren was a Partner in McKinsey and Company’s North American Marketing & Sales Practice and the founder and co-leader of McKinsey’s global Small and Medium Business (SMB) practice. Prior to this role, Darren spent 10 years as a professional pilot in California and Alaska while also helping to launch and grow several small companies.  Darren continues to fly for fun today.

Watch Darren’s BVC keynote presentation below:


Dr. Steve Sliwa is CEO and a Foustevesliwa5000v21jpg-db357a6354391043nder of Seeq Corporation. Steve is committed to leading a customer-focused, lean start-up, which effectively changes the way industry uses their process data.

Steve was CEO of Insitu from 2002 through early 2011. Insitu provides UAVs and support equipment but also executes a thriving business model delivering intelligence through turnkey solutions and is a developer of small drones, or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), for military and civilian applications. During Steve’s time at Insitu, he grew the company from 4 employees to 800+ and $450M in revenue. While there, Insitu maintained a 90% market share within its niche with customers and operations throughout the world. Steve has engineering degrees from Princeton, George Washington, and Stanford and a business degree from Stanford. He resides in White Salmon, WA with his wife Nancy and enjoys flying his motor glider and TBM turboprop airplane.

Watch Dr. Sliwa’s BVC presentation below


© 2012 Eric Millette, All Rights Reserved 415-750-9999 USA

The 2013 keynote speaker was Steve Blank, who co-founded eight high technology startups and has taught entrepreneurship to undergraduate and graduate students at schools that include Stanford and Columbia University.  After retiring, Blank wrote Four Steps to the Epiphany, which centered on creating successful early-stage companies, and it is widely considered the book that launched the Lean Startup Movement.  In 2012, the Harvard Business Review recognized his accolades by coining him one of the “Masters of Innovation.”  He also released The Startup Owner’s Manual, a guide to help aspiring entrepreneurs.  More recently, the National Science Foundation paid tribute to this successful work in devising the Innovation Corps curriculum by crowning him with the Outstanding Leadership Award.

Watch Steve Blank’s BVC presentation below


The 2012 keynote speaker was Daymond John; founder, Daymond John Bio Picpresident and CEO of FUBU and a ‘shark’ on the ABC reality television series Shark Tank. From humble beginnings to a self-made multimillionaire with over $4 billion to date in global product sales and a starring role on ABC’s newest business reality TV show, Daymond John is the personification of the American Dream. He continues to set standards of excellence while expanding his interests in fashion, branding, marketing, consulting, entertainment and beyond. This industry leader, best-selling author, and groundbreaking entrepreneurial expert has evolved into a highly sought after business and motivational speaker.


Oregon State TreTed_Wheeler_2274_2274_90asurer Ted Wheeler, the 28th State Treasurer of Oregon, was the 2011 keynote speaker.  A former manager at an investment firm and then the elected chief executive of Multnomah County, Wheeler completed the term of former Treasurer Ben Westlund and was then elected in November 2010. Since entering office, Wheeler has directed several efforts to help make the State Treasury a more efficient operation, a more responsible investor and also more relevant to Oregonians. He was appointed by former Gov. John Kitzhaber to help draft new economic development strategies for the state. Wheeler has increased transparency of Treasury data, pushed for money-saving technology changes, strengthened investment travel rules and safeguards, authorized securities fraud lawsuits against firms that misled investors, and announced a revamped 529 college savings plan with lower costs and more options for families.


The 2010 keynotJohnathan Heiligere speaker was Jonathan Heiliger, then Vice President of Technical Operations at Facebook, where he oversaw global infrastructure and internal technology systems. Prior to Facebook, Heiliger was on the venture capital side of technology. He served as a technology advisor to several early-stage companies in connection with Index Ventures and Sequoia Capital, where he was an advisor to YouTube. Heiliger also formerly led the engineering team at, where he was responsible for infrastructure and building scalable systems. He also spent several years at Loudcloud, which became Opsware and was later acquired by HP, as the Chief Operating Officer.



The 2009 Paul_Kedrosky_Smallkeynote speaker was Dr. Paul Kedrosky, an analyst for CNBC television; a columnist for TheStreet/RealMoney; and the editor of Infectious Greed, one of the best-known business blogs on the Internet.  Dr. Kedrosky has published more than 300 articles in publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and Harvard Business Review. He is a Senior Fellow at the Kauffman Foundation, where he focused on entrepreneurship, innovation, and the future of risk capital. Dr. Kedrosky obtained his undergraduate degree in engineering from Carleton University, his MBA from Queen’s University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Western Ontario.



Rich_Karlgaard_SmallKeynote speaker was Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes as well as the magazine’s “Digital Rules” columnist.  Karlgaard is also known as an entrepreneur, lecturer, Fox News Channel’s “Forbes on Fox” participant and author of The Wall Street Journal bestseller, Life 2.0 – How People Across America Are Transforming Their Lives by Finding the Where of Their Happiness, where he identifies Bend as a place that has a strong telecommuting community.  Before joining Forbes, Mr. Karlgaard cofounded the 5,000 member non-profit Churchill Club, Silicon Valley’s premier business and technology forum, for which he shared a Northern California Entrepreneur of the Year Award.  Mr. Karlgaard is a graduate of Standford University with a BA in political science.


guy_kawasaki2007’s keynote presenter was Guy Kawasaki, a managing director of Garage Technology Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm, and a columnist for Entrepreneur magazine.  Kawasaki is also ranked as one of the top 100 bloggers in the world.  Previously, he was an Apple Fellow at Apple Computer, Inc. where he was one of the individuals responsible for the success of the Macintosh computer.  Mr. Kawasaki’s eight books include The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way. He has a B.A. from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA, as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.



paul gulickThe 2006 keynote presenter was Paul Gulick, who served as Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Planar Systems, Inc., which he joined following the acquisition of Clarity Visual Systems where he was Chairman and CEO. This acquisition has created one of the largest display technology and digital signage providers.  Prior to founding Clarity, Mr. Gulick was a co-founder of InFocus, Inc., a leader in front screen projection systems for business and education applications.  More recently he was CEO and CTO for Motif, Inc., a joint venture between In Focus Systems and Motorola.  Mr. Gulick is an expert in the LCD technology and projection optics and holds 17 patents.  He received a BSEE in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.



2005 BVC keynote presenter Tim Boyle is the president and chief executive officer of Columbia Sportswear Company®, one of the largest outerwear brands in the world and the leading seller of skiwear in the United States as well as the parent company for Sorl (acquired in 2000) and Mountain Hardwear (acquired 2003). Named Columbia’s president and CEO in 1989, Tim oversees operations of the active outdoor apparel and footwear company from its Portland, Oregon headquarters.  Boyle is a graduate of the University of Oregon with a B.S. in Journalism.


wiltbank2004 was BVC’s inaugural year.  Keynote presenter was Dr. Robert Wiltbank, Associate Professor of Strategic Management for the Atkinson Graduate School of Management at Willamette University. His research focuses on angel investing performance and strategy making under uncertainty as it relates to new venture development.  Dr. Wiltbank is the coauthor of the book The Catalyst, detailing how managers in existing companies successfully drive organic revenue growth. He is also is a partner with Buerk Dale Victor LLC, a Seattle-based growth stage venture capital firm.  His experience prior to entering academics includes work in finance and sales for a major electronics manufacturer, strategic marketing for two start-up firms, and performing due diligence for dozens of private equity investments. He holds a Ph.D. in Strategic Management from the University of Washington, and a degree in Finance and Accounting from Oregon State University.


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