Tag Archives: Bend Venture Conference 2020

2020 Bend Venture Conference: Down to the Wire

BVC Speaker Aidan Reilly Farmlink

2020 Bend Venture Conference Speaker: Aidan Reilly

Co-Founder of The Farmlink Project

Down to the Wire: Saving and Redistributing Food Waste During a Pandemic & Beyond

The Farmlink Project is a not-for-profit grassroots movement that connects farms with food banks to feed thousands in need while supporting essential jobs. Co-founder Aidan Reilly is a rising senior at Brown University studying Political Science with a concentration in comparative politics. Born in Los Angeles, Aidan’s primary interests have largely centered around documentary filmmaking. As reflected in his past work covering the 2018 Nicaraguan Civil Crisis and the ongoing Syrian Refugee Crisis, Aidan has a passion for finding ways the everyday person can resonate with seemingly vast and unsolvable problems. This interest manifested at the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic with his co-creation of The FarmLink Project, an initiative aiming to motivate everyday Americans to fight both food waste and food insecurity in the United States.

Since its beginnings in April of 2020, Farmlink has grown from a small network of college students to a nationwide movement to fix the broken food system in the United States. In the last 6 months, the project has utilized the help of 200 full-time volunteers (average age of 21) to save 13 million pounds of produce from going to waste, and instead get it to communities in need across 40 states. In addition, the project has been able to pay nearly $1 million in wages to farmworkers. The ultimate goal of Farmlink is to democratize access to fresh produce to underserved communities for years to come.

Bend Venture conference moderator Megan Bolt

2020 Bend Venture Conference Moderator: Megan Bolt

Founder of Raddr

Local entrepreneur and OSU-Cascades student, Megan Bolt is currently a Business Administration student at OSU-Cascades where she works as both the Student Outreach Coordinator for the Career Development Center and as a Student Consultant for the Innovation Co-Lab. When not studying, she is rock climbing, fishing, hiking, or working towards developing her own business, Raddr – a company that blends the passion for fishing with the desire for quality, fitting, and fun gear that aims to fit the needs of fishing women everywhere.



2020 Bend Venture Conference: The Board Game

Betsey Nelson Headshot

2020 Bend Venture Conference Speaker: Betsey Nelson

CFO & Investor

The Board Game: Assembling the Pieces to Complete The Best Team

Betsey is an experienced public company CFO, board member and investor with a passion for helping entrepreneurs scale their operations and build great companies. She currently serves on the boards of three public companies – Berkeley Lights, Nokia and Upwork – as well as several private companies.  She has experience on the boards of leading SaaS companies like Autodesk, SuccessFactors and Zendesk, as well as digital media pioneers Pandora Media, Ancestry and CNET. Betsey spent ten years as CFO of Macromedia where she was responsible for leading the finance, IT and ops teams. She earned her MBA in Finance from the Wharton School and her BS Magna Cum Laude from Georgetown University.

The Dyrt

2020 Bend Venture Conference Moderators: Sarah Smith & Kevin Long

Co-Founders of The Dyrt

Sarah Smith is the Co-Founder of The Dyrt and an active member of the Oregon startup community. She developed her love of camping while growing up in northern Minnesota. Before founding The Dyrt, Sarah had a long career in international higher education, living, working (and sometimes camping!) in Japan, England and India. She has a masters degree in Intercultural Management from the School for International Training in Vermont.

Kevin Long is the Co-founder of The Dyrt and a two-time exited entrepreneur as co-founder of Justmeans, a sustainable news distribution platform, and as VP of Marketing at CrowdCompass, an event management mobile app software company. Prior to that, Kevin was the Founder of Global Deaf Education (GDC) which created self-sustaining Deaf Education systems in developing countries. Kevin’s work with GDC won him the Ashoka Fellowship and Reinhard Mohn Bertelsmann Fellowship.

The Dyrt is the largest online camping community and top-ranked camping app with over 1 million campground reviews, photos and tips, helping campers make the most of their camping experiences.



2020 Bend Venture Conference: Playing to Win

Vernon Davis Logo

2020 Bend Venture Conference Speaker: Vernon Davis

Super Bowl Champion, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and actor

Playing to Win: Betting on an Investment

Vernon Davis is a former American football tight end. The 15-year NFL veteran was selected by the San Francisco 49ers sixth overall in the 2006 NFL Draft and played his first 10 seasons with the 49ers. He landed with the Denver Broncos in 2015 during their Super Bowl 50 run. He joined his hometown team, the Washington Redskins, in 2016 and spent four seasons there before retiring after the 2019-2020 season. Off the field, Vernon is a budding entrepreneur, dedicated philanthropist and actor.

Vernon owns multiple Jamba Juice franchises in Northern California and is committed to opening six more stores in the Washington, D.C. metro area with Mohamed Sanu of the New England Patriots. He also has his very own supplement company, Timeless; is the co-owner of Q-Collar Innovations, a developer of innovative products intended to reduce traumatic brain injury; and the co-owner and marketing advisor for Pescavor Jerky, a sustainable seafood jerky company. In addition, he is partnered in PathWater, a new concept in bottled water that was created as a solution to help end single-use plastic pollution, as well as RASA, an Indian fast-casual restaurant in Washington, D.C.  Vernon is also a Limited Partner of Next Play Capital, a venture capital investment platform structured to provide specialized investors access to top venture capital funds and companies.

Navigating the business world is only a portion of his off-the-field endeavors. He also founded the Vernon Davis Foundation, which services at-risk youth of all interests and demographics, and is an aspiring actor who has shared the big screen with the likes of Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron, among others. He has also founded two production companies, Reel 85 and Between the Lines Productions.

Paul Evers2020 Bend Venture Conference Moderator: Paul Evers

Co-Founder & CEO Riff Cold Brewed

A celebrated veteran in brand strategy, design and advertising, Paul Evers led the teams behind the creative development of craft beverage brands such as Humm Kombucha, 21st Amendment, Deschutes Brewery, Odell Brewing, and Crux Fermentation Project – which he co-founded, and served as President and CMO. In 2017, Paul co-founded Riff Cold Brewed along with veterans from Stumptown and LinkedIn. Paul is also a long-time active community member, having played a significant role in launching both the Bend Volunteer Corps and TEDxBend.



2020 Bend Venture Conference Applications Now Open

2019 BVC Winners holding checks outside the Tower Theatre


BEND, OR (July 14, 2020) – Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) will again host the annual Bend Venture Conference (BVC) on Thursday, October 15 – Friday, October 16, 2020, in downtown Bend and virtually online. Ticketing, speaker announcements and event details for the 17th Annual Bend Venture Conference will be announced in the coming months.

Over the past six years, investments, awards and prizes upwards of $11 million were awarded to 38 companies as a result of the conference. BVC is a yearly celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation, connecting investors, companies and business leaders.

“It’s important now more than ever to get funding into the hands of small businesses,” said Brian Vierra, EDCO’s Venture Catalyst. “The Bend Venture Conference continues to bring together inspiring companies and multiple prestigious funds. While this year’s conference may look a little different than in year’s past, the reason we continue to push forward has not changed. BVC has helped create over 1,100 jobs since its inception and companies that have won funding at BVC have received nearly $700 million additional dollars in follow-on investments.”

Growth Stage Competition finalists could collect an investment of $250,000 or more. Companies in the Impact Competition have historically competed for investments ranging from $50,000-$100,000. Companies in the Early Stage competition could receive and investment of $25,000 or more. 2020 BVC will feature impressive speakers from across the country representing angel investors, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs.


This year’s conference will feature three competition categories: Growth Stage, Impact and Early Stage. The application period is open now through Thursday, August 13th and companies across the United States are invited to apply.

  • Growth Stage Competition: This category is open to companies that have a proven concept, have generated initial revenues and are prepared to scale quickly with investment. To apply, click here.
  • Impact Competition: This category is open to for-profit companies, whose business models are integrated with a mission to have a significant and measurable social or environmental impact. Applicants should be aiming to generate long-term enterprise value and attractive returns on capital. To apply, click here.
  • Early Stage Competition: This category is open to companies that have a great idea and are close to “proof of concept.” They are pre-revenue (or very early-revenue) and are in the process of testing their product in the market. To apply, click here.

We continue to monitor COVID-19 guidelines and precautions and will announce more details on both the in-person and digital options available to both attendees and presenters.

About Bend Venture Conference (BVC)
Now in its 17th year, BVC, hosted by EDCO, is one of the largest angel conferences in the country. Over the past six years, more than $11 million has been invested in 38 companies as a result of the conference. This year’s conference will take place both in person in Bend, Oregon, and virtually online on October 15-16, 2020, gathering entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders. bendvc.com

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. edcoinfo.com