Tag Archives: entrepreneur

2021 BVC Company Applications Now Open

2021 Bend Venture Conference


BEND, OR (July 8, 2021) – Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) will again host the annual Bend Venture Conference (BVC) on Thursday, October 21 – Friday, October 22, 2021, in downtown Bend and virtually online. Ticketing, speaker announcements and event details for the 18th Annual Bend Venture Conference will be announced in the coming months.

Over the past five years, investments, awards and prizes surpassing $10 million were awarded to 40 companies as a result of the conference. BVC is a yearly celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation, connecting investors, companies and business leaders.


This year’s conference will feature three competition categories: Growth Stage, Impact and Early Stage. The application period is open now through Friday, 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.

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. This year’s  BVC will feature impressive speakers from across the country representing angel investors, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs.

About Bend Venture Conference (BVC)

Now in its 18th year, BVC, hosted by EDCO, is one of the largest angel conferences in the country. Over the past five years, more than $10 million has been invested in 40 companies as a result of the conference. This year’s conference will take place on October 21-22, 2021, 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


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.



2019 Bend Venture Conference: Raising Killer Dough

Conference Speaker Dave Dahl

2019 Bend Venture Conference Speaker: Dave Dahl

Creator & Co-Founder of Dave’s Killer Bread

Raising Killer Dough: How Dave Dahl Helped Build Dave’s Killer Bread


Dave Dahl is best known as the creator and co-founder of Dave’s Killer Bread. An inspirational figure, Dave once led a troubled past, having served over 15 years in prison 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. Today, millions of people enjoy the #1 organic bread in America that bears his iconic cartoon-figure, guitar-strumming likeness.

Dave currently hosts the podcast “Felony Inc.” where he has candid conversations with formerly incarcerated entrepreneurs.

Dave’s overarching goal is to inspire and enable better people, businesses and communities—in his words, “to help anyone who is willing to do the work to enjoy the journey like I have…to create their own success story.”

2019 Bend Venture Conference: Robert Ricciardelli

Robert has had a successful career, with more than 30 years of executive sales and management experience in Fortune 200 companies. He has served as a coach, consultant and trusted advisor.

Currently, he is the Regional Consultant for TriNet, providing HR support and Technology for small and medium businesses. Additionally, he is also the founder of Converging Zone which inspires inclusivity and collaboration while being a catalyst for businesses and nonprofits to grow their communities. Previously, he was a talk show host and VP of sales for former Bend startup Choose Growth.

Robert is a networker and an experienced philanthropic adventurer. He resides in Seattle WA, with his wife Joyce.



2017 Bend Venture Conference: Keynote Speakers

2017 Bend Venture Conference Speaker: Brad Feld

 Co-Founder of  Foundry Group 

2017 Keynote Speaker

Brad 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.

2017 Bend Venture Conference Speaker: Aviel Ginzburg

Managing Director of Amazon Alexa Accelerator

2017 Keynote Speaker

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 BVC keynote Tony

2017 Bend Venture Conference Speaker: Tony Arnerich

 Founder of Arnerich Massena

2017 Impact Keynote Speaker

Tony 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.



2014 Bend Venture Conference: Keynote Speaker

Steve Sliwa Keynote speaker

2014 Bend Venture Conference Speaker: Dr. Steve Sliwa

 Founder of Seeq Corporation

2014 Keynote Speaker

Dr. Steve Sliwa is CEO and a Founder 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.