BEND, Ore. – How much can be packed into a three minute pitch? Quite a lot, if you’re a prepared entrepreneur with a unique business proposition looking for exposure and funding. Of course, it helps if you can talk fast!
The PubTalk event on September 27th will be held at McMenamins in downtown Bend, with networking starting at 5:00 pm and the program kicking off at 6:00 pm. The evening features rapid fire presentations followed by tight Q&A from attendees. The audience votes for the final 5 startups that will vie on October 19th at BVC for the $10k grant awarded by BendBroadband. Those interested in attending should register soon as a packed house is anticipated.
The PubTalk was preceded by an event called UpStart Day on September 7th, at which experts representing different functional areas such as marketing, finance, logistics, venture capital, and business development interviewed the total pool of Concept Stage applicants for the 2012 Bend Venture Conference (BVC). While the group of eight experts edited the contenders from 20 to 10, a key objective is to provide all companies with useful feedback.
“We always seek scalable businesses that can grow rapidly with the right resources,” said Jim Coonan, Venture Catalyst Manager at Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO). “At UpStart day, we see so many great ideas. Our team weighs a variety of factors, ranging from the entrepreneur’s coachability to how compelling the product or solution is to the competitive environment, to select those companies that go to the next level.”
The 10 concept contenders are a diverse set, evenly divided between those with tangible products and those in the software business. In alphabetical order, they are:
1. Agrowpedia brings IT to the first frontier for small farmers and backyard garden enthusiasts.
2. Coyle designs, manufactures and sells patented natural fiber, customized protective helmets that are made in Oregon.
3. Dog Powered Scooter combines two existing inventions: the dog and the wheel. This company creates and manufactures scooters that incorporate a dog harness.
4. E-Z Leave is a web-based SaaS solution to automate the complex federal, state and military leave environment. Using a TurboTax-like interface, the solution reduces legal liability.
5. Good Peeple is a business referral app for Facebook that empowers business owners to take control of their social media.
6. K.A.D. Innovations – The Kebbaber is the next evolution of grilling products for tailgaters, backyard BBQ lovers and an upgrade on the grilling lifestyle.
7. Nourish Clean produces non-toxic, biodegradable, organic cleaning products with therapeutic essential oils. These effective products eliminate odors and toxins from cleaning.
8. Play Habit – Hardcore gamers are migrating en-masse toward lower costs and more personal devices. Play Habit is creating top tier games for this new wave of players.
9. ziPede helps moms, dads and doctors take care of kids better by improving the office visit experience. Now parents can link with their doctor before and after a visit, accessing expert video content.
10. LegalUp allows an individual with legal needs to find a local attorney anonymously with win/loss records and additional resources. ( LegalUp is the winner of OSU-Cascades’s most recent Entrepreneurship class business competition.)
For the other BVC track, a group of investors in the BVC, LLC have been meeting weekly to narrow 50 submissions to a tighter number for more detailed scrutiny. Launch Stage companies are early stage companies that are typically further developed than Concept Stage companies and are either post revenue or close to sales launch.
In total submissions, this year’s Bend Venture Conference exceeds 2011 by nearly 50%. “Last year, we had 48 companies apply to present at BVC,” add Coonan. “This year, we’re looking at a total of 70 startups, with the growth coming in Launch Stage companies. Overall, the quality of the companies is very strong.”