Author Archives: EDCO

2019 BVC Semi-Finalists for Early Stage

EDCO ANNOUNCES THE BVC EARLY STAGE SEMI-FINALISTS
Ten companies to present at the largest PubTalk of the year September 26th;
Competing for a $3,000 cash award and a spot on BVC Stage

BEND, Ore. – September 17, 2019 – Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) announced the 10 semi-finalist companies advancing in the Early Stage competition for the 16th Annual Bend Venture Conference (BVC) on Thursday, October 17 – Friday, October 18, 2019. This group of companies is one step closer to presenting on the historic Tower Theatre stage in Downtown Bend, competing for an investment of $25,000 from Portland Seed Fund.

These Early Stage semi-finalists will pitch against each other at the September 26th PubTalk with five companies advancing to the Bend Venture Conference. In addition to advancing to the BVC, an audience vote will determine one Early Stage company to receive a $3,000 cash award, courtesy of Keiretsu Forum. Tickets for PubTalk are on sale now and available here.

In alphabetical order, the 10 BVC Early Stage semi-finalists that will compete at the September 26th PubTalk are:

  1. Analog Biometric Technologies (Portland, OR) – A firearm lockbox preventing children from accessing firearms using the length of fingers to unlock.
  2. eCode.me (Bend, OR) – A product recommendation platform that recommends products based on a unique sensory profile.
  3. FleetNurse Inc. (Eugene, OR) – An app-based on-demand staffing service for healthcare facility supervisors.
  4. Honistly (Portland, OR) – Creators of financial instruments that ease anxiety through alternatives to predatory lending and the comfort of predictable expenses via warranties.
  5. Lisi Global, Inc. (Richland, WA) – Environmentally safe, patented electronics technology that eradicates soil pests and pathogens.
  6. Referit Wellness, Inc. (Bend, OR) – An app that helps doctors grow their practices by incentivizing patients to share their favorite doctors.
  7. Shift (Bend, OR) – VR enhanced online training to help educators recognize and mitigate implicit bias in the classroom.
  8. Speak Technologies (Portland, OR) – A time-saving productivity tool using AI to follow-up on meetings by automatically capturing notes, key decisions and action items.
  9. Steamchain Corp (Salem, OR) – A blockchain company using smart contracts to reduce high currency conversion costs and fluctuation risk in shipping and logistics.
  10. TerrAmor (Corvallis, OR) – A low-cost, easy to deploy, organic-certified solution for soft fruit growers to address the spotted wing drosophila problem.

 

During PubTalk, an audience vote, along with a panel of experts, will determine the five companies that advance to BVC October 17-18. With the largest crowd of the year, the action will be live-streamed throughout McMenamins. Don’t wait to secure your seats – tickets are going fast and this event will sell out.

With the largest crowd of the year, the action will be live-streamed throughout McMenamins. Don’t wait to secure your seats – tickets are going fast and this event will sell out.

PubTalk Agenda
5:00 pm to 5:45 pm Networking, drinks & appetizers
5:45 pm to 8:00 pm Early Stage Company Pitches, Audience Vote, Winner Announcement

PubTalk Cost and Registration
$27 EDCO & OEN Members (Become a member here.)
$37 Non-Members
Cost includes appetizers and a free beverage (choice of beer, wine, or soda)

Ticket Sales
Tickets to the September 26th PubTalk are on sale now and available here.
Tickets to the 16th Annual Bend Venture Conference are on sale now and are available here.

BVC Title Sponsors


PubTalk Title Sponsors

About Bend Venture Conference (BVC)
Now in its 16th 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 38 companies as a result of the conference. This year, over 600 entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders are expected to attend the multi-day conference on October 17-18, in Bend, Oregon. 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

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2019 BVC Semi-Finalists for Growth Stage and Impact

EDCO ANNOUNCES THE SEMI-FINALISTS IN THE GROWTH STAGE AND IMPACT CATEGORIES; ONE STEP CLOSER TO PRESENTING AT THE 2019 BEND VENTURE CONFERENCE


BEND, OR – September 12, 2019 –
Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) announced the Semi-Finalists advancing in the Growth Stage and Impact Categories for the 16th Annual Bend Venture Conference (BVC) on Thursday, October 17 – Friday, October 18, 2019.

The below semi-finalists have to make it through one more cut before presenting on the historic Tower Theatre stage in Downtown Bend. Last year, companies in the Growth Stage Category won prizes ranging from $100,000 to $500,000, while the Impact Category winner walked away with $100,000. Semi-Finalists in the Early Stage competition will be announced early next week.

In alphabetical order, the 10 Growth Stage semi-finalists are:

  1. Belmont (Portland, OR.) – Providing break rooms with coffee, simplified draft beverages and fully-managed pantry service using proprietary technology.
  2. Broken Top Candle Company (Bend, OR) – Create hand-poured sustainable and conscious products using renewable and recyclable materials.
  3. Candid Wholesale (Portland, OR) – A suite of enterprise-grade tools for SME wholesalers, providing a SaaS platform where buyers can make orders and manage relationships.
  4. ClearOPS, Inc. (New York, NY) – Provides vendor response management for data privacy and security operations.
  5. New Leaf Precision Ag (Portland, OR) – A standardized, data-driven framework that helps growers grow more, waste less and maintain consistency.
  6. Observa (Seattle, WA) – An AI platform bringing ecommerce-style analytics to brick-and-mortar retail.
  7. Rupie (Bend, OR) – An AI-driven, community-focused talent-gig matching platform for building video games.
  8. SendSmart (Portland, OR) – Automates web lead follow up on multiple communication channels, connecting salespeople with leads once they’ve responded.
  9. ThingLogix (Belmont, CA) – Provides companies with the expertise and tools to design, build, deploy, and manage serverless and IoT Applications on the cloud.
  10. Walker Tracker (Portland, OR) – A SaaS platform that partners with companies and organizations to build wellness into their culture and make healthy behaviors fun and accessible.

In alphabetical order, the six Impact Stage semi-finalists are:

  1. Beta Hatch (Seattle, WA) – Farming for the future by industrializing insects.
  2. BrainChild Technologies (Bend, OR) – Accessible hearing tests for infants.
  3. Meli Wraps (Bend, OR) – Creators of reusable beeswax wraps for food storage.
  4. Riff Cold Brewed (Bend, OR) – Upcycling coffee byproduct into an all-natural energy drink.
  5. Sana Packaging (Denver, CO) – Designer and developer of cannabis packaging using sustainable materials.
  6. Sironix Renewables (Seattle, WA) – Maker of high-performance, eco-friendly ingredients for cleaning products.

Hosted by Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO), this year’s BVC will once again feature three competition categories: Growth Stage, Early Stage and Impact, bringing together over 600 entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders to Bend, Oregon.

Ticket Sales
Tickets to the 16th Annual Bend Venture Conference are on sale now and are available here.

About Bend Venture Conference (BVC)
Now in its 16th 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 38 companies as a result of the conference. This year, over 600 entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders are expected to attend the multi-day conference on October 17-18, in Bend, Oregon. 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

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2019 Companies Vying to Present on the BVC Stage

EDCO ANNOUNCES THE FIRST ROUND OF COMPANIES IN THE GROWTH, EARLY AND IMPACT CATEGORIES ADVANCING TO THE NEXT STAGE OF THE 2019 BEND VENTURE CONFERENCE

BEND, OR – September 6, 2019 – Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) announced the first round of companies to advance in the Growth, Impact and Early Stage Categories for the 16th Annual Bend Venture Conference (BVC) to be held Thursday, October 17 – Friday, October 18, 2019.

The below companies are one step closer to presenting on the historic Tower Theatre stage in Downtown Bend. Last year, companies in the Growth Stage category won prizes ranging from $100,000 to $500,000, while the Impact Category winner walked away with $100,000. The Early Stage winner could walk away with a $25,000 investment, courtesy of Portland Seed Fund.

In alphabetical order, the 20 Growth Stage companies competing to make it through to the next round of cuts are:

  1. Belmont (Portland, OR.)
  2. Broken Top Candle Company (Bend, OR)
  3. Cadee Distillery Inc (Seattle, WA)
  4. Candid Wholesale (Portland, OR)
  5. Célage Bioscience, Inc. (Los Angeles, CA)
  6. ClearOPS, Inc. (New York, NY)
  7. Curadite (Portland, OR)
  8. DataDx (Lake Oswego, OR)
  9. Joule Case (Seattle, WA)
  10. Litesprite (Bellevue, WA)
  11. Loopie (Seattle, WA)
  12. New Leaf Precision Ag (Portland, OR)
  13. Observa (Seattle, WA)
  14. Quantek Systems (Bend, OR)
  15. Rupie (Bend, OR)
  16. SendSmart (Portland, OR)
  17. ThingLogix (Belmont, CA)
  18. TrovaTrip (Portland, OR)
  19. Twofold (Portland, OR)
  20. Walker Tracker (Portland, OR)

 

In alphabetical order, the 14 Impact Stage companies competing to make it through to the next round of cuts are:

  1. Beta Hatch (Seattle, WA)
  2. BrainChild Technologies (Bend, OR)
  3. Chargeway (Portland, OR)
  4. De Las Mías (Portland, OR)
  5. DRIMS, Inc. (Missoula, MT)
  6. Goodwell Co. (Portland, OR)
  7. Hempress Hygienics (Corvallis, OR)
  8. MaskIT (Ashland, OR)
  9. Meli Wraps (Bend, OR)
  10. Riff Cold Brewed (Bend, OR)
  11. Sana Packaging (Denver, CO)
  12. Sironix Renewables (Seattle, WA)
  13. Terra Frma (Bend, OR)
  14. ThisFish (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

 

In alphabetical order, the 18 Early Stage companies competing to make it through to the next round of cuts are:

  1. Analog Biometric Technologies (Portland, OR)
  2. Automaton (Seattle, WA)
  3. Barcast (Portland, OR)
  4. eCode.me (Bend, OR)
  5. FleetNurse Inc. (Eugene, OR)
  6. Hair Hustlers (Portland, OR)
  7. Honistly (Portland, OR)
  8. Lisi Global, Inc. (Richland, WA)
  9. Planet Nine (Portland, OR)
  10. qChange (Vancouver, WA)
  11. Referit Wellness, Inc. (Bend, OR)
  12. Rente (Redding, CA)
  13. Shift (Bend, OR)
  14. Speak Technologies (Portland, OR)
  15. Steamchain Corp (Salem, OR)
  16. TerrAmor (Corvallis, OR)
  17. Wisedoc, Inc. (Corvallis, OR)
  18. XS Spaces (Portland, OR)

Hosted by Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO), this year’s BVC will once again feature three competition categories: Growth Stage, Early Stage and Impact, bringing together over 600 entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders to Bend, Oregon.

Ticket Sales
Tickets to the 16th Annual Bend Venture Conference are on sale now and are available here.

About Bend Venture Conference (BVC)
Now in its 16th 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 38 companies as a result of the conference. This year, over 600 entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders are expected to attend the multi-day conference on October 17-18, in Bend, Oregon. 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

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THE BEND VENTURE CONFERENCE RETURNS OCTOBER 17-18, 2019

THE BEND VENTURE CONFERENCE RETURNS OCTOBER 17-18

CONFERENCE TICKETS ON SALE NOW
COMPANY APPLICATIONS OPEN NOW THRU AUGUST 15TH

BEND, OR (July 18, 2019) – Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) will again host the annual two-day Bend Venture Conference (BVC) on Thursday, October 17 – Friday, October 18, 2019, at the iconic Tower Theatre in downtown Bend. Tickets to the 16th Annual BVC are available here.

Last year, 600 attendees, 50 prominent investors, and over 70 companies joined us for a celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation. Investments, awards, and prizes of approximately $2.35 million were given to multiple winners at the 2018 conference.

“In 2018, we received a record number of company applications as far south as Arizona and as far east as New York. All three competition categories are open to companies located anywhere in the U.S.,” said Brian Vierra, EDCO’s Venture Catalyst. “This year, we will continue that expansion, bringing more promising companies to Central Oregon to compete for the big checks.”

Companies in the Impact Competition have historically competed for investments ranging from $50,000-$100,000. This year’s Early Stage Competition has received a commitment from Portland Seed Fund to invest at least $25,000 into the winning company. Growth Stage Competition finalists could collect an investment of $250,000 or more. The 2019 BVC will feature impressive speakers from across the country representing angel investors, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, to be announced at a later date.

APPLY

This year’s conference will feature three competition categories: Growth Stage, Early Stage, and Impact. The application period is open now through Thursday, August 15th 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Jason Moyer, Fund Manager for the 2019 BVC, LLC said, “BVC has come a long way. We’re now syndicating with professional funds to invest meaningful sums in many of the region’s most promising ventures. Multiple exits and up-rounds suggest that our selection process is on the right track.”

BVC title sponsors, US Bank, Jones and Roth

About Bend Venture Conference (BVC)

Now in its 16th 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 38 companies as a result of the conference. This year, over 600 entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders are expected to attend the multi-day conference on October 17-18, in Bend, Oregon. https://bendvc.edcoinfo.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. www.edcoinfo.com

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Bend gets ready to again welcome waves of angels and entrepreneurs

As reported by Malia Spencer, Portland Business Journal – Jul 7, 2015

This year the Bend-based conference is slated for October 15-16.

The angel conference is hosted by economic development nonprofit EDCO (Economic Development of Central Oregon) and seeks early stage and growth stage startups.

In 2014, the event dolled out more than $1 million in investments and other awards and more than 400 people attended. Company’s were able to land investment from the conference as well as follow on investing from individuals and groups.

Events such as the Bend Venture Conference as well as groups such as Bend-based Seven Peaks Ventures and the Founders Pad accelerator are raising the profile of the city within not only the Oregon tech community but along the West Coast.

Last year, Amplion took home $250,000 and PoachedJobs received $100,000.

Awards are divided into Early Stage and Growth Stage categories. The early stage companies, which much be based in Central Oregon, compete for a roughly $15,000 cash prize sponsored by BendBroadband.

The growth stage companies compete for the money raised by the angel conference. At the conference, accredited investors pool their money and then decide on the winner. The final amount awarded isn’t known until all the money is gathered.

Organizers expect that this year’s pool will exceed the $350,000 raised last year. Growth Stage companies do not have to be based in Central Oregon to win.

Applications close Aug. 14.

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$15,000 Early Stage Award up for grabs!

BendBroadband Business steps up their game by 50% on the 2015 BVC Early stage award from to $15,000 from last year’s $10,000.

BendBroadband Business is proud to sponsor the Early Stage Award at the Bend Venture Conference (BVC) again this year. The BVC, hosted by EDCO, is the largest Angel Conference in the Pacific Northwest. Last year, Volcano Veggies scooped the $10,000 award, and this year there’s $15,000 up for grabs.

The search is now on for this year’s winner. Applications are invited from early stage Central Oregon businesses, and typically come from companies that:

  • 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

If this sounds like you, or you know a business at this stage whose growth could be accelerated with a $15,000 cash prize, information on how to apply can be found here.

The process works like this: Applications can be filed online beginning July 6. Upstart day is the next stage, with fast-paced reviews of the contenders. Following that, the strongest entries go through to present at PubTalk on September 24. The finalists then have three minutes each to pitch to the BVC audience on October 16, when the 2015 winner will be chosen, and pictured with their $15,000 check.

More information on attending, presenting and sponsoring the Bend Venture Conference can be found here.

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KIDRUNNER ANNOUNCES FIRST RETAIL AMBASSADOR

Bend, OR – April 8, 2015 – kidRunner, the world’s first, high performance, all-terrain kid jogger, bike and Nordic ski product, announces its first Retail Ambassador – FootZone Bend. Through the partnership, kidRunner will collaborate with FootZone to expand awareness of kidRunner and explore new retail/distribution models like demos and pre-orders, while finding shared ways to grow each business.
“As a local, community-oriented specialty running retailer, we think FootZone is the perfect demographic and cultural fit for kidRunner early adopters,” said Will Warne, kidRunner partner. “We hope to develop a shared business opportunity that will enable us to experiment with innovative retail concepts and shared marketing. As local runners, we are already big fans of FootZone. We appreciate their creative, open minded approach to partnership and we’re excited to get started!”
kidRunner will market launch in 2015 following a Spring ‘15 crowdfunding campaign in collaboration with kidRunner’s ambassador team, a mix of elite runners, adventures, every day parent runners, and retailers, like FootZone.
“FootZone is excited to help kidRunner bring a beautiful new piece of gear to the running market,” said Teague Hatfield, owner of FootZone Bend. “New parents are anxious for products to help them stay active and kidRunner is an innovative solution that is going to turn a lot of heads.”

About FootZone Bend
FootZone is Central Oregon’s only full service, locally owned, independent running and walking store in downtown Bend. Since 1995, FootZone has been the hub of the local running community, hosting clinics, training groups, weekly runs, and a number of charitable events each year, in addition to sponsoring local races. To learn more about FootZone, visit www.footzonebend.com.

About kidRunner
Founded in Bend, OR, kidRunner is the world’s first high performance, all-terrain, lightweight, pull-style kid jogger. It is designed to enable runners with kids to run and explore, while retaining the efficiency and form of natural running. It is 50% lighter than traditional joggers. The company has plans to follow their running solution with Nordic ski and bike options. The composite frame and innovative, flexible “bow” that connects to the runner decouples the up and down motion, providing a smooth, safe, high performance ride for both runner and kid. kidRunner will be available for pre-order beginning summer 2015. For more information, visit www.kidrunners.com or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Media Contacts
Michelle Poirot / PR for FootZone Bend
michelle@footzonebend.com / (503) 481-0595

Natalie Dent / PR for kidRunner
natalie.dent@gmail.com / (206) 605-1802

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Jama Software lands $20M

As reported by Malia Spencer, Portland Business Journal
Fast-growing Jama Software is adding fuel to its fire with a $20 million series C funding round aimed at building out more product capabilities.
As part of this round, the company is also bringing on a new investor in Updata Partners. The Washington, D.C.-based private equity firm is no stranger to Portland: it invested in Viewpoint Construction Software and recently purchased Ruby Receptionists.
Also included in the round were existing investors Trinity Ventures, Madrona Ventures and members of Oregon Angel Fund.
The round puts Jama’s total funding at $33 million.
CEO Eric Winquist said the round will help the company add capabilities to its collaboration software, especially for customers that are in highly regulated areas such as medical devices, financial services and consumer electronics.
“This allows us to double down on the success we have been having,” he said.
Jama’s product helps customers through their own product design process. The software allows the right people to collaborate at the right time in the development cycle.
Initially, the company worked with clients who build highly complex products in markets such as medical and aerospace.
However, as the Internet of things and wearables have taken off, complexity has come to more markets.
“When we started eight years ago IoT was just starting,” Winquist said, noting that the iPhone had just hit the market and devices like Fitbit were brand new. “Our sweet spot was hardware and software systems and that has taken off in the last 18 months. We have seen the market shift and all companies are becoming systems engineering companies.”
This year the company moved into a new office at 135 S.W. Taylor St. that allows all 140 employees to work under one roof (click through the photos to get a glimpse inside the space).
Winquist expects Jama will add another 50 employees this year.
As part of the funding round, Jon Seeber from Updata and Tim Porter from Madrona will join Jama’s board of directors.

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KIDRUNNER ANNOUNCES 2015 AMBASSADOR TEAM

Bend, OR – March 3, 2015 – kidRunner, the world’s first high performance, all-terrain, lightweight, kid jogger, announces its 2015 Ambassador Team. The Ambassador Team, which consists of a mix of elite runners, adventure athletes, every day running parents, retail partners, and event sponsors, is led by long-time kidRunner Ambassador and World Champion runner, Max King. Other members include Ryan and Natalie Bak, Stephanie and Ben Bruce, Amy Golumbia, Scott and Lauren Jones, Noel Paine, Gray Skinner, John Tribbia, and Jake Woolley.
“We identified and assembled a team of elite and every day parent runners, adventurers and entrepreneurs who shared our goal to reinvent running, biking, skiing and exploring with kids,” said Will Warne, kidRunner partner, based in Bend, OR. “We wanted athletes motivated to reinvent running and exploring with kids because today’s kid joggers are heavy, awkward and injury prone. We looked for a team who runs on roads, trails, beaches, and tracks and who can share their experiences with the world. And, we’ve found them!”
Following a Spring 2015 crowdfunding campaign, each ambassador will be given their own state of the art kidRunner to run, explore and for some, to train for the 2016 Olympic Trials in their sports. kidRunner will be taking pre-orders in the summer for their 2015 go-to-market launch.
About the 2015 Ambassador Team:
• Max King (Bend, OR):
o 2014 World 100k Champion (American Record 6:27); 2012 World Mountain Running Champion; 2008 and 2012 Olympic Trials Qualifier; 4 X US XC Team Member; 4 X World Xterra Trail Run Champion; 8 X USATF National Champion; winner of BigFoot 10k with daughter in kidRunner
• Ryan and Natalie Bak (Bend, OR):
o NCAA National Champions and runners up; Academic All Americans; Olympic Trialists; winner of 2013 PHX marathon and more
• Stephanie and Ben Bruce (Flagstaff, AZ):
o Elite marathon and half marathon and Steeplechase champs with several top 10 national finishes; Olympic Trialists; USA Track/Field Championships; owners “Running with the Bruces” coaching business
• Amy Golumbia (Calgary, CAN):
o Canadian mountain running champion; raced World Mountain Running Championships in Turkey and Italy; owner of 5 Peaks Trail Running
• Scott and Lauren Jones (Denver, CO):
o Owners/Entrepreneurs and Runners; Athlete on Fire and Running with Kids
• Noel Paine (Quebec, CAN):
o ’11 Boston Marathon; 100K Trail Ultra races in Italy and Ireland; Solo rim2rim2rim of Grand Canyon; blogger and writer for Canadian Running magazine
• Gray Skinner (Austin, TX):
o Runner and Triathlete; ’14 Iron Man World Championship qualifier; 1st Place New Orleans 70.3 (Amateur); USA Cycling Certified Coach
• John Tribbia (Salt Lake City, UT):
o Vertical Kilometer Series Champion; fastest runner up Mt. Olympus; developed “Strollerval” training regime with a kid jogger
• Jake Wooley (Ashland, OR):
o Marathoner, cyclist and marketing/product specialist in sports performance textiles and applications
“I’ve been involved with running and testing each kidRunner prototype because I believe the future of running with kids is about performance, freedom and design rather than pushing something that is awkward, heavy and prone to injury,” said Max King, elite runner and kidRunner Ambassador. “kidRunner solves all of that. They are also committed to regional economic development and I wanted to be a part of that, too.”

About kidRunner
Founded in Bend, Oregon, kidRunner is the world’s first high performance, all-terrain, lightweight, pull-style kid jogger. It is designed to enable runners with kids to run and explore, while retaining the efficiency and form of natural running. It is 50% lighter than traditional joggers. The company has plans to follow their running solution with Nordic ski and bike options. The composite frame and innovative, flexible “bow” that connects to the runner decouples the up and down motion, providing a smooth, safe, high performance ride for both runner and kid. kidRunner will be available for pre-order beginning summer 2015. For more information, visit www.kidrunners.com or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Media Contact
Natalie Dent
PR for kidRunner
natalie.dent@gmail.com
(206) 605-1802

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Help Wanted

ONE DAY A FEW years ago, entrepreneur Kirk Thornby and restaurateur Peter Bro — owner of Portland venues Café Broder, Broder Nord and Savoy Tavern — got together to talk about how hard it was to nd good employees on Craigslist and other generic job sites. e problem?Email accounts flooded with unqualified applicants. “People would post an ad for $25, and you never knew what you were going to get,” Thornby says. “We thought there was room for something new.” at something is Poached Jobs, an employment website focused on the food-service industry. For a fee, restaurants and hotels post ads; in return they get access to a “back office,” in which hiring managers can flip through résumés “like they would through photographs in iPhoto,” says ornby. Managers can also sort and rank applicants and add notes to profiles for future reference. “It gives them a hiring platform, which is valuable because 85% of our clients are small-or medium-size businesses that don’t have anyone dedicated to HR,” says Thornby. Launching in a foodie town like Portland helped jump start business. e challenge now is becoming a recognizable brand in major metropolitan areas outside of the Northwest. Not that Poached Jobs hasn’t thrived; since launching in 2012, the company has expanded to 11 cities — including Austin, Seattle and New York.

Still, growth hasn’t come easy. “We bootstrapped this thing, so growing and scaling on a limited budget has been the hardest thing we’ve had to do so far,” Thornby says. “Trying to spread your message as far as you can — you have to get pretty crafty how you spend your marketing dollars.”

Money trail

Poached Jobs was one of the winners at the 2014 Bend Venture Conference and in 2015 received an additional $42,000 from the Cascade Angels Fund. The startup also secured $50,000 from the Portland Seed Fund. “[Raising money is] the hardest thing I’ve done in my career, and I’ve owned businesses since I was 22,” says Thornby, now 53.

Insider’s game
Bro’s experience as a restaurateur gives Poached a competitive advantage. “That’s one of our secret sauces,” Thornby says. “We know exactly how the industry works. [The industry is] held together by duct tape. We know what processes are like, where the weak points are and what they need.”

Poached Jobs streamlines the hiring process for business owners. Other companies aim to improve the selection process for consumers looking for professional services.

“They’re everywhere — these marketplaces that are popping up to make our lives easier,” says Matt Ehrlichman, CEO of Porch, a Seattle-based online indexing site that helps people choose, schedule and review home-improvement contractors. “The cool thing is there’s so much pain around working on your home,” Ehrlichman says. “But now you can push a button and get anything in your home done by a professional. The trend for most industries is going to be working to make its processes as easy and simple as possible.” New York-based ZocDoc takes a similar approach to booking healthcare professionals. The website allows consumers to shop for doctors and access their schedule in real time. Patients can leave reviews of doctors and fill out paperwork ordinarily completed in the waiting room. Closer to home, Financial Friend— a Portland-based startup that launched last month — connects potential clients with financial professionals. Hoping to recreate ZocDoc’s model, Financial Friend verifies the credentials of CPAs, retirement planners, insurance brokers and lenders, and customers can schedule appointments directly. “We noticed other industries moving toward a consolidated online directory with appointment booking, and we realized that there isn’t one for financial services,” CEO Brandon Rigoni says. “We want to make things convenient for consumers while we sell to businesses the transparency and trust building they can exhibit through the customer-review process.”

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