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Winners of 17th annual Bend Venture Conference announced

Bend Venture Conference 2020

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) Economic Development for Central Oregon hosted the 17th annual Bend Venture Conference from downtown Bend. Last week, 14 companies presented both in-person and virtually to a hybrid audience, and six companies were awarded with a total of $503,000 in investments and cash.

This August, 85 companies from across the U.S. applied to the conference looking for investment and exposure. These companies represent some of the best in innovation across multiple industries.

This year’s award breakdown is as follows:

Growth Stage Competition

The Growth Stage Competition, which included companies that have a proven concept and initial revenues, had two winners.

  • Winners of BVC, LLC, Investment Awards*:
  • PypeServer (Seattle, WA) – Software that automates the cutting of industrial steel pipe for construction and industrial uses, was awarded $220,000.
  • PetHub (Wenatchee, WA) – A central hub to manage your pet’s life, helping owners share data safely while also finding trusted services and information, was awarded $100,000.

*The investment arm of the conference, BVC, LLC, awarded the Growth Stage investments following considerable due diligence of each of the five presenting finalists. Investments and follow-on deals are still being finalized.

Impact Competition

The Impact Competition, which included for-profit companies with an integrated social or environmental mission, had one winner, awarded by the BVC Impact LLC.

  • Winner of the BVC Impact LLC, Investment Award*:
  • Biomotum (Portland, OR) – Creators of a robotic ankle-assist device that offers a cost effective, lightweight, portable, and efficient way to improve mobility in those with movement disorders, was awarded $80,000.

*The impact investment arm of the conference awarded an investment following considerable due diligence of each of the four presenting finalists. This investment included $25,000 from the Oregon Growth Board. Investments are still being finalized.

Early Stage Competition

The Early Stage Competition included companies that are pre-revenue (or very early) and are in the process of testing their product in the market. The three winning Early Stage companies are:

  • Winners of the Portland Seed Fund Early Stage Competition: 
    • Cozera (Portland, OR) - Creating verified digital identities for remote & in-person identity verification, was awarded $50,000.
    • MustDeliver (Portland, OR) - A digital marketplace delivering industry-leading clarity, control & communication between shippers and drivers in the trucking business, was awarded $50,000.
  • Winner of the Portland Seed Fund and Elevate Capital Audience Award (awarded at EDCO’s September PubTalk):
    • Masa (Portland, OR) - The first online farmers market, bringing farmers markets to people via an online marketplace, won a $3,000 cash award.

EDCO’s Venture Catalyst, Brian Vierra, said “The BVC LLCs raised more money from individual investors this year than ever before. The Central Oregon investor community continues to grow, showing strong support for our entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

About Bend Venture Conference (BVC)
The Bend Venture Conference is an annual celebration of entrepreneurship, innovation and connections. Now in its 17th year, BVC, 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.

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.

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