Bend TechCrawl Draws Interest from Tech Industry Participants and Spotlights Local Software & Cyber-based Companies

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Five Talent Software CEO Preston Callicott talks with Kelly Scheuerman during Bend’s inaugural TechCrawl. Photo by Steve Kadel

The Central Oregon branch of the Technology Association of Oregon (TAO-Central Oregon) hosted the 1st annual Bend TechCrawl. The unique and fun evening was the first statewide technology networking event with simultaneously TechCrawls in Bend, Eugene and Portland.

Participants came to Bend’s inaugural TechCrawl for a variety of reasons.

Cate Allen wanted to learn more about local high tech firms after recently resigning from her tech job in San Francisco, where she’s commuted for the past year. Aaron Gifford works from Bend for a Corvallis tech company and wanted to meet some local people in the same industry. Meanwhile, David Koff wanted to know more about the tech world because he’s an investor in a friend’s start-up.

They gathered at BendTech on Southwest Emkay Drive after work on Thursday, September 8, to begin a self-guided tour of a dozen local companies holding open houses. Participants received a map and could visit as many or as few of the locations as they wanted. Most stops offered craft beer, soft drinks and plenty of hors d’oeuvres as well as information about the particular firm.

BendTech, which produces tube and pipe software for fabricators, was just the launch site for the evening with its kick-off party. Next door at Five Talent Software, CEO Preston Callicott explained that his company is a “build-to-suit software designer. Our clients are all over the map.”

Five Talent’s work space is open and airy. Colorful flags hang from the ceiling — including those of the Philippines, Colombia and the Cherokee Nation. A guitarist played background music as Callicott strolled the room talking with visitors.
Ryan Comingdeer, Five Talent’s chief technology officer, said the flags are part of the company’s philosophy of celebrating employees’ individuality. For example, Callicott has a background in Colombia, so he hoisted a flag from that country.

Kelly Scheuerman, the new Oregon State University-Cascades campus internship and employment coordinator, was among those investigating Five Talent. She found TechCrawl the perfect place to get some valuable contacts for her job.

“I’m new to that role so it’s great to see different potential partners and possibly some internship opportunities for our students,” Scheuerman said.

At Hueya Inc., founder Lewis Howell said the cyber safety company is “starting a privacy revolution.” Hueya uses a client’s information readily available from online sources such as Facebook to compute the level of risk, especially for children whose names, images, birth dates and other data are often placed on social media by proud parents. Howell said Hueya calculates a risk number similar to a person’s credit rating.

“We’re taking public information and showing it to you,” Howell said. “Kids are the No. 1 target. We’re a preventative company and we’ve been working on the prototype for a year.”

Kollective Technology’s website describes the firm as “a cloud-based software-defined networking company.” During the Crawl, Kollective’s Mark Bretl added “we help you optimize your bandwidth.” That, in turn, allows clients to do such things as broadcasting an interactive meeting to a larger audience than it could before. Bretl said a typical use might be a CEO delivering a quarterly meeting address to shareholders.

Elsewhere around Bend, Crawl participants learned about GL Solutions’ government licensing and regulatory software. The company was founded in 1997 by Bill Moseley and Eric Staley, and its products are designed to help agencies streamline the licensing and regulation processes. The company’s website describes its mission as “to help government agencies protect the public through strategy technology and process excellence.”

Safety is also the byword at FireWhat?, another stop on the Crawl trail. It’s a geographic information systems technology company with capability to quickly map emergency incidents and track responders in and out of the field.

“The HotPin Early Reporter delivers essential fire information as soon as a fire is reported,” according to the firm’s website. FireWhat? offers critical fire information four to 12 hours before any other public data feed, according to the company.

Cascade Divide offers another form of safety — peace of mind for cyber data. The company markets itself as a less expensive way to store in-house information, and has data centers both east and west of the Cascade Range. The facilities have seismic stability and ultra-effective cooling capabilities.

Cascade Divide can protect valuable data “at a fraction of the cost of creating and maintaining your own redundant facilities and network,” the company’s website states. “In-house data centers can be costly and difficult to build, maintain and occasionally upgrade.”

Another Crawl stop was at SteadyBudget on NW Hawthorne Street, a company that describes itself as “a team of developers, designers and analysts with the goal of making the life of the modern digital marketer better.” Among the clients are those in accounting departments who use SteadyBudget’s reporting options to reconcile the books at the end of a billing period.

The firm’s website notes, “The people at the top of the org chart (CEOs) use SteadyBudget’s data to make decisions for their team utilizing company reporting options with dashboards.”

Smart Solutions was another popular stop for Crawlers. It’s a website marketing business with the goal of putting clients’ companies in the online limelight through web design, web marketing and web development.

Smart Solutions has designed hundreds of custom websites and received customer feedback ranging from “wonderful experience” to “absolutely incredible to work with (you).” Another former client wrote to Smart Solutions, “I appreciate you looking ahead at where we need to go.”

Tech Soft 3D gave visitors a glimpse of their tools for the engineering software industry. Founded in 1996 in Berkeley, California, the company now has 80 employees in Bend, Berkeley and Cincinnati with other locations in Japan, France and the United Kingdom.

Co-founders Ron Fritz and Yanick Fluhmann moved Tech Soft 3D’s headquarters to Bend in 2005, motivated by the high quality of life in the Bend area. “Not only is the quality of life tremendous, but so is the talent pool as Bend evolves into a thriving hub for high tech,” Fritz said.

At CBT Nuggets, Crawl participants learned about online IT training and certification video programs that have been used by such clients as Amazon, Google, Adidas and Stanford University. According to the company website, using CBT’s network will prevent a customer’s bandwidth from being over-taxed. Government and military teams have used the IT training program produced by the company on Southwest Industrial Way.

Craft CMS, founded by CEO Brandon Kelly, is a content management system designed for professionals who want to build their HTML, CSS and JS by hand. Flexibility is built into the Craft model so it can be helpful for small or large companies. The Craft Pro allows a website’s content to be aimed at specific languages and territories.

Like many in Bend’s tech industry, Kelly is a transplanted Californian. He began his career with a software development agony in San Jose in 2011, making the transition to Bend as has been a pattern for many people in recent years.

Bend’s TechCrawl was sponsored by the Central Oregon branch of the Technology Association of Oregon. TAO Regional Coordinator Matt Sybrant said he reached out to many local tech firms for the first networking event and was “very pleased” with the turnout of 140 people.

“There definitely will be another TechCrawl next year,” Sybrant said.

Information:
G. Matt Sybrant

Economic Development of Central Oregon
Key Industry Coordinator
705 SW Bonnett Way, Ste. #1000
Bend, OR  97702
541-388-3236 x8 – Office
www.techoregon.org

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