A dozen concept stage companies pitched to a turn-away crowd at PubTalk at the Bend McMenamins last week. Each company battled for the opportunity to be chosen as one of five finalists to present at the October 18 Bend Venture Conference (BVC), the largest angel investment conference in the state.
PubTalks and the BVC are managed and produced by Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) and the $10,000 Concept Stage award is generously provided by BendBroadband.
“Central Oregon’s enthusiasm for this event is incredible,” said Jim Coonan, EDCO Venture Catalyst Manager and lead organizer for the Bend Venture Conference. “We sold out a week ago and waitlisted 40 individuals.”
“Last month, the Kaufman Foundation’s review of entrepreneurial hotspots ranked Bend as number 16 in the nation in terms of entrepreneurial density. Essentially that means our area punches above its weight and PubTalk is a great demonstration of that,” Coonan added.
Asked about this year’s pool of entrepreneurs, Coonan noted that 28 Concept Stage companies applied – a record for BVC – and that the group was “the best group we’ve seen yet in terms of quality.”
Following each entrepreneur’s rapid-fire, three minute pitch and a tight Q&A session, the packed audience voted by ballot. The following five entrepreneurs below were selected to compete in BVC’s BendBroadband Concept Award for a $10,000 cash award which will be decided by the audience at the October 18 event. In alphabetical order, the five Concept stage finalists selected are:
Axis Mundi (Piper Lucas) seeks to manufacture collapsible, durable, expandable, insulated, safe structures to meet the growing need for temporary housing.
IDEAL Equine Gear (Kelly Barnett) develops equine gear to save the legs and lives of equine athletes.
Ochoco Arms (Sam Lambert) patented multi laser sighting system increases target acquisition abilities and turns a shotgun into a precision instrument.
OnBoard Dynamics (Rita Hansen, Jeff Witwer, Dr. Chris Hagen) technology permits a vehicle owner to refuel at a home or business with natural gas costing less than $2.00 per gallon.
TurboPup (Kristina Guerrero) allows dog owners to travel light with complete meal bars for active dogs.
BVC is the largest angel conference in the state and is known for its friendly, accessible atmosphere in a scenic setting. On October 18, the Bend Venture Conference will feature concept stage and launch stage finalists pitching their business ideas to a packed audience at the Tower Theatre in Bend.
To attend the conference, www.bendvc.com.