The 1001 Tech Center in Bend, Oregon Foreshadows Bend Economic Development


(Photo above courtesy of BendTECH)

Over the past year a 27,000 square foot building on the west side of Bend has transformed into a vibrant tech hub where the Central Oregon entrepreneur community can work, collaborate and turn their ideas into reality.

The grand opening is May 14. It is the new home of Seven Peaks Ventures, Bend Tech (bend’s co-working space), Five Talent (custom software, mobile and web app development), Pneuma33 Design (creative design agency), Kollective (Bend’s newest tech company relocating from Silicon Valley), Stackhouse Cafe (Bend’s newest cafe) and LVL TEN (the event and meeting space that is part of The 1001 Tech Center).

Growing up the son of a single mother, I tended to go to work a lot. My mother worked as the Director of Brand Strategy at an advertising firm and in the summers when there was no school, or after school if my mother was going to be home late, I often found I went with her.

Although there were offices along the walls the floor plan was always open. There were desks there, drafting tables and monitors, and people flowed from station to station as the days went by.

I would sit at a vacant drafting table and observe them, artists and copywriters and directors, as they moved. Implicitly they seemed to form an unconscious system, peering over a shoulder here and pointing out a kerning issue there. It was like watching a massive flock of starlings swirl and swing, seeming to move in every direction yet remaining a cohesive unit.

And it worked. Like 10,000 starlings moving as one the firm found success on one project after another.

For a long time this sort of collaborative hierarchy existed primarily within the structures of single businesses. However, the last two decades have seen a growing number of so called “collaborative community workplaces.”

“Collaborative community workplace” is a vague term for a nebulous concept. As simply as I can put it: it’s a workplace in which cohabitate with larger companies or independent workers. In shared or semi-shared environment, these collections of entities are meant to feed off of mutual entrepreneurial spirit and share resources and ideas. And if that is still too abstract a description, let me bring a case study: Bend is getting one.

Located on Emkay Drive above The Old Mill and near Deschutes Brewery, The 1001 Tech Center is having its official open house on the 14th. The event will serve both as an opening party for the building and a celebration of the growing Bend entrepreneurial community which the building and its “tech space” hope to catalyze.

The building is home to several businesses of varying size, all of which are directly tied to the Bend technology or entrepreneurial communities. It is also home to an open workspace housing over forty independent entrepreneurs and tech folks. It is the hope of those who drive this project that the building will become a vibrant tech hub.

The building’s largest strictly entrepreneurial tenant is Seven Peaks Ventures, described by the founder Dino Vendetti as “quickly becoming the premier early stage venture capital firm in Oregon.” The firm is Bend based but operates along the west coast, focusing on bridging the gap between Bend and Silicon Valley. Bend, according to Vendetti, who is also a principal owner of the Tech Center, is set to become the Pacific Northwest’s newest tech hotspot. Tech start-ups are starting up in town at a surprising rate and established Silicon Valley businesses are moving here as well, attracted by the lifestyle and easy air commute. Bend isn’t going to be the next Silicon Valley but it is already becoming a powerful regional player. It’s this transition Seven Peaks is facilitating and of which The 1001 Tech Center is on edge.

Another tenant is Five Talent, a design company which deals broadly in web and app design, software development, digital marketing and even hardware integration. They specialize in efficient and transparent work, emphasizing empathy and communication. They also operate on a highly code-first basis with impressive technical expertise.

Five talent is not the only design firm in the Tech Center, however. Pneuma 33, headed by husband and wife team Anna and James Kramer, does more artistic and brand based marketing and also shares the collaborative space. A creative agency, Pneuma 33 has an abundance of specialties and a unique four step system to work with brand identity at any stage. The firm also engages in market analysis and demographic targeting.

Beyond design, the Tech Center is also home to Kollective Technology, a Silicon Valley transplant. Their work is perhaps the hardest to grasp for those uninitiated with the tech industry. Kollective provides cloud based enterprise network solutions, which essentially means that they streamline and innovate workplace networks. Workplace networks are essential to a vast number of businesses and industries, and in solving the many problems related to speed and organization that they often incur without the need for new hardware, Kollective allows customers to reap the benefits all the quicker. Kollective technologies are used on over 2.5 million desktops worldwide.

However, the thing that makes The 1001 Tech Center so noteworthy outside of its established businesses is the shared working areas, BendTECH. This is, hopefully, where the true collaboration will happen.

The space could roughly be defined as desks-for-rent, but this denies the idealism of the venture. The space boasts grass front offices, open desk areas, conference rooms and private phone lines, dedicated redundant fibre and “best in class” wifi. It also boasts indoor bike racks, showers and a coffee shop cafe which doubles as a bar and event space. It’s designed to create a “more robust community for economic growth and development” as well as to be a place where the movers in this community like to be.

As for the economic growth bit, the space is also home to Founder’s Pad, a technology accelerator which pairs developing businesses with successful business developers to provide mentorship and drive growth.

As The 1001 fills and the community expands, it’s likely to become a major player in the Bend entrepreneurial economy. It’s not hard to find articles detailing exactly how big the community might get. With the OSU Cascades campus set to become the only four year college in Central Oregon within a few years and the business economy developing serious heft, it is becoming increasingly evident that Bend is set to change significantly. The college, the forecasted business boom and the rapidly proliferating start-ups all point to the conclusion that Bend’s long-service-based economy is ripe for revolution in a major way.


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