For more than a decade, Economic Development for Central Oregon has hosted the Bend Venture Conference, the largest angel conference in the Pacific Northwest. The conference was held in a sold-out Tower Theatre on October 14th and gave out $3,755,000 in investments to local business and startups. EDCO set a new record with this year’s investments, more than tripling their total from 2015. Although businesses from all around the Northwest can participate in the conference, Bend companies received prizes in two of the conference’s three major categories.
Devoted to the creation of jobs for survivors of India’s sex-trafficking trade, Sudara, a Bend clothing company, received $250,000 in the Social Impact Competition.
CushCore, an upstart local manufacturer of inner-tire suspension systems for mountain bikes, was awarded $15,000 in the Early Stage Competition, signifying that attendees voted them the company that could make the most of the investment.
Cascade Wellness Technologies out of Sunriver was given $100,000 to help benefit their production of a device that can increase the body’s blood flow in a non-evasive [non-invasive?] fashion.
EDCO, a non-profit corporation, has operated in Central Oregon for 35 years. Their mission is to strengthen the local economy by helping to start new businesses, work with established companies and create middle-class jobs.
“The goal of the Bend Venture Conference is to bring together investors and investable companies in the hopes that through the process some magic will occur and companies will get discovered and funded,” said Brian Vierra, Venture Catalyst for EDCO. “This year, due to a high level of collaboration between both angel and venture funds, institutions and the State itself, we succeeded to a level the conference hasn’t seen before. This has resulted in a new record of almost $4 million for investment deployed through an angel conference in the northwest.”