More startups than ever are looking to be part of the 2016 Bend Venture Conference.
Now in its 13th year, the Bend Venture Conference received application material from 91 companies for its two-day angel investment event on Oct. 13 and 14. That’s up from 55 applicants a year ago. Companies submitted entries into one of three competition categories: Social Impact, Early Stage and Growth Stage.
“The pool of applicants is the largest we have ever seen,” said Brian Vierra, the venture catalyst for the Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO), the group that puts on the Bend Venture Conference. “(That) is indicative of the amount of activity around new business ventures in Oregon.“
The Growth Stage competition, in which companies with a proven concept can win more $250,000 in investments, received 44 applications. The first-year Social Impact division, which looks to award a company an investment between $25,000 and $100,000, has 30 applicants. And the Early Stage category for Central Oregon-based startups will have 17 companies competing for up to $15,000 in cash from BendBroadband Business.
“The quality of companies,” Vierra added, “continues to validate our attempts to attract true venture style deals.”
Last year, the Bend Venture Conference awarded $947,500 in investments. Growth Stage competitors Odysys – a software company that helps hotels digitally track their marketing efforts – and Perfect Company – an interactive cooking scale that helps customers make recipes without having to measure – brought $225,000 and $125,000 in investments alone.
With the application period over, EDCO is now in the process of selecting finalists for all three competitions.
In the Early Stage competition, 10 semifinalists will give brief presentations at EDCO’s September Pub Talk, during which the audience will vote five companies to move on to the Bend Venture Conference’s final round.
Last year bamboo-snowboard maker SnoPlanks walked away with $15,000 from BendBroadband Business as the Early Stage winner.
For the Growth Stage and Social Impact competitions, EDCO will select finalists that have the opportunity to give 10-minute presentations, followed by question-and-answer sessions on Oct. 14.