SnoPlanks wins $100K at Venture Out Festival

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SnoPlanks secured $100,000 in funding Wednesday night as the winner of the inaugural Venture Out Festival.

TOUGHER, a workwear company for women, took home the Break Out Award and $10,000 in investment. And CushCore, which produces an insert for mountain bikes that works as an in-tire suspension system, won $3,000 from BendBroadband Business as the winner of a special Judge’s Award.

Created by Bend Outdoor Worx, the first Venture Out Festival was designed exclusively for startup companies in the outdoor industry. Bend’s newest entrepreneurial event also marked the beginning of the Bend Venture Conference, the largest angel investment conference in the Pacific Northwest.

“We want to make Bend the hub of the outdoor industry,” Gary Bracelin, the founder of Bend Outdoor Worx, told the audience at the Tower Theater.

SnoPlanks, which last year won $15,000 from BendBroadband Business at the Bend Venture Conference, manufactures bamboo snowboards and longboards.

“We really felt an incredible outpouring of support from the community last night,” SnoPlanks founder James Nicol said. “We’re kind of overwhelmed by the showing of support for our brand.”

“We think Bend Outdoor Worx is doing an incredible thing with that conference,” he added. “Having an outdoor conference like that is really a game-changing thing for a company like us.”

Niki Singlaub, founder and owner of HYDAWAY, a collapsible bottle company based in Bend, attended Venture Out to support the outdoor community and entrepreneurs in the town.

“Overall it’s amazing what’s happened in Bend in the last five, six years in terms of business opportunities, entrepreneurial support,” Singlaub said. “Building my business here is so great because there’s so much transparency, openness and help from all over the place.”

Venture Out kicked off with presentations from Wedgis, CushCore and TOUGHER, all of which were competing for the Break Out Award and $10,000 in funding. Earlier in the day Wedgis won the unConference at The Capitol and a spot in the Bend Venture Conference’s Early Stage competition sponsored by BendBroadband Business.

Ripclear and Zealios competed against SnoPlanks for the Gold Award. Ripclear produces lens protector for eyewear and Zealios creates personal care products for athletes.

After the presentations the audience watched 30 minutes of The Crash Reel, an HBO documentary that follows the recovery of professional snowboarder Kevin Pearce after an accident left him with a traumatic brain injury. Following the film, Pearce spoke to the audience about his experience and how he turned it into LoveYourBrain, a non-profit that supports people with traumatic brain injuries.

“Being outside is healing and it’s so taken for granted by us,” Pearce told the audience.

Written by Bronte Dod for BendBroadband Business

SnoPlanks wins $100K at Venture Out Festival

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