Bend, OR (May 13, 2016)—Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW), Central Oregon’s outdoor industry accelerator, is pleased to report on the successes of the companies that have participated in sessions with BOW and continue to receive mentorship.
Since 2014, BOW has worked with eight start-up outdoor companies providing them with mentorship from their industry founders and an extended mentor group. Through a process of discovery meetings, analyzation and curriculum building, BOW determined the company needs and provided guidance. The accelerator supported these companies by aligning them with additional resources needed to succeed, including legal, financial, marketing, logistics, sales, and product development.
BOW’s alumni have experienced many successes and milestones, those of particular note include:
Cohort #1(Fall 2014 to present) :
Homeschool Technical Apparel (a technical outdoor apparel company) obtained a $ 500K Bridge loan and received a $ 1MM Accounts Receivable credit line, while continuing rapid growth and adding new employees. Additionally, Homeschool was a “Launch Stage” Finalist at the 2014 Bend Venture Conference.
Cairn (monthly subscription box service for outdoor enthusiasts) - raised $ 1.7MM in equity, while experiencing huge growth going from 150 to over 10,000 monthly subscribers, adding 10 employees, and moving into a office/warehouse space. Cairn was also a “Concept Stage” Finalist at the 2014 Bend Venture Conference and won the 2015 Oregon Entrepreneur “Development Stage Category” Award.
Free Range Backpacks (technical, lightweight backpacks for backcountry/multi-sport athletes) - launched an e-commerce site, moved into sewing space, hired first employees, and were a “Concept Stage” Finalist at 2014 Bend Venture Conference.
Cohort #2 (Summer 2015 to present):
Slackline Technology (manufacturer of longline and highline rigging) - revamped production increasing efficiencies and margins, raised $ 25K in equity, and launched an educational component to their website.
The Robert Axle Project (an axle adapter for bike trailers and trainers) – founders gained confidence through strategic planning to commit full time to the business, expanded into european distribution, experienced continued rapid growth, and won the Bend Outdoor Worx $ 10k Break Out Award through an public pitch event.
Cohort #3 (Fall 2015 to present):
SnoPlanks (manufacturer of bamboo snowboards and skis) - exhibited at their first tradeshow, expanded product line, garnered positive media attention both statewide and in the snow sports industry, and won the $ 15K Early Stage Award at the 2015 Bend Venture Conference.
Magic Cycle Werks (handcrafted custom steel bicycles) - exhibited at their first trade show with a targeted media campaign, and has secured new retailers.
Waggletops (custom removable dog bed covers) - streamlined product line, outsourced key production, and launched on Amazon.com.
“Participating in BOW helped us lay our business foundation and understand what it would take to scale the business,” said Rob Little, Cairn’s Co-Founder and CEO. “The BOW mentors provided industry expertise, practical business knowhow, as well as critical contacts that all accelerated our growth and helped us build a valuable company. I'd recommend their program for any early outdoor product company”.
BOW is accepting applications for the next cohort. Start up outdoor companies looking to scale can apply online at http://bendoutdoorworx.com/apply/ Applications will be accepted through May 31, 2016.