Heather’s Choice and SewGo Outdoors Win at BOW BreakOut

Bend, OR (October 18, 2018)—Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW) announced the winners of BreakOut, the first and only venture event focused solely on the outdoor industry, held Wednesday night at the Tower Theatre in Bend, Oregon. 

 

SewGo Outdoors (sewgooutdoors.com), lightweight adventure gaitors, won the $5,000 BreakOut award in the early stage category determined by audience votes. Heather’s Choice (heatherschoice.com), dehydrated backpacking food for hunting, camping and adventures, won the $10,000 Ready-To-Roll Award in the growth stage category, chosen by a panel of judges. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, and with the help of sponsor Bendbroadband, BOW also presented Neo Pros, an early stage category company who designs swimwear products for survivors of mastectomies,with a $1,000 check. Bluey Merino (blueymerino.com), an active & outdoor Merino wool clothing brand, and and Rhino Skins Solutions (rhinoskinsolutions.com), high performance skin recovery, were chosen to continue in a due diligence process for funding from Business Oregon. 

 

A special highlight from the evening was a surprise visit from Senator Wyden, who has been a champion for outdoor causes and offered his ongoing support to the industry. 

 

In addition to the pitch event at the Tower Theatre, Bend Outdoor Worx held a series of educational sessions during the same day, presented in association with OSU Cascades and Oregon Outdoor Alliance. The sessions offered useful information from top industry experts for emerging companies.

 

A full house of outdoor enthusiasts attended the Break Out event, part of the rapidly growing outdoor entrepreneurial movement in Bend, Oregon. The festival commenced with a performance by Lindsi Kay and Tin Bindi from Slackrobats Academy and the entertainment continued with a performance by Ross Winsor, a professional mountain bike trials rider, held on stage during the intermission. Music by Bomb Shot filled the theatre during networking following the event. 

The BOW BreakOut event was presented by 10 Barrel Brewing, Northline Wealth Management, Ruffwear, First Interstate Bank, Huckabuy, White Summers Law, Price Fronk, Toyko Starfish, BBSI, Robert Axle Project, Bendbroadband, Business Oregon, HydroFlask, City of Bend, Zealios Skincare, Terra Frma, Oregon Entrepreneurs Network, and Hand In Hand Productions. For more information visit Bendoutdoorworx.com

Six Outdoor Companies to Pitch at BOW BreakOut 

Bend, OR (October 2, 2018)—Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW), Central Oregon’s outdoor industry accelerator, announces six (6) stage finalists for the 2018 BOW BreakOut to be held October 17th at the Tower Theatre, Bend, Oregon.

Forty (40) emerging outdoor companies applied for their chance to present at the BOW BreakOut and for the opportunity to win $15k in cash grants and Business Oregon Financing Award up to $100,000 for Oregon companies. After intensive pitch session days, and thoughtful consideration and deliberation by a panel of judges, the finalists have been determined in each category. 

For the BreakOut Award, early stage category, the finalists are:

Mystic Devices (Eagle, CO), Trail adaptive bike lighting system. Mysticdevices.com

Sew Go Outdoors (Bend, OR), Lightweight adventure gaitors. Sewgooutdoors.com

Lacuda (Bend, OR), New resistance training swimsuit for competitive female swimmers and triathletes. 

For the Ready-To-Roll Award, growth stage category, the finalists are:

Heather's Choice (Anchorage, AK), Lightweight backpacking food Heatherschoice.com

Ombraz Sunglasses (Seattle, WA), A revolutionary pair of sunglasses with a built-in adjustable cord that replaces the temple arms that hold them comfortably and securely on your face.

Bluey Merino  (NSW, Aus), Active & Outdoor Merino wool clothing brand. Farm-to-consumer direct model.  Blueymerino.com

Tickets for BOW Breakout are available in advance at TowerTheatre.org and at the door.

In addition to the pitch event at the Tower Theatre, Bend Outdoor Worx has added a series of educational sessions during the same day, presented in association with OSU Cascades and Oregon Outdoor Alliance. These sessions will provide useful information from top industry experts for emerging companies. More information and tickets for these sessions can be found at oregonoutdooralliance.org.

The BOW BreakOut event is presented by 10 Barrel Brewing, Northline Wealth Management, Ruffwear, First Interstate Bank, Huckabuy, White Summers Law, Price Fronk, Toyko Starfish, BBSI, Robert Axle Project, Bendbroadband, Business Oregon, HydroFlask, City of Bend, Zealios Skincare, Terra Frma, Oregon Entrepreneurs Network, and Hand In Hand Productions.

For more information visit Bendoutdoorworx.com

Applications Now Open for 2018 BOW BreakOut

Bend, OR (May 15, 2018)—Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW), Central Oregon’s outdoor industry accelerator, is now taking applications for 2018 BreakOut (previously known as Venture Out), to be held October 17th at the Tower Theatre in downtown Bend, Oregon.

 

The BOW BreakOut is the only funding event created solely for the outdoor product industry. Early and growth stage outdoor company pitch finalists will secure an opportunity to present to the audience at the 450-seat Tower Theatre.  

 

At last year’s event, a total of $117,500 was awarded to five different emerging outdoor companies. The 2017 awards included the $10k BreakOut award for early stage companies, the $5k Ready to Roll award for growth stage companies, and a $2,500 award for Rec-Tech companies. Two of the three award winners were chosen by audience vote and all were awarded cash with “no strings attached.” Another $100k in debt funding through Business Oregon’s Small Business Expansion Program was also awarded. Additionally, another $2,500 was donated to two outdoor non-profit companies. Prize categories and amounts for the 2018 BOW BreakOut will be announced shortly. 

Outdoor companies seeking funding and visibility are encouraged to apply at http://bendoutdoorworx.com/apply/Applications close July 20, 2018.

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BOW Selects KidRunner, Orange Screw, and Rugged Thread for 2018 Cohort

 

Bend, OR (March 1, 2018)—Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW), Central Oregon’s outdoor industry accelerator, announced today the three outdoor companies selected for their upcoming cohort (Cohort 5). The companies are KidRunner of Bend, Oregon, the world's only high performance, multi-terrain kid jogger; Orange Screw of Bingen, Washington, an innovative and convenient ground anchor made of 100% recycled materials; and Rugged Thread of Bend, Oregon, a repair facility for technical outdoor and adventure clothing and gear. 

 

"The mix of the companies seems well matched in our 5th cohort, as far as the level of sophistication each entrepreneur brings into the program. By having two consumer product companies and one B2B service provider, they will be able to leverage off each other from their learnings." said Eric Meade, BOW Co-Founder.

 

The three outdoor companies will participate in BOW’s unique and comprehensive mentorship program. Using a process of discovery meetings, analyzation and curriculum building, BOW determines the company needs and provides guidance from the experienced and committed founders and extended mentor group. The Accelerator supports these companies by aligning them with additional resources needed to succeed, including legal assistance, financial planning, logistics, sales, marketing, and product development. 

 

Joining the founding mentors for the 2018 Cohort is Andy Boyd. Boyd recently transplanted to Bend from Boulder, Colorado, on a hunch; he and his wife believed that Central Oregon would be a better fit for their family and he states it was the “Best.  Decision.  Ever.”  Boyd spent the majority of his career with Agility Recovery until 2015 when the company was sold to a private equity firm. He is now an active angel investor and Board Chair for Opportunity Knocks.  He also serves as a Board Advisor for Huckabuy and Focus4Media and an advisor to Dreihaus Private Equity as well as being an active mentor for two accelerators; Techstars and Unreasonable Group.  

 

Other standout companies in Bend, Oregon, that have been part of BOW’s past cohorts include: Cairn, Robert Axle Project, SnoPlanks, and Zealios.  In total BOW has mentored eleven outdoor companies since it launched the program in 2014.

 

For more information about Bend Outdoor Worx visit www.bendoutdoorworx.com

 

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Bend Outdoor Worx Taking Applications for 2018 Cohort

Bend, OR (December 13, 2017)—Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW), Central Oregon’s outdoor product accelerator, is now accepting applications for the 2018 Fall/Spring Cohort. The deadline for outdoor company applications is December 29, 2017.

 

Three companies will be selected to make up the 2018 Cohort (Cohort #5) and will receive mentorship in a unique year-long program. Cohort #5 will receive mentorship from BOW’s industry founders in areas where developing companies may be lacking. Through a process of discovery meetings, analyzation and curriculum building, BOW will determine the company needs and provide guidance from the founders and extended mentor group. The incubator will then support these companies by aligning them with additional resources needed to succeed, including financial planning, marketing, logistics, sales, marketing, and product development.

 

BOW created the mentorship program in 2014 and to date has had four cohorts with graduated standouts like: Cairn, SnoPlanks, Robert Axle Project and Zealios.

 

Applications are available at http://bendoutdoorworx.com/apply/

Tribe Pilot, KidRunner, Rugged Thread and Pedaling Innovations Win at Venture Out Festival

Bend, OR (October 17, 2017)—Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW) announced the winners of the Venture Out Festival, the first and only venture event focused solely on the outdoor industry, held last night at the Tower Theatre in Bend, Oregon. Tribe Pilot, an adventure planning tool, won the $2,500 the Digital Ascent Award in the technology-based recreation category and KidRunner, a high-performance, multi-terrain kid jogger, won the $10,000 Breakout Award in the early stage category. The $5,000 Ready to Roll award in the growth stage category went to Pedaling Innovations who has engineered a breakthrough in bike pedal technology. An additional $75,000 growth stage award, presented by Business Oregon through their Small Business Expansion Program went to Rugged Thread, a business who specializes in repairs for technical outdoor and adventure clothing and gear. Additionally, Mountain Mels, a line of herbal first aid products, picked up $25,000 from Business Oregon in the same program.

 

A full house of outdoor enthusiasts attended the Venture Out event, part of the growing outdoor entrepreneurial movement in Bend, Oregon. The festival commenced with a performance by Ross Winsor, a professional mountain bike trials rider, held on stage just inside the theatre. Music by Alarm 58 filled the theatre during the networking hour.

 

During the event, founders from BOW cohort companies including Cairn, Robert Axle Project and Zealios helped emcee the award categories. Audience votes determined the winners of the Digital Ascent and Breakout Award categories. The Ready to Roll award recipient was chosen by a panel of judges, including BOW mentors and past cohort companies.

 

The BOW Venture Out Festival was presented by Northline Wealth Management and in association with Ten Barrel Brewing, HydroFlask, Ruffwear, First Interstate Bank, White Summers Law, Toyko Starfish, Bendbroadband, BBSI, Business Oregon, 92/9FM, City of Bend, Hand In Hand Productions, SnoPlanks, Zealios Skincare and Cascade Angels. For More information visit bendoutdoorworx.com

 

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About BOW

After assessing common needs from outdoor industry businesses, Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW) was initially conceived in 2013 by Gary Bracelin, a long-time Bend resident and outdoor industry expert. BOW was officially launched in April 2014, when additional industry experts Eric Meade, Justin Rae, and Will Blount joined Bracelin. Miki Keller, an outdoor consultant, also began working with the group in 2015. The founders represent various skill sets and a multitude of experience with successful organizations. BOW also has a deep pool of extended mentors that lend their expertise periodically, as well as Winter Summers Law, the GB2 Agency and Price Fronk & Co, LLP.  For additional information on BOW, contact Gary Bracelin at gbracelin@gmail.com.

 

 

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Venture Out partners with Business Oregon to fund companies

From The Bulletin in Bend, Oregon

The start-up funding contest Venture Out Festival brought attention to the outdoor products industry, but making sure big money follows the winners hasn’t been easy. 

The Oct. 18 event features three cash prizes, ranging from $2,500 to $10,000. The opportunity to land six figures will come from the state economic development agency Business Oregon, which has committed $100,000 in revenue-based lending for one or more qualifying Oregon companies. That’s a change from Venture Out’s first year, when the top award was structured as a private investment, similar to the Bend Venture Conference, which pulls in millions for competing companies, mostly in software. 

Venture Out co-founder Gary Bracelin said the event organizers have learned that equity financing, in which investors take a stake in the company, isn’t necessarily the best model for outdoor product designers. Their companies aren’t valued as highly as software firms, and their capital needs might not justify giving up a stake in the firm, he said. 

“It’s not that we’re not trying to engage that,” Bracelin said of the venture-capital world. “We’re just not trying to force it. It’s not what it’s all about for these companies.” 

That was the case with Venture Out’s inaugural growth-stage winner, SnoPlanks LLC, a Bend-based maker of bamboo snowboards. Co-founder James Nicol said SnoPlanks didn’t take advantage of the top award, which was a $100,000 investment. 

“We’ve bootstrapped this thing from day one,” he said. “We decided to keep going down that road.” 

Through participating in Venture Out, however, SnoPlanks encountered another, unnamed investor, whose terms were more in line with the company’s needs, Nicol said. Venture Out also led to sales opportunities and business partnerships, he said. 

“The exposure through Venture Out is what made a huge difference to us,” he said. 

Venture Out is held at the Tower Theatre the day before the Bend Venture Conference, which starts Oct. 19. This year the outdoor-focused event drew 40 entrants, including several from outside Oregon. 

Participants have been narrowed down to nine finalists in three categories: Digital Ascent for technology-based recreation companies, Break Out for early-stage companies and Ready to Roll for growth-stage companies. The $2,500 Digital Ascent and $10,000 Break Out awards will be determined by audience vote, while a panel of judges will determine the $5,000 Ready to Roll award. 

The Business Oregon financing could go to any one of seven finalist applicants, said Tom Schnell, business finance officer. Because the loan money is state-funded, only Oregon-based companies are eligible, he said. Companies also must be generating revenue, he said. 

The Small Business Expansion Program that’s being offered to Venture Out participants is designed for companies that lack collateral or other guarantees that would qualify them for a bank loan, Schnell said. “It’s a lot higher-risk loan,” he said. 

Unlike venture capital, which expects 10 times its investment in return, Business Oregon will be looking for a rate of return at 1½ to two times its money, Schnell said. The loans are repaid through a portion of future revenue, he said, so companies that are projecting high sales growth and a high profit margin are a good fit. 

“Almost all of the Venture Out companies would fit within this program,” he said. 

The Small Business Expansion Program is four years old, but it’s still considered a pilot program within the Oregon Business Development Fund, Schnell said. Last year, Business Oregon made $400,000 in loans to companies participating in the Bend Venture Conference, he said. Local companies that have taken advantage of the program include DrinkTanks, The No-Bake Cookie Co. and Cascade Wellness Technologies, which automates hot-and-cold treatment for injuries. 

Not all companies are a good fit for venture capital, or traditional banking, but that doesn’t have to be the end of their quest for capital, Schnell said. “This is what we’re trying to do is raise awareness there is money out there,” he said. 

—Reporter: 541-617-7860,  kmclaughlin@bendbulletin.com

BOW Venture Out Announces Nine Finalists

Bend, OR (October 2, 2017)—Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW), Central Oregon’s outdoor industry accelerator, announces nine (9) stage finalists for the 2017 BOW Venture Out Festival to be held October 18th at the Tower Theatre, Bend, Oregon.

 

Forty (40) emerging outdoor companies applied for their chance to present at the BOW Venture Out Festival and for the opportunity to win cash grants. After two pitch session days, and thoughtful consideration and deliberation by a panel of judges, the finalists have been determined in each category.

 

For the new Digital Ascent Award, the Tech Rec category, the finalists are:

 

Tribe Pilot (Bend, OR) an adventure-planning tool. Tribepilot.com

 

Alpenglow Collective (Renton, WA) an inclusive platform for connecting women in the climbing community. Alpenglowcollective.co

 

Snowledge (Portland, OR) a performance tracking, real-time information, and engagement app for the snowsports community. Snowledge.co

 

For the Breakout Award, early stage category, the finalists are:

 

         Wildish (Bend, OR), makers of “outdoorsy” gear. Staywildish.com

 

KidRunner (Bend, OR), the only high performance, multi-terrain kid jogger. Kidrunners.com

 

Tread & Butter (Bend, OR), intentionally designed cork insoles for sport, work and outdoors. Treadandbutter.com

 

For the Ready To Roll Award, growth stage category, the finalists are:

 

Rugged Thread (Bend, OR), repairs for technical outdoor and adventure clothing and gear. Ruggedthread.com

 

Nomadix (San Clemente, CA), makers of go-anywhere towels made of recycled plastic bottles. Nomadix.co

 

Pedaling Innovations (Grand Junction, CO), breakthrough in bike pedal technology. Pedalinginnovations.com

 

The BOW Venture Out Festival is presented by Northline Wealth Management and in association with Ten Barrel Brewing, HydroFlask, Ruffwear, First Interstate Bank, White Summers Law, Toyko Starfish, Bendbroadband, BBSI, Business Oregon, 92/9FM, City of Bend, Hand In Hand Productions, SnoPlanks and Zealios Skincare.

 

Tickets available at the door (while they last) and in advance at EventBrite.com. For more information visit Bendoutdoorworx.com.

BOW Announces Venture Out Funding Awards and Sponsors

Bend, OR (September 22, 2017)—Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW), Central Oregon’s outdoor industry accelerator, announces four different funding awards along with the sponsors for the 2017 Venture Out Festival to be held October 18th at the Tower Theatre, Bend, Oregon.

 

The BOW Venture Out Festival, the only funding event solely for the outdoor industry, will offer multiple funding awards at the third annual event including; the new $2,500 Digital Ascent Award, a cash grant for Tech Rec companies; the  $5,000 Ready To Roll Award, a new cash grant for growth stage outdoor companies; the $10,000 BreakOut Award, the original cash grant for early stage outdoor companies that launched the Venture Out Festival in 2015; and Business Oregon will award $100k SBEP funding to one of the companies that applies for the festival.

 

Bend Outdoor Worx is able to provide this unique funding and publicity opportunity for the outdoor industry with the remarkable support of the Bend business, financial, and outdoor communities. Northline Wealth Management stepped up support and is the presenting sponsoring for the 2017 festival. Ten Barrel Brewing is an associate sponsor and will be hosting the pre-party mixer on October 17th at their new East location. Other companies making these awards and event possible include HydroFlask, Ruffwear, First Interstate Bank, Toyko Starfish, White Summers Law, Nevado Adventures, Bendbroadband, BBSI, Business Oregon, 92/9FM, City of Bend, Hand In Hand Productions, SnoPlanks and Zealios.

 

Along with the increased sponsorship support this year, a record-breaking number of forty (40) outdoor companies have applied for a chance to pitch on stage at the Tower Theatre in October.

 

Tickets available at the door and at EventBrite.com. For more information visit Bendoutdoorworx.com.

 

Applications Now Open for BOW Venture Out Festival

Bend, OR (August 9, 2017)—Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW), Central Oregon’s outdoor industry accelerator, is now taking applications for 2017 Venture Out Festival, to be held October 18th at the Tower Theatre in downtown Bend, Oregon.

 

The BOW Venture Out Festival is the first funding event solely for the outdoor industry. Early stage and growth stage outdoor company pitch finalists will secure an opportunity to present to the audience at the 450 seat Tower Theatre. Winners receive cash prize grants and/or equity money.

 

At last years Venture Out Festival, $113,000 was awarded to three different outdoor companies. Awards included the $10k BreakOut award for early stage companies, the $100k Ready to Roll investment award for growth stage companies, and a surprise $3,000 Judges Award for either stage. Prize categories and amounts for the 2017 BOW Venture Out Festival will be announced shortly.

 

Outdoor companies seeking funding and visibility are encouraged to apply at http://bendoutdoorworx.com/apply/ Applications close August 31, 2017.

 

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