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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Tougher, SnoPlanks, and CushCore Win at Venture Out Festival

Bend, OR (October 17, 2016)—Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW) and the Oregon Outdoor Alliance (OOA) announced the winners of the Venture Out Festival, the first venture event focused solely on the outdoor industry, held last Wednesday at the Tower Theatre in Bend, Oregon. TOUGHER, women’s durable and functional work wear, won the $10,000 BreakOut Award presented by Bend Radio Group and HydroFlask; while SnoPlanks, handcrafted bamboo snowboards and skis, won the $100k Ready to Roll Investment Award presented by Trigen Investments. Additionally, CushCore, innovators of an inner tire suspension system, picked up the Judges Award presented by BendBroadBand.

 

Close to 400 outdoor enthusiasts attended the inaugural event to be a part of the growing outdoor company movement in Bend, Oregon. The Venture Out Festival commenced with a slack line exhibition, hosted by Slacktech of Bend, outside the Tower Theatre. The demo featured professional trick liner, Mickey Wilson. During the event, founders from Bend companies including Cairn and Robert Axle Project emceed the award categories. Keynote speaker, former professional snowboarder and brain trauma survivor, Kevin Pearce, shared his inspirational story and HBO Documentary “The Crash Reel.”

 

Three early stage outdoor companies, including finalists Wedgis, emergency swimwear that fits in a tiny pouch, TOUGHER and CushCore, presented for the BreakOut Award and fielded questions from the audience. TOUGHER, women’s durable and functional work wear, was voted winner of the $10,000 BreakOut Award presented by Bend Radio Group and HydroFlask. Also, three growth stage finalists presented for the Investment award including Rip Clear, lens protectors for optics; SnoPlanks, handcrafted bamboo snowboards and skis; and Zealios, performance personal care products for endurance athletes. Snoplanks was chosen to receive the $100k Ready to Roll investment award presented by Trigen Investments.

 

Additionally, in a surprise announcement, a Judges Award presented by Bendbroadband was given to CushCore, innovators of an inner tire suspension system.

 

Venture Out Festival was sponsored by Trigen Investments, Bend Radio Group, HydroFlask, DrinkTanks, Northline Wealth Management, Bendbroadband, White Summers, US Bank, Hand in Hand Productions, Cairn and Black Strap.

 

 

Kevin Pearce to Inspire at Venture Out Festival

FINALISTS FOR STAGE AND FULL SPONSOR ROSTER ANNOUNCED

Bend, OR (October 3, 2016)—Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW), Central Oregon’s outdoor industry accelerator, is pleased to announce that former professional snowboarder Kevin Pearce has been selected as the keynote speaker for the Venture Out Festival, October 12th at the Tower Theatre, Bend, Oregon. Additionally, BOW revealed the final outdoor companies that will be on stage presenting at Venture Out, and the full roster of local companies sponsoring the event. 

 

Produced by BOW and the Oregon Outdoor Alliance (OOA), the Venture Out Festival is the first venture event solely focused on the outdoor industry, as part of the evening’s entertainment, Kevin Pearce will be the keynote speaker. Pearce, a former top professional snowboarder and an Olympic gold contender, suffered a life altering head injury training for the Vancouver Olympics. He triumphed through adversity and had an astonishing recovery. Pearce went on to establish the Love Your Brain Foundation and is now inspirational speaker nationwide.  Segments from his HBO Documentary “The Crash Reel” will also be shown.

 

For the two awards being determined at Venture Out, six companies have been chosen to present on stage.  Cushcore, innovators of an inner tire suspension system; Tougher, women’s durable and functional work wear; and Wedgis, swimwear that fits in a tiny pouch, will pitch for the $10,000 Breakout Award presented by Bend Radio Group and HydroFlask.  Rip Clear, lens protectors for optics; SnoPlanks, handcrafted bamboo snowboards and skis; and Zealios, performance personal care products for endurance athletes, will pitch for the $100k Ready to Roll investment award presented by Trigen Investments

 

Additionally, Venture Out has also seen tremendous support from the local community and BOW is proud to announce the full line up of sponsors for this first time event which are - Trigen Investments, Bend Radio Group, HydroFlask, DrinkTanks, Northline Wealth Management, Bendbroadband, White Summers, US Bank, Hand in Hand Productions, Cairn and Black Strap.  

 

Tickets are $10.00 and are on sale at the door and on eventbrite.com.  For more information visit bendoutdoorworx.com/venture-out/ 

Bend Outdoor Worx Venture Out Semi Finalist

Bend, OR (September 19, 2016)—Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW), Central Oregon’s outdoor industry accelerator, announced the semi finalists for the new Venture Out Festival being held at the Tower Theatre, Bend, Oregon the evening of October 12th, 2016.  Produced by BOW and the Oregon Outdoor Alliance (OOA), the Venture Out Festival is the first venture event solely focused on the outdoor industry. The event will feature two awards - the $10,000 Breakout Award presented by Bend Radio Group and HydroFlask and the $100k Ready to Roll investment award presented by Trigen Investments.

 

The selection process began with an impressive submission of applications from over 30 outdoor companies.  Seven early stage companies and seven growth stage companies were chosen for the first pitch day where they presented to a panel made up of the BOW mentors and extended mentors (including Scott Allan of HydroFlask and Rob Little of Cairn), as well as Brian Vierra of Economic Development of Central Oregon (EDCO) and Bryan Azur of Trigen Investments.

 

After thoughtful consideration and deliberation, the group determined the semi finalists in each category. Due diligence and a final review process will decide the final three in each category that will go on to the stage at the Venture Out Festival.

 

The early stage semi finalists for the Breakout Award include:

 

Bosky Optics (Portland Oregon), an unconventional performance eyewear company using natural & sustainable materials - Boskyoptics.com

CushCore (Bend, Oregon), developers of the world’s first “Inner-Tire Suspension System – cushcore.com

Pierce Footwear (Bend, Oregon), performance footwear that solves lacing issues with folks of special needs, limited mobility and athletes of all ages - piercefootwear.com

Tougher (Corvallis, Oregon) durable and functional work wear designed specifically for women – weartougher.com

Wedgis (Bend, Oregon) innovative swimwear that wedges into a tiny, waterproof, and lightweight pouch designed to take anywhere - wedgis.com

And the growth stage semi finalists for the Ready to Roll Investment Award include:

Fat Chance Bicycles (Ashland, Oregon), an iconic high-end mountain bike brand of the 80’s & 90’s re-launched in 2015 - fatchance.bike

iOmounts (Basalt, Colorado),  simplest and most versatile universal mounting system for mobile devices including mounts for outdoor products such as the Nomad for mountain bikes - iOmounts.com

 RipClear (Bend, Oregon), lens protectors for optics that adhere directly to the lens with military rated clarity with patented technology – ripclear.com

 SnoPlanks (Bend, Oregon) handcrafted bamboo snowboards and skis - Snoplanks.com

 Zealios (Bend, Oregon), performance personal care products for endurance athletes – teamzealois.com

 

The Venture Out Festival is sponsored b­­­­­y Trigen Investments, Bend Radio Group, HydroFlask, DrinkTanks, US Bank, and Hand in Hand Productions.  Tickets will be available at the door and online. For more information www.bendoutdoorworx.com 

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Bend Outdoor Worx Announces Next Cohort

Bend, OR (August 10, 2016)—Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW), Central Oregon’s outdoor industry accelerator, is pleased to announce the selected companies that will make up the next cohort beginning this September - Bosky Optics, Fat Chance Bicycles, and Zealios.

 

This next cohort will be the 4th group of companies to receive mentorship from BOW’s industry founders since its inception. Using a process of discovery meetings, analyzation and curriculum building, BOW determines the company needs and provide guidance from the founders and extended mentor group. The Accelerator supports these companies by aligning them with additional resources needed to succeed, including legal assistance, financial planning, marketing, logistics, sales, marketing, and product development.

 

Cohort # 4 includes:

 

Bosky Optics (Portland Oregon), an unconventional (performance) eyewear company using natural & sustainable materials. Founder Matthew Minor, a graduate of the OSU Accelerator program, began Bosky in 2015. Bosky’s initial successes include being featured in Vogue & Esquire, attracting strong athlete endorsements and significant early sales performance.  For more information visit Boskyoptics.com

 

Fat Chance Bicycles (Ashland, Oregon), an iconic high-end mountain bike brand of the 80’s & 90’s founded by Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee, Chris Chance. Fat Chance built a legendary reputation and cult following through innovative high quality product fused with a sense of fun and personality. The brand was re-launched in 2015 with a highly successful Kickstarter campaign and ecommerce site. Early revenue was over six-figures for the re-launch. For more information visit fatchance.bike

 

Zealios (Bend, Oregon), performance personal care products for endurance athletes, founded by University of Washington classmates, Austin Britts and Kevin Fuller, both armed with a BA in Economics with a focus on International trade and a decade in wholesale chemical trade decided to make the best sunscreen on the planet. Zealios introduced their flagship product, Sun Barrier SPF 45, in 2012.  Following soaring ecommerce sales and great success on Amazon, they are now developing wholesale distribution starting with Sports Basement and Mike's Bikes in the Bay Area and experienced growth last season of over 250%, while attracting athlete endorsements such as Jesse Thomas and Heather Jackson (both of Bend). For more information visit Teamzealios.com

 

BOW co-founder Eric Meade says, “This new team of emerging businesses is exactly what BOW is designed to do - help companies in the outdoor sector scale and reach their goals faster and better through mentoring and guidance.  I couldn’t be more proud of BOW and the high caliber clients were seeing come into our cohorts.”

 

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

 

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Bend Outdoor Worx Annouces the Venture Out Festival Over $100K to be Awarded

Bend, OR (May 26, 2016)—Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW), Central Oregon’s outdoor industry accelerator, is pleased to announce the Venture Out Festival, an outdoor product venture event to be held on October 12th at the Tower Theater. Applications for this event will available on the BOW website in mid June.

 

Supported by the Oregon Outdoor Alliance and the Economic Development of Central Oregon (EDCO), the Wednesday evening event kicks off the Bend Venture Conference, held October 13th - 15th.  Two Bros. Ventures, a family owned and operated firm with offices in Bend, will be funding a venture round of at least $100,000 to be awarded to a growth stage outdoor product company, while Bend Radio Group will be sponsoring a $10,000 Breakout Award for an early stage company.

 

This year’s event builds on the success of BOW’s 2016 Breakout Award, where three finalist companies were selected to pitch to a crowd of over 250 people at an OOA meeting. The audience chose Robert Axle Project, a local manufacturer of axle adaptors for bike trailers and trainers, as the winner. Keynote speaker Beaver Theodosakis, the founder of Prana, presented the winner with the check for $10,000.

 

Kicking off in mid June, the application process for the new Bend Outdoor Worx Venture Out Festival includes a website application as well as a series of presentations. The finalists will be chosen in Fall 2016.

 

Currently, BOW is accepting applications for their next cohort until June 1st. Since 2014, BOW has worked with eight start-up outdoor companies providing them with mentorship from industry founders and an extended mentor group.  Through a process of discovery meetings, analyzation and curriculum building, BOW determines company needs and provides guidance. The accelerator supports these companies by aligning them with additional resources needed to succeed, including legal, financial, marketing, logistics, sales, marketing, and product development. Start up outdoor companies looking to scale can apply online at http://bendoutdoorworx.com/apply/

 

 

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