Miss the OEN Venture Northwest application deadline? No you didn’t

It happened again, didn’t it? I know, I know. You were planning to do it. But you kept hitting snooze on the task. And then when you finally had a second to consider it, you realized that the deadline for applying for OEN Venture Northwest had passed. So sad. And you had “smart investment” written all over you.

Well, turn that frown upside down, my friend. You’re in luck. You’ve been granted an extension. That’s right. The deadline is now September 8. So get working on that Venture Northwest application. I mean, you weren’t planning to do anything this weekend anyway, right?

C’mon you. It’s not that hard. And you’ve really got a good idea. And, let’s be honest, I’d really love to see a tech or mobile company walk away with the top prize. I mean, apparel is cool and all. But you—you my friend—are the future of Oregon startups.

So get to work on the five-page executive summary, 10-slide presentation, 50-word description, and 600-word company summary. You can do it. And then scrape together the $545 entry fee. That’s cash, unfortunately. I don’t think you can finance the entry fee based on your future winnings, no matter confident you may be.

Need more info? Read up on Venture Northwest and the application guidelines at OEN.

Scoot scoot, little bug. I’ll be looking forward to seeing you standing there with the big check.


  1. Gerry, Thanks as always for the awesome comment. This helps clear things up a great deal.

  2. As chair of this year’s Venture Northwest, I’d like to reply to David P’s concerns.

    1. This event is not run by a different group. OEN runs it. That said, to make something like this come off, we have many volunteers from the local start-up community involved. Service providers are certainly among them, but so are venture capitalists (including yours truly, obviously).

    2. The fee structure works as follows: To attend the event costs $495 ($425 for early-bird registration). To apply to present costs $350 if you are an OEN member, and you get a ticket to attend, whether selected or not. So, it is cheaper to apply to present than to just attend!

    If you are not already an OEN member, it costs $545 to apply, but that also buys you a one year OEN small company membership (and gets you a ticket to attend).

    3. If you apply, you get the following: Your firm is reviewed by the selection committee (see below) which includes 12 active venture capitalists, as well as a number of service providers. So, you’ve already gotten terrific exposure even if you are not ultimately selected. In addition, you get to attend the event (and hallway stalk those VCs, plus the other VCs who attend but are not on the selection committee). You also get your company listed on screen at the beginning of the event, and a have short summary of your firm listed in certain event materials.

    4. If you are selected, you get to present to about 200 people, and probably a couple of dozen VCs who have made a special effort to come (and paid their $495) to hear your pitch. You will also get expert coaching before the event on how to put your best foot forward in front of this audience.

    Now, here are some key facts: VCs fund about 1 in 100 deals they see (or fewer). VNW usually sees somewhere between 30-50 applications each year. This year, we’ll pick the best 12 – so your chances of making it through the screen are about 1 in 3 or 4. If you get selected, based on the last three year’s data of VNW presenting companies, there is a 1 in 2 chance you’ll get VC dollars. Do the math: 1 in a 100 versus about 1 in 6 to 8. Not bad for $350 or $545.

    5. Finally, the selection committee is not a secret. However, they are listed below with one BIG caveat. These are volunteers who give up their time for the good of the community. Screening 30-50 applications is already a major commitment. If you apply, do NOT lobby them. That will be viewed very negatively. This year’s screening group includes (VCs listed first):

    Diane Fraiman (Voyager) – co-chair
    Matt Compton (Madrona)
    Wayne Embree (Reference)
    Kevin Gabelein (Fluke)
    John Hull (Marquam Hill)
    Jim Huston (Blueprint)
    Bill Newman (NW Tech)
    Mike Reynoldson (Invest America)
    Steve Saltzman (Intel Capital)
    Gregg Semler (Pivotal)
    Bob Ward (Capybara)
    Rob Wiltbank (Buerk Dale Victor)
    Brent Bullock (Perkins Coie) – co-chair
    Scott Davidson (Lane Powell)
    Chris Fenner (Osiris Endeavors)
    Paul Gulick (successful entrepreneur)
    Bruce Helberg (Silicon Valley Bank)
    Minh Le (Silicon Valley Bank)
    Tom Reimer (Square 1 Bank)
    Ellen Sheedy (Perkins Coie)
    Drew Smith (former Intel Capital)
    Bill Stevens (Funding Couch)
    Walt Weyler (Sequence)

    I hope this gives you the information you wanted, and makes the value proposition of applying to Venture Northwest clear.

    Gerry Langeler
    OVP Venture Partners

  3. I hate to say it, but this is actually a waste of money and time. I love the OEN, but events like this are run by a different group, mostly service providers who are looking to provide consulting services or jobs. The fee is too high, unless you are assured a chance to present or participate. You probably have a better shot at funding by putting that $500 into a video poker machine. They should publish a list of who is on the review committee and their credentials, I for one would like to know who is reviewing my application. I also think that if you pay $500 you should at least have a way to present your company even if you are not selected. Just my opinion.

  4. “Executive team”?

    “Word document”?


    Sounds more like they’re looking for watch-manufacturing ventures than Next-Gen Web 3.0 Twitter/Meebo/MS Paint hybrid startup 😉

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