I don’t know what it was this year. But I was really into hyping Bend Venture Conference. Probably because I was in town for part of High Desert Innovation Week. And most likely because it was the 20th year of the event. Whatever the case, another BVC is now in the books. I hope folks who attended — and competed — enjoyed the event. And I hope the folks visiting Central Oregon for the first time had a memorable experience. Now, it’s time to close the loop until next year. The winners of BVC 2023 have been announced.
Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) hosted the 20th Annual Bend Venture Conference (BVC) for the past two days at locations around Bend. During the conference, 14 finalists presented their ideas and business models to an audience of hundreds in hopes of gaining investment from prominent funds. Of those finalists, eight companies were awarded a total of $595,000 in investments.
So who won? I’m glad you asked. I have that information right here.
The Early Stage winners were:
- Finnegan the Dragon (Hillsboro, OR) – The first preschool curriculum and mobile gaming system that targets language development for better learning outcomes was awarded $25,000.
- Polaris (Bend, OR) – An AI-powered site reliability tool that detects outages and incidents in web applications in real-time was awarded $25,000.
- Symphony Markets (Bend, OR) – A streamlined, SEC compliant exchange for IP owners to list shares of their music while providing investors exposure to a stable, culturally relevant asset class was awarded $25,000.
The Impact winners were:
- Harvest Thermal (Kensington, CA) – Electric heating, cooling and hot water systems for homes to support a strong and renewable electricity grid was awarded $90,000 from the BVC Impact LLC.
- OpConnect Inc. (Portland, OR) – A turnkey EV charging solution provider that offers smart charging hardware and software for fleet operators and multi-family properties was awarded $25,000 from the BVC Impact LLC.
And finally, in the Growth Stage, the winners were:
- ToolBelt, Inc. (Vancouver, WA) – A mobile software program that allows contractors to post projects and directly connect with tradespeople was awarded $165,000 from the BVC LLC.
- iDentical Inc. (Mountain View, CA) – A dental device company that is disrupting the global dental implant market with personalized, drill-free dental implants was awarded $75,000 from the BVC LLC.
[Full disclosure: Finnegan the Dragon is a PIE alum. I am the cofounder and general manager of PIE.]