The 20th annual Bend Venture Conference is under way at the Tower Theater in downtown Bend.
Startup companies are making pitches to an audience of investors who are looking for the next big idea that could make big bucks.
During Thursday’s early-stage pitch competition, founders of new companies delivered three-minute presentations about their businesses.
“We all use apps that are frustrating because they start to get slow or buggy on us. You would hope that software developers know that something’s going wrong with it but it turns out 2 out of 3 software developers don’t know there’s something’s not working,” said Mike Ryan, Polaris founding software architect. “We want to make a tool that’s economical for all developers to use and change the math so developers know when their apps aren’t working.”
Polaris is an AI-powered reliability tool that detects outages and incidents in web applications in real-time.
“We are what’s called a bootstrap start up, which means we are starting up using our own capital,” said Bryan Love, Polaris co-founder. “We’ve been putting a lot of time into the business. We started in January building Polaris. I would say in terms of time and value we’ve already put $200,000 into the business.”
Audience members can ask questions of each entrepreneur that might help an investor decide to invest in the company or help the founders fine-tune their business plans.
The finalists are also competing for prizes from venture conference sponsors.
“It’s really a celebration of entrepreneurship where we bring funders together, founders together and resources to support them to help scale companies and create jobs and capital investment throughout Oregon and particularly here in Bend,” said John Stark, CEO of Economic Development for Central Oregon.
The winners of the pitch competitions will be announced Friday afternoon at the Oxford Hotel.
Since its inception 20 years ago, more than $12 million has been invested in 52 companies as a result of the conference.