Contributed by Robin Cope, OEN’s Regional Coordinator for the Gorge and Eastern Oregon; photos courtesy of Cascade Pro Photo
The Gorge OEN Accelerator Boot Camp’s Inaugural Class graduated Tuesday afternoon in front of an audience of investors, mentors and coaches at The Pines Winery in Hood River.
Five startup companies completed the 8-week program. Thanks to the introspective nature of the curriculum, one of the companies determined their software offering filled a need in the marketplace, but would more likely find success as an open-source project than as a for-profit company. Another company determined their original idea was too broad and complex, so they opted to radically scale back their proposal and made a pre-seed stage pitch at the November 13th demo day. Both of these companies acknowledged that they would have likely invested much more time and money in their original plans, had they not made significant adjustments based on the learning and feedback from the Accelerator Boot Camp.
The three remaining companies each delivered a 10-minute investor pitch to the Demo Day attendees. The three companies pitching were: Izon Tech (a mobile marketing solution enabling busy people to order their favorite takeout food with the push of a Bluetooth-enabled button), AR Interactive (an augmented reality computer tool allowing users to interact with digital media), and Wickwire Tool (a designer of innovative painting and maintenance tools targeted at both the DIY and pro users). At the end of the event one boot camper told me, “In the beginning of boot camp I was enthusiastic, now I’m more confident.”
We congratulate these companies and will follow their progress as they continue to connect to experts and resources to grow their businesses.
The Gorge OEN Boot Camp is an 8-week program that helps companies get ready for funding by learning how to effectively structure, plan, develop and manage their businesses and how to present their businesses for funding. The program includes a one-on-one mentor, coaches and subject matter experts providing valuable information and contacts each week. The online curriculum is provided by the Oregon Technology Business Center. The Gorge OEN Boot Camp was made possible through an Oregon Community Foundation grant to the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network and in partnership with the Oregon Technology Business Center and the Gorge OEN.