Bulletin Staff Report

Economic Development for Central Oregon announced 16 semifinalists for the 2019 Bend Venture Conference, where companies can win hundreds of thousands of dollars in investment.

The 16 companies have to survive one more round of cuts before presenting at the conference at the Tower Theatre in downtown Bend Oct. 17-18. At the conference, companies pitch their ideas to investors, competing for investments from several venture funds. Investments can range from $25,000 to potentially millions.

Five Bend-based companies have reached the semifinals. Two are in the highest-potential earning group, or the Growth Stage: Broken Top Candle Co., which creates candles using renewable materials, and Rupie, a video game-building platform that connects talent and developers while automating clerical tasks.

The other three Bend companies are in the mid-range Impact Stage group. Those are BrainChild Technologies, which creates accessible infant hearing tests; Meli Wraps, which makes food storage wraps out of beeswax; and Riff Cold Brewed, a cold-brew coffee vendor.

The 11 other semifinalists are companies from Portland, Seattle, New York City, Denver and Belmont, California.

Semifinalists for the Early Stage, are expected to be announced Monday.

The finalists for the three groups will be named at three different dates: Sept. 26 for Early Stage, Oct. 3 for Growth and Oct. 4 for Impact.