Bend Venture Conference announced (copy)

An interested crowd at the Tower Theatre listens to a pitch during the Bend Venture Conference in 2017.

Three Bend companies were named among the winners Friday in the growth- and early-stage competitions at the annual Bend Venture Conference.

The venture conference has three categories, growth, early and impact stage. Hosted by the Economic Development for Central Oregon, the conference has awarded $10 million to 40 companies over the past five years.

Fourteen companies presented on the Tower Theatre stage to a hybrid audience, and seven companies were awarded a total of $550,000 in investments and cash at the two-day conference.

Lora DiCarlo, a Bend company that sells sex-tech products that mimic human touch and movements, was awarded $100,000 in the competition. The Run Experience, a Bend fitness app that helps with training, received $50,000. And DeepSurface, a Portland business, received $200,000 for its risk-based management platform.

Companies in the growth-stage competition needed to have proven concepts, generated initial revenue and be prepared to scale their businesses with investment, according to the venture conference website.

In the impact-stage competition, two firms were chosen from a field of four competitors. Skip Technology, a Portland-based manufacturing and development company of low-cost batteries for utility-scale energy storage, received $100,000, and TENZR Health, a Vancouver, British Columbia, firm producing wearable sensors, received $50,000.

Impact competitors had to be for-profit enterprises, although they could have been early in the evolution of their businesses. These firms also had to have social and/or environmental missions integrated into their business models.

Two firms were selected out of a field of eight in the early-stage competition, Tonsil Tech, a Redmond company that developed handheld devices to remove tonsil stones, and Radious, a Portland tech company that created an online marketplace for renting home office and meeting spaces. Each received $25,000.

Early-stage companies needed to show they had a great idea, were close to proof of concept and were in the process of testing their products in the market. The winner of the category receives an award from the Portland Seed Fund.

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