By Rachael Rees

The Bulletin

Portland media company Choose Growth has relocated its headquarters to Bend with plans to expand and add to its workforce.

The company specializes in helping speakers, authors, inventors and business advisers create online content — educational courses, videos and other products — on their topics of expertise and generate revenue from it.

Choose Growth launched in March 2013 in Portland, and on April 1, co-founders Chris Behnke and Isaac Tolpin opened a second office on Southwest Bonnett Way in Bend.

“We are growing fast. We have a small office in the Pearl (District, in Portland) that we will keep, but our company (headquarters) is here in Bend, and all future growth is here,” Behnke wrote in an email.

People choose to live in Bend, Tolpin said, which creates a certain culture and helps make it a great place to live.

“When people are here for a reason, they like being here and they’re generally happier,” he said. “On the business side, there’s an amazing business climate (in Bend) from the mayor to the head of the chamber. … Everybody was super receptive to what we’re doing, and they’re trying to provide more work for people that are younger.”

The company employs 15 people in Bend, and in two years it hopes to more than double that number.

Economic Development for Central Oregon is excited to have new, innovative companies like Choose Growth expand to the region, Roger Lee, executive director, wrote in an email.

“Jobs created by young companies in our region are fueling quiet diversification of our employment base that put the tri-county area on stronger economic footing,” Lee wrote.

Tolpin said there are other companies that help customers create virtual courses, but they typically place it on hosted websites. Choose Growth creates the content on clients’ websites, reinforcing their brands.

Behnke said clients pay an initial $10,000 fee for Choose Growth’s services, as well as $1,600 per month. Additionally, Choose Growth receives a portion of the sales from products they create for clients.

“We’re helping people create a legacy business. A legacy business is one that continues beyond their actual efforts,” Tolpin said. “We’re not building just one course, but multiple courses that make their website a learning platform for their clients to experience, learn and grow from their intellectual property.”

Vanessa Van Edwards of the Portland-based company Science of People selected Choose Growth to put her human behavior research seminars and courses online.

“I was hoping they could help me teach more people about body-language science and human lie-detection research — two of our main study areas,” she wrote in an email. Within the first two months, she said she got her first course filmed, edited and on the market.

“Partnering with Choose Growth has given me more freedom,” Van Edwards wrote. “Their support on course production has allowed me to focus on the content and teaching people, which is my true passion.”

—Reporter: 541-617-7818,