A Bend-based tech company with several UO Lundquist College ties took home the top prize of $205,000 at the 12th annual Bend Venture Conference on October 16.
Odysys, a digital marketing platform for independent lodging companies, is helmed by CEO and cofounder Kent Schnepp ’03 (Art). Its two other cofounders are Chad Barczak ’98, MBA ’99, and Jeff Kast ’96. Barczak currently heads up Eugene-based IDX Broker, where Kast is also a cofounder. Odysys provides a website builder, booking engine, social media options, and analytics for boutique hotels, B&Bs, and inns.
Presented by EDCO (Economic Development for Central Oregon), the Bend Venture Conference is the largest angel conference in the Pacific Northwest.
“This is a huge honor for Odysys, and we couldn’t be more happy,” said Kent Schnepp, CEO of Odysys. “The award represents a significant opportunity for us, not just financially, but in terms of support and recognition. The Bend Venture Conference and EDCO are doing amazing things for the business landscape in Oregon. We’re proud to be a part of this community.”
The Lundquist College connections continued in the event’s Early Stage category, where airport gym and shower enterprise AirFit earned semifinalist status. CEO and founder Ty Manegold, MBA ’15, entered the Oregon MBA program with the beginnings of an idea for a line of airport-based gym facilities that would provide travelers with a healthy way to recharge before their next flight. Cynthia Sandall, MBA ’15, came on board and together the pair worked to bring AirFit through the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship’s year-long Venture Launch Pathway curriculum, honing their concept. AirFit is now in talks with two major international airports.
In another Duck connection, Bend Venture Conference fund sponsor Cascade Angels is managed by Julie Harrelson, class of 1980 and CEO of Harrelson Group.
Winning the Bend Venture Conference can lead to big things. The 2007 $150,000 investment winner Elemental Technologies, a service enabling broadcast, dish, and other “legacy” media providers to convert content to Internet protocol delivery, is currently being acquired by Amazon Web Services. Terms were not made public, but its sale price is estimated at $330 million to $500 million.
According to organizers, total invested at the 2015 Bend Venture Conference exceeded $620,000.
Among the sellout crowd of more than 400 in attendance were a dozen Lundquist students.