The Change Makers | Made in Central Oregon | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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The Change Makers

The people innovating in the tech sector in Central Oregon



Local entrepreneurs are doing big things in the tech world, and some of them are even winning cash awards for their efforts. The 2016 Bend Venture Conference handed out over $3,755,000 in funding—a new record for Oregon angel conferences—and some of Central Oregon's innovators were among the winners.

The founders of Cascade Wellness Technology, Investipro and FireFunder aren't just business savvy, they're also looking to break new ground in the tech world. They offer solutions to very real problems that individuals and businesses face. These are some of Central Oregon's change makers.

Cascade Wellness Technology

Based in Sunriver, this company has created an automated thermal contrast therapy device called Vorteq that helps treat injuries, especially those in athletes and active individuals. Vorteq allows users to apply both heat and cold to help increase blood flow, reduce inflammation and aid in a faster recovery. Contrasting heat and cold is a common approach to relieving pain and inflammation, but Vorteq has made the process easy, precise and reproducible while eliminating the inconvenience of awkward ice packs and slow and imprecise heating pads.

With Vorteq, users can regulate the timing and temperature of hot and cold treatments so that they are exact and result in an optimal outcome. The machine is also capable of rapid temperature changes and can treat all areas of the body. Cascade Wellness Technology's product won a Business Oregon Award and stands to benefit the well-being of our local active community.


Founder Dana Barbato used the experience and knowledge she gained from over 20 years of working as a human resources professional to create a solution for businesses faced with the need to conduct workplace investigations. Barbato's brainchild, Investipro, is a software platform that automates compliant workplace investigations. It allows businesses to keep the process in-house without the concern of increasing their liability by saying or doing the wrong thing.

Using Barbato's platform, business owners can conduct an unlimited number of investigations, access legal notices and final reports, and reduce investigation time by 25 to 30 percent. According to Brian Vierra, Venture Catalyst for EDCO, Barbados stood out from her competitors by creating a beta product that was ready to go to market without any funding, before winning her financial award.

Fire Funder

Fire Funder is the first crowdfunding platform that supports the shooting, hunting and outdoor trade community. Other crowdfunding sources have a strict "no weapons-related products" policy and tend to lend themselves to artists and entrepreneurs looking to acquire capital for their products or small business ventures.

Fire Funder is designed to specifically help innovators with products that serve the hunting, camping and outdoor industries. The crowdfunding model allows those industries to evolve by bringing consumers, manufacturers, entrepreneurs and nonprofits together and giving them the means to acquire the capital they need to bring the cutting edge products they have dreamed up to fruition.

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