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Manufacturers picky about where they make camp

We all have reasons — sometimes leaking into rationalization — for being where we are. But whether it’s love, location or incredible luck or lucidity, here are some of our favorite reasons for outdoor manufacturers to be where they are in Colorado — which, of course is always a good place to continue to be, […]

From wartime work to peaceful play

Everyone in Colorado knows why people from other states continue to move here. The area is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, with lots of hiking and biking trails, places to mountain climb or boulder, many areas for water sports, camping and fishing. But how did Colorado become one of the major outdoor industry hubs in the […]

Outdoor startups embrace small Colorado towns

Small mountain towns in Colorado are increasingly home to incubating manufacturing startups in the outdoor industry, and none seems to be doing a better job of it than Steamboat Springs. While famous for being the home to more Winter Olympics athletes than any other in the nation, it also is home to an incredible assortment […]

Industry association: There’s green in those green spaces

The outdoor industry accounts for $646 billion in retail sales and services, $80 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues and 6.1 million American jobs, according to the Boulder-based Outdoor Industry Association. The industry shows no sign of a slowdown. Colorado established itself as a major outdoor-industry hub in the aftermath of World War […]


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  • International energy company moves HQ to Fort Collins

    FORT COLLINS — Husk Power Systems Inc., a rural distributed utility company, is relocating its headquarters to Fort Collins and has closed on a $20 million financing round. The company is now located at the Colorado State University Powerhouse Energy Campus. Husk Power Systems operates more than 75 mini-grids in Asia and Africa. The company builds decentralized power plants and has distribution networks in India and Tanzania. Its system uses solar energy during the day and batteries and a biomass system at night. The biomass system uses rice byproducts to create energy. Each power plant serves about 300 customers and has a “pay-as-you-go” service model. Customers can pay just for the energy they use, and when they use solar during the day the costs are less than at night, when the rice-husk power comes online. Over the next four years, Husk Power Systems said it plans to add more than 300 mini-grids in India and Tanzania. It also plans to deploy 15 megawatts of 100 percent renewable energy assets, which would eliminate 15,000 tons per year of carbon dioxide. The new mini-grids would provide power to 100,000 customers who previously did not have utility access. The decision to be located at CSU will place Husk Power Systems in the heart of Fort Collins’ innovation and research. In 2015, the Smithsonian Institution named the city a “place of invention.” “The goal of opening a new office here in Fort Collins is to attract top talent and do research in collaboration with the Energy Institute,” said Manoj Sinha, chief executive and co-founder of Husk Power Systems, in a prepared statement. “There really isn’t another place like it that brings such a wide range of experts in diverse disciplines — from technology to psychology — around energy.” Fort Collins marks the company’s first North American headquarters. Husk Power Systems also has offices in India and Tanzania. Sinha told BizWest that the company has 200 employees globally, and plans to add 10 employees to the Fort Collins office, including a chief financial officer and chief technology officer. The company received a $20 million equity investment by Shell Technology Ventures LLC, Swedfund International and ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies.  

  • Innosphere receives financial award from Wells Fargo/NREL incubator

    FORT COLLINS — The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) is donating $1 million in support of eight projects and 19 organizations, including Fort Collins-based Innosphere. The funding will go to Innosphere’s Scaleup Colorado, the incubator’s multiyear plan to address what’s holding back Colorado’s science and technology ecosystem. Scaleup Colorado focuses on three specific issues: the need to grow Colorado’s technology GDP by growing startup support capacity, improving the success-rate of early-stage startups and helping companies grow from the startup stage to mature companies with more than $50 million in revenue each year. The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator is co-administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory based in Golden. The awards granted to the recipient companies are part of the IN2  Channel Partner Awards Program, which is designed to foster the development of a robust cleantech ecosystem by funding innovative accelerators, incubators and universities. Other recipients of the awards include: The California Institute of Technology, partnered with Clean Energy Trust Carnegie Mellon University, partnered with Northwestern University Cleantech Group Activation Energy, in support of the Cyclotron Road Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, partnered with ACRE, Clean Energy Trust, Greentown Learn and NextEnergy NextEnergy, partnered with Prospect Silicon Valley Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship at Rice University, Austin Technology Incubator at University of Texas – Austin, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station Clean Energy Incubator and Texas State University The IN2 Channel Partner Awards Program was established with $5 million to support projects over four years. Kate Moore, a co-lead of the IN2, who operates from the NREL side of the partnership, said the $1 million will be shared among the 19 project recipients, with awards varying between $15,000 to $500,000. In addition to projects getting funding, they also will be connected with the other recipients, to see if ideas and solutions are transferable and scaleable for other projects. Moore said Innosphere was selected because of how high it scored on the evaluation rubric, which included criteria like the ability to positively impact the cleantech ecosystem, the self-sustaining nature of the work proposed and the potential project success. “We thought they took a great approach in its three-prong strategy to tackle the big issues they laid out,” Moore said. Innosphere announced its Scaleup Colorado plan in November, which includes expanding its Fort Collins headquarters and building a $15 million facility in Denver.  

  • K. Musk’s nonprofit rebrands, continues to expand

    BOULDER — Kimbal Musk, the entrepreneur, philanthropist, restaurateur — and brother of Elon Musk — is rebranding and expanding his nonprofit.  Big Green is the new name for the nonprofit formerly known as The Kitchen Community. The Kitchen Community was a 501 c (3) that connected children to food by planting Learning Gardens in schools across the United States. The Learning Gardens teach children about healthy eating, food and the environment. Each of Musk’s The Kitchen restaurants  — which first launched in Boulder in 2004 and expanded to Denver, Fort Collins, Chicago and Memphis — donates a percentage of sales to support a local Learning Garden. There are now Learning Gardens across Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles, Memphis, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh. Big Green’s next city will be Detroit, where it will build 100 Learning Gardens. “In 2017, The Kitchen Community held up a mirror and asked ourselves if we have the necessary tools for success,” the nonprofit wrote in a press release, announcing its rebrand. “We had the track record, the expertise, the systems, and the team. What we did not yet have was a bold, memorable brand that could scale with us, one that reflected our goals and could answer the need we saw in front of us.” The goal is to bring Learning Gardens to 100,000 schools across the United States. The nonprofit said it is looking at adding programs in Colorado Springs; Louisville, Ky.; Long Beach, Calif. and San Antonio, Texas.  

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    Students gardening in a Big Green Learning Garden in Denver. Courtesy Big Green.

  • U.S. 36 lodgers had top occupancy rate in region during 2017

    Lodging facilities along the U.S. Highway 36 corridor between Boulder and Denver recorded a 74.1 percent occupancy in 2017, the best rate among cities and areas in the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado tracked by the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association. The association’s monthly Rocky Mountain Lodging Report released Wednesday revealed occupancy rates for the year of 73.8 percent in Loveland, 72.8 percent in Greeley, 71.6 percent in Boulder, 66.4 percent in Fort Collins, 64.5 percent in Longmont and 54.5 percent in Estes Park. Compared with occupancy rates in 2016, Greeley increased 7.1 percentage points, Loveland increased six-tenths of a percentage point and Estes Park was up 0.3. The occupancy rate from year to year in Fort Collins declined five-tenths of a percentage point, lodgers along U.S. Highway 36 were down three-tenths of a percentage point, and Boulder was down one-tenth of a percentage point. Comparative numbers for Longmont were not included in the report. For 2017, the average daily room rate in Estes Park was $199.79, Boulder, $174.22; U.S. Highway 36, $131.44; Loveland, $124.96; Longmont, $123; Fort Collins, $119.91; and Greeley, $100.06. Statewide, the occupancy rate in 2017 was 69.6 percent, up from 69.1 percent in 2016. Average daily room rate in 2017 was $155.90, up from $151.60 in 2016.    Lodgers in Greeley charged the lowest average daily room rate in November at $92,  followed by Fort Collins, $103; Loveland, $111; Longmont, $112; U.S. Highway 36 corridor, $122; Boulder, $156; and Estes Park, $156. Statewide, lodgers posted an occupancy rate for November of 71 percent and an average room rate of $155.  

  • Techstars, Colliers partner on accelerator program for real estate

    TORONTO -Colliers International Group Inc. (Nasdaq:CIGI) a commercial real estate services company based in Toronto, said Wednesday it has partnered with Boulder-based Techstars to launch the Colliers Proptech Accelerator. The accelerator program will identify and mentor startups around the globe that are developing new technologies for the real estate industry. Startups selected will be hosted in Toronto, Colliers global headquarters, for a 13-week program focused on the development and acceleration of technology-driven solutions. Applications will be open for the first Colliers Proptech Accelerator class in February. Startups may apply at Techstars.com/apply. “Our cultural alignment with Colliers and ability to leverage its expertise and global platform creates a one-of-a-kind partnership in the real estate services industry,” David Brown, founder and co-CEO of Techstars, said in a prepared statement. “The Proptech startups selected for this program will create deep connections with Colliers’ industry experts worldwide while allowing them to accelerate their growth and business success in the future.” Dylan Taylor, Colliers’ president and chief operating officer, said, “Colliers sees this as an opportunity and is committed to being the most enterprising company in our industry by developing innovative and value-enhancing services for our clients and professionals. Partnering with Techstars allows us to harness the best and brightest in operating technology accelerators and selectively evaluate and invest in new technologies. The new Colliers Proptech Accelerator powered by Techstars enhances our unique culture of innovation while developing differentiated solutions for our clients.” “

  • McGinty succeeds Peperzak as CEO of Aurora Organic Dairy

    BOULDER – Aurora Organic Dairy said Tuesday that founder Marc Peperzak has stepped down as chief executive of the Boulder-based organic-milk producer and has been replaced by the firm’s president, Scott McGinty. Peperzak will take on the new role of executive chairman. McGinty has been with the dairy for 20 years during which time he established product distribution, led manufacturing and logistics and became president in 2010 to handle strategic initiatives. He has been involved with all aspects of the business, from capital projects and organic agriculture development, to public policies affecting the organic and dairy industries. Prior to joining Aurora, McGinty helped build the Horizon Organic Dairy brand. “We are focused on building the strength of retailer organic brands from cow to carton,” McGinty said in a prepared statement. “Our investments in the supply chain will offer our partners more product innovation and traceability than ever before.” H As executive chairman, Peperzak will work directly with Aurora Organic Dairy’s Senior Leadership Team in an advisory role, and will continue to serve as chairman of the board of directors. Aurora Organic Dairy operates organic dairy, heifer and calf farms in Colorado and Texas, as well as an organic dairy processing plant in Platteville. In  2019, Aurora expects to begin operations on its second milk plant in Columbia, Mo. The company manages nearly 12,000 organic pasture acres where its dairy cows graze during the grazing season. Approximately 75,000 additional acres are used to grow organic forages and feed crops by more than 100 independent farmers who support its farms.  

  • Traffic at Colorado Springs Airport on pace for 7-year high

    COLORADO SPRINGS – Passenger numbers at the Colorado Springs Airport continued to grow in November as Frontier Airlines expanded and likely will end 2017 at a seven-year high when December numbers are available later this month. The Colorado Springs Gazette reported Tuesday that the 73,512 passengers who boarded outgoing flights in November was up 19 percent from November 2016, triggered by double-digit gains from Frontier, American and Delta even as Alaska Airlines halted service to the Springs on Nov. 4 and Allegiant Air ended service Sept. 4 to the Phoenix area. Frontier added five destinations this year and will add three more in April. Traffic for the first 11 months of 2017 totaled 766,952 passengers, up 30.6 percent from the same period in 2016 and already higher than the annual totals for 2013 to 2016. Even if December traffic were flat, the total for all of 2017 would be the highest since 2010.

  • AOD-ScottMcGinty

    Scott McGinty

  • SomaLogic closes on $200 million funding round

    BOULDER — SomaLogic capped its $200 million funding round, lead by iCarbonX, Nan Fung Life Sciences and Madryn Asset Management. The bioscience company filed a Form D with the Securities and Exchange Commission for $44 million on Jan. 10, making the end of the investment round launched last year. SomaLogic has developed the “SomaScan,” a test that can analyze 5,000 proteins in a blood sample and use them to determine what medical issues a patient might have and why they’re having symptoms. Fintan Steele, chief communications officer for SomaLogic, told BizWest that the funding will go to testing the SomaScan through clinical trials. The hope is to have a product that can be sold to end users by the end of this year. “You’re used to giving blood to test, which measures proteins but doesn’t tell you what’s causing your issue,” Steele said. “You need to measure tons of proteins to figure that out. Other tests can’t do that, but SomaLogic is measuring everything at once.”