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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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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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  • Longmont EDP announces finalists for Cornerstone Awards

    LONGMONT — The Longmont Economic Development Partnership on Thursday announced finalists for its annual Cornerstone Awards that will be held at a networking and dinner event April 12, when winners will be announced. The awards will recognize businesses that make up the Longmont economy and will include awards for Primary Job Creator, Project of the Year, Rising Star, Local Business and Startup. The nominees and award winners in some of the categories were selected by a committee of Advance Longmont Partner organizations that included the Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Development Center, TinkerMill, Startup Longmont and Longmont Downtown Development Authority. “With this year’s awards, we really wanted to bring attention to the fact that it takes businesses of all sizes and types to create a strong local economy,” said Jessica Erickson, president of the Longmont Economic Development Partnership. “These awards show that companies in every sector of the business community are making significant contributions to our economy through job creation, innovation, and capital investment.” The 2017 Cornerstone Awards nominees in each category are: Primary Job Creator: Given to a primary business within one of our target industries that created the most net new jobs in Longmont in 2016.  A primary business generates more than 50 percent of its revenue from outside the Boulder County region. Nominees:  Sticker Giant, Droplet Measurement Technologies, Intel Corp. and Roccor. Project of the Year: Given to a primary business that made a significant economic impact and capital investment in Longmont in 2016. Nominees: ChromaDex, Sticker Giant, BC Services and Droplet Measurement Technologies. Rising Star: Given to a primary business with 50 employees or fewer globally that had the highest net new job creation in Longmont in 2016. Nominees: Left Hand Design Corp., Preferred Packaging Products, Premium Powder Coating and Akonia Holographics. Local Business: Given to a Longmont business that has been established for at least three years and has created jobs or made impactful investments, and has been a pillar in the community. Nominees: Journey Learning Center, Eye Care Center of Northern Colorado, Dairy Queen and Ziggi’s Coffee. Startup: Given to a home-based or brick-and-mortar business within one of LEDP’s target industries whose business was formed in 2016 and has displayed high market potential. Nominees: SensorNova, Colorado Tech Shop, St. Vrain Cidery and XY Motion. The event will begin at 4 p.m. with a networking reception and exhibits from the award nominees followed by a dinner and awards ceremony from 5 to 7 p.m. It will be held at the Plaza Convention Center, 1850 Industrial Circle in Longmont. For information and registration for the public event, click here.    

  • Boomtown accelerator opens first location outside Colorado

    BOULDER — Boomtown, a local accelerator, announced its first geographic expansion, with plans to open an Atlanta branch later this year. The accelerator is partnering with Comcast to open a space in the telecom company’s regional headquarters. The expansion comes after years of partnership Boomtown has had with Comcast, said Boomtown co-director Toby Krout in an interview with BizWest. “We started engaging with Comcast back in 2015,” Krout said. “They partnered with us to have a connected devices hardware prototype lab in our Boulder office. Then we continued conversations. Atlanta is an up-and-coming city with ingredients to be a big player in the entrepreneurial system. So when they were looking to do something in their new headquarters building, they selected us to work with them.” Krout said the location will be open in the fourth quarter this year. Its first cohort will start in the first quarter of 2018, and they will begin taking applications for that class this summer. Krout said Boomtown takes a different approach from some other accelerators, focusing on startups that are still in early stages, rather than those that might already be seeing some success. “We don’t look for the same startups other accelerators look for,” he said. “Most want to find startups that are far along and already have revenue and lower risk. But the irony is those are the types of startups that need accelerators the least. We’re looking at a pool of startups that are much earlier on, because we bring more value to startups the earlier they are.” He added that Boomtown very much focuses on the founders, looking for people that are open-minded, honest and might have a secret advantage to the problem they’re looking to solve, or have an idea in which Boomtown is particularly interested. What is more, Krout said Boomtown’s model is less focused on getting startups that are gaining capital or investment. “Most accelerators measure how much their startups raise,” he said. “We focus on getting our company to create value for their customers. We’re very interested in them getting customers and having a profitable business model.” When it came to selecting Atlanta, Krout said Boomtown was looking for a place where it could have impact. “We don’t believe it’s easy to scale entrepreneurship,” he said. “We don’t have a strategy to deploy Boomtown all over the planet. We want to build a community where there is already an existing foundation where we could come in and help amplify that. We looked all over, and in Atlanta, all the pieces came together. We wanted a place where we could do a project to help the community.” In addition to prepping for Atlanta and its first Southeast cohort, Krout said Boomtown would graduate its current cohort May 19, with a demo day as the final event for Boulder Startup Week.  

  • Report: State’s federal labs had $2.6B economic impact in 2015

    BOULDER — The 33 federally funded research facilities in Colorado contributed an estimated $2.6 billion to the state’s economy in 2015 and either directly or indirectly supported more than 17,600 jobs, according to a report released Thursday by the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder. The report, titled Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Federally Funded Research Facilities in Colorado FY2013-FY2015, said the economic impact of the labs on the Colorado economy was $2.5 billion in fiscal years 2013 and 2014. It said the labs directly employed nearly 7,800 people in 2015, and supported an additional 9,800 jobs through the multiplier effect — people employed by companies benefiting from the labs’ research, such as instrument makers and utility companies. In 2015, the 33 labs had annual budgets totaling an estimated $1.2 billion. According to survey results, Colorado’s federally funded scientists live in 30 of the state’s 64 counties, with the highest number in Boulder, Larimer and Jefferson counties. Economic impact in Boulder, Jefferson and Larimer counties totaled $1.1 billion, $654 million, and $195 million, respectively. Boulder led the way, with 3,883 full-time and contract workers in 2015 who received an average annual income of $99,840. Jefferson County had fewer federal employees — 2,823 — but they drew annual salaries averaging $108,113. Larimer County had 889 employees, with an average annual salary of $80,074, according to the report. This is the fourth economic-impact report produced by the Leeds School of Business for CO-LABS. Previous reports were produced in 2008, 2010 and 2013. CO-LABS is a nonprofit consortium made up of Colorado federal research laboratories, research universities, state and local governments, economic-development organizations, private businesses and nonprofit organizations. CO-LABS is an acronym for Colorado Leveraging Assets for Better Science. For the latest report, Brian Lewandowski, associate director of the Leeds School’s Business Research Division, surveyed Colorado’s federally funded research laboratories, from the Crops Research Laboratory in Fort Collins to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden. He collected data on employees’ educational attainment, organizational budgets, spinoff companies and technology transfer. Ten labs reported active commercialization programs, from tech transfer and licensed technology to spinoff companies and public-private partnerships with shared space or equipment. “Colorado’s federal research facilities conduct wide ranging basic and applied research that result in scientific and commercializable research advancements,” Lewandowski said. “Beyond the research, these facilities play an important economic function in the Colorado economy, including employing a body of highly educated researchers and through the purchasing of goods and services within the Colorado economy.” The report pointed out that of those employed in federal laboratories, 55 percent have master’s or doctoral degrees, compared with 15 percent statewide; and Colorado ranks fourth among states for the percentage of the workforce engaged in science and engineering jobs. Brian Payer, CO-LABS’ board chairman, said the report revealed that there is a “tremendous synergy between the laboratories, businesses and the community. The labs spur innovation through spin-out companies, technology licensing, […]

  • Mutual of Omaha Mortgage expands to Colorado

    GREENWOOD VILLAGE — Mutual of Omaha Mortgage has expanded to Colorado, establishing a branch office in the Denver Tech Center to serve customers in Denver and the Front Range region. Mutual of Omaha Mortgage offers home-financing products and services through full-service locations and a national call center. “Mutual of Omaha Mortgage’s expansion into Colorado represents a significant milestone in our growth,” Terry Connealy, president of Mutual of Omaha Mortgage, said in a prepared statement. “With our team of experienced mortgage professionals, we’re excited to begin serving customers in the Denver metro area and throughout the Front Range.” Mutual of Omaha Mortgage already has loan offices in Texas, Nebraska, Nevada and Arizona. Mortgage industry veteran Geoff Robbins has been named Colorado branch manager and will be based out of an office in the Mutual of Omaha Bank at 5675 DTC Blvd. in Greenwood Village. Mutual of Omaha Mortgage – PlainsCapital Bank, a Texas-based banking association and subsidiary of Hilltop Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HTH), owns a majority interest in Mutual of Omaha Mortgage LLC. A minority interest is owned by Mutual of Omaha Bank, a federal savings association.

  • Portions of Flatiron Marketplace to be torn down, redeveloped

    BROOMFIELD — A struggling portion of Flatiron Marketplace in Broomfield will be torn down and redeveloped. The Broomfield Enterprise reports that Provident Realty Advisor Inc. proposes redevelopment of the eastern portion of the site, located at the southwest quadrant of U.S. Highway 36 and East Flatiron Crossing Drive. The retail center is owned by Flatiron Marketplace 2013 LP. Portions of the development will remain as they are, according to the Enterprise, but 12,000 square feet of new commercial space would be added, along with up to 1,200 apartments.

  • Aerospace startup Boom Technology raises $33M

    CENTENNIAL — Boom Technology, a Centennial-based startup that is working to develop an affordable supersonic jet, has raised $33 million in new funding. The Denver Post reports that the company seeks to build a plane — dubbed the XB-1 — that can travel from New York to London in three hours and 15 minutes, achieving a speed of Mach 2.2. Boom’s latest round of funding came from 8VC, Caffeinated Capital, Palm Drive Ventures, RRE Ventures and Y Combinator, according to the Post, and brought the company’s total funding to $41 million.

  • Top Chef will film next season in Boulder, other Colorado cities

    BOULDER — Colorado culinary TV fans are going to see some familiar locations on the upcoming season of Top Chef. Bravo Media announced that season 15 of the reality TV show, which has professional chefs compete for the title of top chef, will be filmed in Boulder, Denver and Telluride. The show will premiere later this year, and the announcement is made in partnership with the Colorado Tourism Office and the Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media. “We are always on the hunt for the next great culinary destination and Colorado is fast becoming a hot spot for young chefs and foodies, making it an ideal backdrop for our upcoming season,” said Shari Levine, executive vice president of current production for Bravo Media, in a prepared statement.  “Our new cheftestants will have an abundance of inspiration to pull from as they cook amid the awe-inspiring scenery and explore the bourgeoning [sic] culinary scenes from cities to mountain resorts.” Top Chef has won both Emmy and James Beard awards. “Colorado is the ideal locale for ‘Top Chef’s’ first visit to the Rocky Mountains,” added Cathy Ritter, director of the Colorado Tourism Office, in a statement, “and we cannot wait for viewers to experience the scenic beauty, hospitality and vibrancy of some of our thriving culinary destinations, including The Mile High City of Denver, Boulder and Telluride.”  

  • EndoShape secures more than $14 million in funding

    BOULDER — EndoShape, a medical device company that makes polymer vascular plugs and coils, recently closed on more than $14 million in funding, according to a Form D filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. EndoShape’s flagship product, the Medusa MultiCoil, is a device used for the embolization, or blocking, of blood vessels. It’s used to close off vessels that might be ruptured and causing internal bleeding or vessels that are feeding a tumor. The Boulder company filed an amendment on March 21 to a form filed in February 2016 for equity offered. About $10.49 million was sold. When the company originally filed on February 10 last year, it was offering $9.9 million in equity and had sold $7 million. In February of this year, EndoShape filed another new notice with the date of first sale on Jan. 23, 2017. The company was offering $6 million in equity and had sold just less than $4 million. When EndoShape amended last year’s filing on Tuesday, the company noted that it had sold all of its offering amount. EndoShape did not immediately respond to requests for comment.  

  • Rush Creek wind farm in Colorado part of Xcel’s 11-farm, 7-state plan

      Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy Inc. on Tuesday said it is proposing to construct 11 wind farms in seven states, including one in Colorado, adding 3,380 megawatts of wind generation to Xcel’s system. Denmark-based Vestas Wind Systems A/S, will provide wind turbines for the wind farm at Rush Creek in Colorado, and some of the turbines at the 10 other sites, said Xcel spokesman Randy Fordice. Vestas manufactures wind turbines and other components for wind systems and has two facilities in Brighton and one each in Windsor and Pueblo. It’s unclear how many other wind farms Vestas will supply turbines or other components to Xcel’s overall project. “Because some of the projects and still pending regulatory approval, some contracts have yet to be finalized,” Fordice explained. Construction is set to begin this spring at Rush Creek, a 600-megawatt wind farm in Cheyenne, Elbert, Kit Carson and Lincoln counties, developed by Chicago-based  Invenergy LLC, which has an office in Littleton. The Colorado project was announced last year. The  11 wind farms would increase the amount of wind energy in the company’s energy mix by 2021, with wind fueling nearly 35 percent of its energy production. “We’re investing big in wind because of the tremendous economic value it brings to our customers,” Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy, said in a prepared statement. “With wind energy at historic low prices, we can secure savings that will benefit customers now and for decades to come. Our plan delivers on both economic and environmental fronts, as we provide customers the cleaner, renewable resources they want, while continuing to deliver the reliable and low-cost energy they need.” Xcel Energy is using federal production-tax credits to secure low wind energy prices. Xcel Energy said it expects to see at least a 45 percent reduction companywide in carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2021, if it is able to fully implement approved and proposed renewable-energy plans. The 10 other projects are: Sagamore Wind, a 522 megawatt self-build project located in Roosevelt County, N.M., developed by Invenergy. Hale Wind, a 478 megawatt self-build project located in Hale County, Texas, developed by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources. Bonita, a 230 megawatt power purchase agreement project in Cochran and Crosby counties, Texas, developed by NextEra Energy Resources. Freeborn Wind Energy, a 200 megawatt self-build project located in Freeborn County, Minn., and Worth and Mitchell counties, Iowa, developed by Invenergy. Foxtail Wind, a 150 megawatt self-build project in Dickey County, N.D., developed by NextEra Energy Resources. Blazing Star 1, a 200 megawatt self-build project in Lincoln County, Minn., developed by Geronimo Energy. Blazing Star 2, a 200 megawatt self-build project in Lincoln County, Minn., developed by Geronimo Energy. Crowned Ridge Wind Project, a 300 megawatt build-own-transfer project and a 300 megawatt power purchase agreement. The project will be in Codington, Deuel and Grant counties, S.D., developed by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources. Lake Benton Wind Project, a 100 megawatt build-own-transfer project in Pipestone County, Minn., developed by a […]

  • EndoShape

    EndoShape's Medusa Multicoil is used for the embolization, or blocking, of blood vessels. It’s used to close off vessels that might be ruptured and causing internal bleeding or vessels that are feeding a tumor.