For startups around the world, the issue of funding is a constant one.
- When is financing needed?
- Is it available?
- Do you know where to find funding?
Luckily for those based in Colorado, they don’t have to worry about traveling far to solve their investment needs. There are a large number of successful Venture Capitalist (VC) firms in Colorado. Most are located in Denver, Colorado and Boulder, Colorado though entrepreneurs can find them in just about every corner of the state.
Below is a list of the Top 10 Colorado VC Firms.
1. The Foundry Group
The Foundry Group was founded by Jason Mendelson, Ryan McIntyre, Seth Levine, and Brad Feld in 2007. All four currently serve as managing directors and partners within the firm and the management team has grown to include Lindel Eakman as well. Based out of Boulder, CO, The Foundry Group takes a thematic approach to investing. Their current themes include investments in adhesive, distribution, glue, human-computer interaction, marketplace, and protocol businesses.
When considering an investment they commonly invest in early and seed stage ventures in the range of $250,000. Though, they do inch up to Series A when the business model and founders are too good to pass up.
Additionally, the firm revealed a new fund focusing on late-stage companies. The Foundry Group has had great success, and their portfolio has grown to include Pantheon, TrackR TechStars, Yesware, and Organic Motion.
After the successful IPO of Fitbit, The Foundry Group’s recent investments is Impact Health, a health care algorithm company. The company takes a multitude of customer inputs, preferences, and history than their algorithm finds an insurance plan that best suits their situation. Impact Health is sort of like a dating service, or maybe an Airbnb.
Many consider health care to be a risky investment given its uncertain future, but Impact Health’s mission is to make consumers more comfortable in making choices. Foundry group does not seem to share the concern of others, and neither does TechStars, who both came together to invest $13 million in Impact Health. TechStars was also founded by Brad Feld, a managing director at Foundry Group.
2. Access Venture Partners
Access Venture Partners is managed by David Gold (Managing Director), Kirk Hollan, Frank Mendicino III, Brian Wallace, Jay Campion, and Frank Mendicino II. Founded in 1999 in Colorado, with offices in both Denver and Boulder. Access Venture Partners has experienced exceptional success in their funding strategy. Their investment focus is in technology companies with a need for early-stage investment partners. Their investment portfolio includes; Kapost, CommercialTribe, Craftsy, Inspirato, Kapta, and LogRhythm.
Recently, AVP funded ShapeShift, a digital coinage converter. The company converts digital currency such as Bitcoin into Ether or vice versa. AVP invested $1 million into the startup. David Gold likened ShapeShifts innovation of dealing with online currency to the emergence of the internet in the 1990’s.
“There was a minority of people who knew what the World Wide Web was, but those who knew thought it could change a lot of things,” said David Gold.
3. High Country Venture
The partners for High Country Venture includes Mark Lupa, Chris Marks, Scott Beck, Robert Schmideler, and Karin Boergers. Founded in 2005, in Boulder, Colorado, HCV invests in early-stage companies. They also invest primarily in the areas of life sciences, including biotechnology, diagnostics, medical devices, and internet technology. The firm’s portfolio includes; EndoShape, Collective IP, Mosaic Biosciences, LogRhythm, and Lijit.
4. Boulder Ventures
Founded in 1995, in Boulder, Colorado, Boulder Ventures is managed by Kyle Lefkoff (Partner), and Peter Roshko (Partner). BV’s investment stage focus is on early stage and emerging growth businesses. Their primary investment partners are Colorado technology companies. Their portfolio includes; BroadHop, CenterStone Technologies, and Sovern.
Recently BV invested in SyncHR, a new U.S based company. Their software provides human capital management to businesses in a Saas solution.
In an announcement, Boulder Ventures General Partner Peter Roshko said SyncHR “provides unparalleled automation and innovation in the human capital management industry that differentiates their SaaS platform from the competition.” In extension to the fresh funding, SyncHR highlighted what it said was a “year of record growth for the company.”
5. Sequel Venture Partners
Management at Sequel Venture Partners includes; Tim Connor (Partner), John Greff (Partner) Kinney Johnson (Partner, Dan Mitchell (Partner), and Tom Washing (Partner). Founded in 2010 in Boulder, Colorado, Sequel Venture Partners focuses its investment on healthcare, enterprise IT, clean technology and internet-based services. Their portfolio includes Cardiovascular Systems Inc, Myogen Inc, Wall Street on Demand, and Homesphere Inc.
Lately, SVP invested $3 million into San Antonio’s Xenex Disinfection Services, which sells robotic and ultraviolet equipment used to disinfect hospital rooms. Since their initial launch in June 2010, Xenex devices have been distributed to four hundred hospitals to improve infection control protocols.
6. Greenmont Capital Partners
The team at Greenmont Capital Partners includes Todd Woloson (Managing Director), and David Haynes (Managing Director). Founded in 2004, Greenmont Capital has been making impact investments in high growth consumer products. Their operations are strategically located in Boulder, Colorado, a city widely regarded as the epicenter of the natural products industry. Their investment focus is on growth stage companies in consumer branded lifestyle and sustainable products. Their portfolio includes Madhava Natural Sweeteners, Door to Door Organics, and Uncle Matt’s Organic.
Greenmont Capital Partners had previously invested in the organic juice company Uncle Matt’s Organic. The company was successfully sold to Dean Foods the largest processor and distributor of dairy products in the U.S. The company sold for an undisclosed amount five years after GCP’s initial investment.
7. Meritage Funds
David Solomon manages Meritage Funds along with Jack Tankersley (Managing Director), and Laura Beller (Managing Director). MF was founded more than 30 years ago when its founders came together to manage institutional venture capital and private equity funds. In 2014, the founders decided to stop raising institutional capital and instead, opted to pool personal resources to invest. The venture capital firm invests primarily in technology-enabled services and recurring-revenue businesses. Based in Denver, Colorado, their portfolio includes; Crisp, DatAvail, Digital Fortress, and Faction.
8. Altira Group LLC
Altira Group is managed by Dirk McDermott (Managing Director), Hull McKinnon (Partner), Sean Abert (Partner), and Marc Gulley (CFO). Located in Denver, Colorado, Altira Group focuses on venture and growth stage investment between $5-30 million. They primarily invest in oil and gas technology companies. Their investment profile includes; RigNet, MicroSeismic, Deep Flex, Helix Canyon Offshore, and DHI Services.
Since their founding in 1997, Altira has funded over $1 billion with organizations in 50 countries. Now they are partnering with four E&Ps as they put their sixth fund onto the market. Sean Ebert had this to say when discussing the role of big data in the oil and gas industry:
“The industry has accepted the new norm of lower commodity prices and that generating healthy returns will depend on optimizing net recovery and individual good performance. We need integrated insights to optimize decision making, with technology underpinning the value chain,” Ebert said. “Companies must make decisions in real time while leveraging Big Data and Artificial Intelligence to achieve predictive analytics over a well’s lifecycle.”
9. KRG Capital
The management team at KRG Capital includes Bruce Rogers (Co-Founder and Managing Director), Ted Nark (Managing Director), Stewart Fisher (Managing Director), Bennett Thompson (Managing Director), and Colton King (Managing Director). Founded in Denver, Colorado, in 1996, KRG Capital invests in hyper-growth companies. Additionally, their primary focus is on specialty distribution, marketing services, manufacturing, and business services. KRG Capitals investment portfolio includes; ATI Investments, Aurora Diagnostics, Convergint Technologies, Fort Dearborn Company, and Home Solutions.
10. PV Ventures
PV Ventures is managed by Bill Miller (founder and managing partner), and Aaron Stachel (Principal). Founded in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the firm focus on investments in the seed and growth stage. They do not have a particular industry that they invest in although they tend to concentrate on Colorado companies. Their investment portfolio includes Altia, iWanamaker, Open Road Snacks, Sedulous Foods, and SpotRight.
Within their investment profile is Colorado Springs-based company BurstIQ. Funded by PV Ventures in 2015 with $250,000 BurstIQ is preparing to launch an ICO next month. BurstIQ is a blockchain-based health data company that collects data from mobile devices and sensor. It then integrates into a common analytical model saved in the cloud-based collection platform. The method aggregates all health data, including hospital stays, information from wearable devices and doctor visits.
What Makes Colorado so Appealing?
Entrepreneurs and startups are doing incredibly well in Colorado along with the VC firms that fund them. So what makes Colorado and cities like Denver and Boulder so appealing?
Well, Boulder isn’t new to the startup world, it has been nurturing up and coming industries since the 1960’s. In 2010, Boulder had six times more high-tech startups per capita than the nation’s average. An article in The New Yorker stated that “between the summers of 2014 and 2015, Denver was the fastest-growing large city in the country. Its population increased by nearly three percent, a growth rate that surpassed that of Las Vegas, Austin, and Seattle, all of which have had turns at the top of the list. Denver also became one of the twenty most populous cities in the U.S., dislodging Detroit.”
Denver has also become one of the most powerful magnets for young graduates and professionals. According to the New York Times, Denver’s population of young and college educated has bloomed by 47% since 2000. This increase is almost double that of the New York metro area. Denver has many of the lifestyle aspects young people want, like mountains, outdoor sports, affordable housing, sunshine, and too many job openings to count.
The startup scene is perhaps so popular and successful in Colorado that it will soon rival the likes of Silicon Valley. Young, talented entrepreneurs have the opportunity to live in a place they love and build an organization with some of the brightest individuals in the United States.
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