Author: Miller Chase

Boulder-based Black Bear Energy raises $2.5M Series A funding round

BOULDER — Black Bear Energy Inc., announced on Monday that the 15-month-old Boulder company has raised a $2.5 million Series A round of funding to scale its model of helping large businesses and commercial real-estate owners integrate renewable energy into their buildings.

Local venture-capital firm Boulder Ventures led the round, with participation also coming from Black Bear seed investor Rocky Mountain Institute.

Drew Torbin

Drew Torbin

Kim Saylors-Laster

Kim Saylors-Laster

Black Bear CEO Drew Torbin said in an interview Monday that the company has already added two employees in the wake of the new funding round and is hiring for a third — a junior-level analyst — that will bring the firm’s employee count to eight. Black Bear’s employees are split between Boulder and Arkansas, where executive vice president Kim Saylors-Lastor is based.

Founded by Torbin in April of last year, Black Bear works as a buyer’s agent for large property owners, helping them identify energy-efficiency options that exist in their building portfolios and then seek out bids, execute contracts and oversee construction of the projects.

It’s the type of work that Torbin and Saylors-Laster did for Prologis and Walmart, respectively, in building the two largest on-site corporate solar programs in the United States. But Torbin said it’s also work that most companies don’t have the expertise to engage in, even though they know there is untapped potential in their portfolios.

The bulk of Black Bear’s work is in facilitating solar projects, but the company also does work in energy storage, fuel cells and lighting.

“We realized pretty quickly that the market had a latent demand for our services, and we’ve been working pretty quickly to work with these large customers ever since,” Torbin said.

Torbin declined to disclose revenue, but the company says it is already serving clients that represent more than 1 billion square feet of property.

“We’ve got a big pipeline, big and growing,” Torbin said.

Started last year with a $500,000 seed funding from Rocky Mountain Institute and Carbon War Room, Black Bear will use the new funding not only to add employees but also to continue the buildout of a software platform that will make the company more efficient in the services it provides.

“All of our best companies spring from the authentic experiences of our serial entrepreneurs,” Kyle Lefkoff, founder and general partner at Boulder Ventures, said in a news release. “Drew and Kim are the most experienced people in this market, and the overwhelming response of their customers to Black Bear Energy validates their unique approach.”

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UQM nearly doubles revenue but records $2M loss for quarter

LONGMONT — UQM Technologies Inc. on Thursday reported a loss of $2 million, or 4 cents per share, for the first quarter of its fiscal year 2017 that ended June 30.

UQM (NYSE: UQM) designs and manufactures electric motors, generators, power electronic controllers and fuel-cell compressors for the commercial truck, bus, automotive, marine, military and industrial markets.

The company, with operations in southwest Weld County, nearly doubled its revenue for the quarter compared with the same period a year ago. UQM posted revenue of $1.4 million, compared with $741,000 in the first quarter last year, an increase of 94 percent.

“We are pleased with the results of the first quarter,” Joe Mitchell, UQM Technologies’ president and chief executive, said in a prepared statement. “Revenue increased in our base North American business, with particular sales growth of our heavy-duty electric propulsion systems, … “We are starting to see some stabilization in the North American market as we prepare for the next phase of our business development in the Asia market.”

UQM announced in June that it had struck a deal to sell a controlling stake in the company to a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Hybrid Kinetic Group Limited for $48 million in cash.

Lightning Hybrids raises $2.3M in new funding

LOVELAND — Lightning Hybrids LLC has raised $2.3 million in new funding as the Loveland-based company continues to try and fuel growth.

The company disclosed the fundraising — a combination of equity and debt — in a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Lightning Hybrids CEO Tim Reeser could not be reached for comment.

The filing indicated that the total offering amount was $4 million, meaning more money could be on the way.

The new cash comes on the heels of a $2 million funding round last year.

Lightning Hybrids, 319 Cleveland Ave., makes hybrid systems for medium- and heavy-duty fleet vehicles. The company employs 44 people, mostly in Loveland.

The company has recently announced large orders from early customers, but spokeswoman Bonnie Trowbridge said she expects that a major announcement regarding a large brand’s fleet could come by mid-September.

Ball Corp. reports $369M in net income for second quarter

BROOMFIELD — Ball Corp. (NYSE: BLL) on Thursday reported net earnings of $369 million, or $2.54 per share, for its second quarter that ended June 30.

The Broomfield-based can manufacturer generated $2.03 billion in revenue for the quarter.

The net earnings included after-tax income of $217 million, or $1.49 per diluted share, associated with the sale of certain assets required by regulators before they approved Ball’s acquisition of London-based metal beverage-can maker Rexam for $6.1 billion in cash and equity at the end of June.

Following the deal, Ball became the largest manufacturer of beverage cans in the world.

By comparison, during the second quarter of last year, Ball Corp. generated $2.2 billion in revenue and net earnings of $160 million, or $1.60 per share.

Ball Corp.’s quarterly results included Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp., a subsidiary based in Boulder, that generated net earnings of $19 million on sales of $193 million for the second quarter, compared with net earnings of $20 million on sales of $230 million in the second quarter of 2015.

“Our strong second-quarter results, the completion of legacy metal packaging growth projects, a robust aerospace backlog and the recent Rexam acquisition provide a very solid foundation for a multiyear, value-compounding growth period for our company and our shareholders,” John A. Hayes, Ball Corp.’s chairman, president and chief executive, said in a prepared statement.

Hayes said one month into the acquisition integration that business-related services and manufacturing operations are running smoothly. “The past 17 months of planning have evolved into action, and the synergy execution process is well underway in all value-capture work streams.”

Broomfield software firm App-X rebrands as Altvia

BROOMFIELD — Application Experts, a 10-year-old software company commonly known as App-X, has rebranded as Altvia in an attempt to better align its name with its services.

The company’s software helps private-equity and venture-capital firms streamline the flow of communication and information between fund managers, portfolio companies and limited partners or prospective investors.

The first part of the Altvia name, company officials said, is a nod not only to alternative investments, but also to height or ascension. Combined with the Latin via, meaning road or way, they said the new name reflects the company’s drive to help clients create “a path to the top.”

“We have a lot of wind in our sails in terms of momentum, and we felt like now was the right time to do it, to have the name of the company and the branding match what we’ve been doing all along,” CEO and founder Kevin Kelly said in an interview.

Kelly said Altvia is projected to hit revenue of between $4.2 million and $4.3 million this year, up from $2.7 million just two years ago. The company has 27 employees, all based at 590 Burbank St. in Broomfield, where the firm earlier this year nearly doubled its office space.

Kelly said he expects to continue adding two to four employees per year, as well as add offices in other cities known as more-traditional financial centers in the near future.

Altvia went through the Techstars startup accelerator in 2008, but took the course after that of bootstrapping the business rather than raising outside capital.

Kelly said Altvia is actively looking at options for expansion and doesn’t rule out raising capital in the future.

“But we’re a very viable growing concern as we are without that,” he said.

Array BioPharma shares spike following 2Q earnings report

BOULDER — Shares of Array BioPharma Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRY) had surged nearly 12 percent by mid-afternoon trading Thursday after the release of the company’s fiscal year-end earnings report.

The gains came despite a net loss for the year ending June 30 of $92.8 million as the Boulder-based firm continues with Phase 3 trials for multiple cancer drugs and prepares for commercialization.

Array’s net loss equated to 65 cents per share and compared with a net income of $9.4 million, or 7 cents per share, for the previous fiscal year, which was bolstered by a one-time $80 million payment from Novartis related to Array’s binimetinib and encorafenib programs.

Revenue for the 2016 fiscal year climbed to $137.9 million, up from $51.9 million the previous year, also due largely to reimbursement revenue from Novartis.

Array in June submitted a New Drug Application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seeking approval for the use of binimetinib in the treatment of NRAS-mutant melanoma. The drug is also being examined in a pair of other Phase 3 trials in combination with other drugs to treat BRAF melanoma and colorectal cancer.

Array’s share price has climbed steadily since February, and was at $4.58 by mid-afternoon Thursday, up 48 cents from Wednesday’s close.

Heska shares soar on 2Q earnings gains

LOVELAND – Shares of Heska Corp. (Nasdaq: HSKA), which makes veterinary diagnostic and specialty products, were up more than 11 percent in Wednesday afternoon trading after the company posted major year-over-year gains in net income and revenue for the second quarter.

The Loveland-based company reported net income for the period ending June 30 of $2.5 million, or 35 cents per diluted share, more than double the marks of $1.2 million and 17 cents per share for the same period a year earlier.

Revenue for the second quarter, meanwhile, came in at $30 million, up 25 percent over a year ago.

Heska’s Core Companion Animal Health segment saw sales rise 18 percent to $24.5 million on strong performance from blood testing instruments, consumables and digital imaging, company officials said. The company’s Other Vaccines, Pharmaceuticals and Products segment, meanwhile, climbed 74 percent to $5.5 million.

The company finished the second quarter with $6.7 million in cash. Stockholder’s equity increased from $63.5 million as of Dec. 31 to $75.7 million as of June 30.

As the trading day neared its close Wednesday, Heska shares were trading at $48.50 apiece, up $4.89 from Tuesday’s close.

Advanced Energy reports improved earnings for Q2

FORT COLLINS — Advanced Energy Industries Inc. (Nasdaq: AEIS) on Monday reported an increase in revenue and profit for its second quarter that ended June 30 compared with the same quarter a year ago.

The Fort Collins-based maker of power and control products used in semiconductors, flat-panel displays and other electronics, reported sales of $118.8 million for the quarter, up from $108.7 million for the same quarter a year ago and up from $103 during the first quarter of this year.

Profit for the quarter was $27.3 million, or 68 cents per share, compared with $20.2 million, or 50 cents per share during the first quarter, and $23.0 million, or 56 cents per share in the second quarter of 2015.

“The second quarter exceeded our expectations on the top and bottom line with record contributions from our semiconductor and service businesses and a rebound in our Industrial markets,” Yuval Wasserman, Advanced Energy’s president and chief executive, said in a prepared statement. “Our current performance is a direct result of the adoption of our recent design wins in next-generation 3-D enabling technologies to volume production.”

$1 million gift to BioFrontiers Institute to aid CU grad students

BOULDER — A couple in California has given a $1 million gift to the University of Colorado’s BioFrontiers Institute in Boulder to establish a fund for graduate students participating in an interdisciplinary bioscience program.

John F. Milligan and Kathryn Bradford-Milligan’s gift will start the Olke C. Uhlenbeck Endowed Graduate Fund that will support first-year grad students pursuing doctorates in one of nine academic departments and includes additional coursework in interdisciplinary bioscience.

The fellowship is intended to fund each recipient for a two-year period for roughly $55,000 and is expected to be awarded every other year beginning in fall 2016.

The funding will support tuition and stipend costs for first-year graduate students pursuing doctoral degrees as part of the BioFrontiers IQ Biology PhD Certificate program.

Milligan is president and chief of California-based Gilead Sciences Inc. that has operations in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. The biopharma company is focused on discovering, developing and commercializing therapeutics and advancing the care of patients suffering from life-threatening diseases worldwide.

Milligan spent two years of his doctoral studies in Uhlenbeck’s lab at CU Boulder after it was moved from the University of Illinois in 1986. Milligan subsequently joined Gilead Sciences as a research scientist.

Uhlenbeck, an internationally known biochemist, spent 16 years at CU Boulder at a time when the university was becoming a leader in RNA research. He was elected into the National Academy of Sciences in 1993 and is a founding member of the RNA Society, which publishes the scientific journal RNA.

“I really value the time I spent at CU Boulder with Olke,” Milligan said in a prepared statement. “I appreciate the conversations we had as I developed into a scientist. He also taught me to be a leader by showing me what it meant to be engaged in research and intellectually curious.”

Distinguished professor Tom Cech, director of the BioFrontiers Institute, will participate in selecting the first Uhlenbeck Fellow from the incoming class of IQ Biology students this fall. Cech shared the 1989 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his discovery that RNA in living cells is not only a molecule of heredity but also can function as a catalyst.