Category: Media, Printing & Graphics

Colorado Tech directory published

Colorado Tech - 2016The latest edition of Colorado Tech, a directory of technology companies in Colorado, has been published by BizWest Media LLC, in partnership with the Colorado Technology Association. The directory includes more than 2,500 tech-related companies, concentrated mainly along the Front Range.

Companies are categorized by area of specialty, including contact information, services, etc.

“Colorado Tech highlights one of the most important employment sectors in the state,” said Jeff Nuttall, publisher of BizWest. “No other publication includes as much data on Colorado’s technology scene. We look forward to continuing to work with the Colorado Technology Association to expand this powerful database.”

Copies of Colorado Tech will be sent to regional subscribers of BizWest, as well as to companies listed in the directory. Additional copies will be distributed through the Colorado Technology Association at events throughout the year.

A digital edition of Colorado Tech is available here.

An Excel spreadsheet of the directory is also available for download at www.bizwest.com.

New Hope Network, Sovrn Holdings to move into renovated east Boulder space

BOULDER — Construction is underway on a 60,000-square-foot renovation of and addition to an old warehouse building in Flatiron Park in east Boulder that when completed will house employees of Penton’s New Hope Network and Sovrn Holdings, two companies already in Boulder.

The building at 5541 Central, owned by Goff Capital Partners LP, will be called The Loading Dock. Designer OZ Architecture is reusing the former warehouse and a loading dock that will serve as an elevated boardwalk that connects to the indoor office. OZ Architecture has offices in Boulder, Denver and Colorado Springs.  Boulder-based Quinlan Construction Inc. is the general contractor for the project.

 

New Hope Network, which provides services to businesses in the healthy lifestyle products industry, will move from its downtown headquarters at 1401 Pearl St. and occupy 30,000 square feet. Tech firm Sovrn Holdings, which helps publishers grow their businesses on the Web, will move from its offices at 1750 29th St. and will occupy 30,000 square feet.

An architectural rendering shows a portion of the interior of The Loading Dock. (Courtesy OZ Architecture)

An architectural rendering shows a portion of the interior of The Loading Dock. (Courtesy OZ Architecture)

Both companies will be leasing space.

The renovation is incorporating cross-laminated timber, which is made from engineered wood panels laminated together in alternating directions and has the look of heavy, old-growth lumber. Using cross-laminated timber offers waste reduction and environmental benefits because it is sourced using sustainable forestry practices and the boards are precisely pre-cut, which creates less material waste. The pieces arrive organized and numbered, allowing the building to be assembled on site. The primary structure of The Loading Dock will be erected in approximately one day later this month, according to spokeswoman Cori Keeton Pope.

The project also is incorporating photovoltaic roof panels, and energy-saving mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.

Editor’s note: Due to inaccurate information initially provided to BizWest, the size of the project and the amount of space New Hope Network and Sovrn Holdings will occupy was corrected June 14.

 

 

Is everybody appy? Developers race to meet companies’ mobile ‘app’-etites

BOULDER — Considering a mobile app for your business? The bad news is that you won’t be among the first, and the good news is you won’t be among the first.

Brad Weber, president of Inspiring Apps of Boulder, said his company has been developing mobile apps for the better part of eight years, which was soon after the iPhone was first introduced. From a few early consumer apps his company put on the App Store, his business soon became all about mobile apps.

“It wasn’t that long that small and mid-sized businesses began to come in for apps,” Weber said. “In three or four years, the big corporations were on board.”

Today, Inspiring Apps has 16 employees, about half of them software engineers. The company has designed apps for companies ranging from innovative local startups to corporate giants such as Toyota, Gulfstream, Cisco, Weyerhaeuser and the U.S. Golf Association.

Weber said there really isn’t an industry that doesn’t use mobile apps today, and a typical budget runs from $50,000 to $150,000.

“It’s certainly possible to spend $1 million to get something developed, and it’s a little less possible to get something developed for $20,000,” he said.

But that’s where not getting into the app field early might prove profitable. About half of Inspiring Apps’ workload is for productivity applications — apps that are designed to enable workflow, rather than advertise or entertain. Because of this, the company has developed some turnkey solutions for both iOS and Android devices, including Reps, a presentation software, and Work Crews, which helps schedule and monitor employees out in the field.

According to The Global State of Enterprise Mobility 2016, a survey released April 16 by the Enterprise Mobility Exchange, mobile apps designed to increase productivity accounted for about 72 percent of the apps that will be undertaken by the companies it surveyed this year. Other top reasons to undertake mobile apps, according to the company, included improving customer service, improving operational efficiency, reducing costs and remaining competitive.

Daun Davids is the founder of Sky Woman Technology LLC, a Fort Collins company that started in 2014 and develops applications for Android phones and tablets.

Daun Davids is the founder of Sky Woman Technology LLC, a Fort Collins company that started in 2014 and develops applications for Android phones and tablets. Joel Blocker/For BizWest

The survey, which had no breakdown in the number of companies surveyed or the size of those companies, had some rather brow-raising figures about what is being spent on mobile apps, with more than a quarter of the respondents planning to spent in excess of $1.5 million. However, 29 percent of the respondents said they planned to spend between $250,000 and $500,000 and almost a quarter said they planned to spend less than $250,000.

Native apps — developed in either iOS, Android or (less likely) Windows — are key to productivity-orientated uses. Apps also can be developed in HTML5, which will work on both operating systems, but development here appears to be slipping dramatically.

In Fort Collins, Daun Davids of Sky Woman Technology LLC, said her one-woman firm does a great deal of its work in creating Android apps from existing iPhone technology. A great deal of app development takes place in iOS, even though iPhone only control about 38 percent of the U.S. market, with Android controlling about 59 percent and Windows less than 3 percent.

“Most people start by making an iOS app, but I think Android is the real growing market,” said Davids, who recently started doing mobile development after spending much of her career doing Java.

While many mobile apps are developed on both iOS and Android, Davids said developers have to be aware that users won’t be comfortable seeing the exact same presentation.

“I spend a lot of time explaining to clients that Android users don’t have the same expectations that iPhone users have,” she said. “Android users expect a different look than an iOS app, and the user experience and design part of it is really critical to creating a fundamentally sound app.”

Mobile development is hardly limited to design firms today, however. Cardinal Peak in Lafayette is a contract engineering firm specializing in digital audio and video and Internet of Things (IoT) products and lists clients such as Ball Aerospace, Comcast, DirectTV and Samsung.

Work Crews by Inspiring Apps helps companies with workers in the field, such as construction and landscaping companies, manage scheduling, track logistics and improve customer service.

Work Crews by Inspiring Apps helps companies with workers in the field, such as construction and landscaping companies, manage scheduling, track logistics and improve customer service. Courtesy Inspiring Apps

Today mobile apps are involved in more than half of the engineering jobs coming in the door, said Kevin Courter, director of mobile engineering. Cardinal Peak does native development in both Android and iOS, although he didn’t see one outweighing the other in cases where only one operating system was deployed.

“The key to success in mobile applications is a deep understanding of what our clients’ needs are and the top engineering acumen to meet those needs,” Courter said. “A mobile app is only as good as the service infrastructure behind it.”

App developers said they see interest from almost the entire spectrum of potential clients, although often you do see certain operating systems deployed more in some fields.

For instance, “there’s a lot of app development in medical fields, and they are very much concentrated on iOS development,” Weber said. “But in the beginning, it was almost all iOS.”

Weber said in the beginning his business also did some HTML5 development for entertainment and marketing apps, but today it’s almost entirely native development.

A great deal of mobile development today doesn’t need to be advertised, because it is not consumer facing. For those applications that are consumer facing, it’s gotten a little more difficult to make sure that app can be found.

“Certainly with hundreds of thousands of apps, they aren’t going to find it in the App Store or Google Play,” Weber said. “We work diligently with people on marketing their apps, whether it be in print, broadcast or social media.”

Should any business sector believe that mobile apps are not viable?

“I’m not in the business of telling clients their idea sucks. Look at all the weird ideas that turned out to be huge,” Weber said. “But people do come to us for feedback all the time, and you really need to focus on the execution of their plan.

“There’s a little magic in building a product that people will love, but researching markets and focusing on what customers really want is important.”

Chinese group acquiring Lexmark for $3.6 billion

BOULDER — Lexington, Ken.-based Lexmark International Inc. (NYSE: LXK), the printer manufacturer that employs 200 people at its development and manufacturing facility in Boulder, has agreed to be acquired by a Chinese consortium led by Apex Technology for $3.6 billion in an all-cash transaction.

Apex Technology, which is listed on China’s technology-focused Shenzhen Composite, PAG Asia Capital, a Hong Kong-based asset manager and Beijing-headquartered venture-capital firm Legend Capital Management have offered $40.50 in cash per Lexmark share. The deal will be financed through a combination of equity contributions by the consortium and debt. It is expected to be completed in the second half of this year.

Workers in Boulder make toner and photoconductor drums for use in laser-printer cartridges. They also perform tests, and design and develop new technology at 6555 Monarch Road, west of IBM’s campus at Colorado highways 119 and 52.

The consortium said it intends to keep Lexmark’s corporate headquarters in Lexington and Lexmark’s two business groups, Imaging Solutions and Services and Enterprise Software. The company’s regional operations are expected to continue unaffected and benefit strategically and financially from the transaction, according to a company statement.

Lexmark officials in Boulder did not immediately return calls requesting a comment.

Lexmark’s board of directors unanimously approved the offer, which represents a 16.8 percent premium to the company’s Tuesday close in New York of $34.66. It also represents a 30 percent premium to its closing stock price on Oct. 21 prior to the news of Lexmark’s exploration of strategic alternatives becoming public,” the company said in a statement.

In after-hours trading Tuesday, Lexmark shares were up 11.3 per cent at $38.57 and were at $38.12 mid-day Wednesday.

“As part of the Consortium, Lexmark will be able to reach the next level of growth and innovation, to the benefit of our customers, business partners and suppliers, faster than we could achieve on our own,” Paul Rooke, Lexmark’s chairman and chief executive, said in a prepared statement. “With the Consortium’s resources, we will be able to continue to invest in and grow the business to more fully penetrate the Asia Pacific market for hardware, software and managed print services.

Rooke will continue to run Lexmark from Lexington. Last year, the company cut approximately 1,100 positions worldwide in a restructuring, with some of the jobs to be shifted to lower-cost countries. The restructuring was expected to save Lexmark $67 million in 2016 and $100 million beginning in 2017.

In February earnings reports, the company said quarterly revenue was down more than 5 percent, but the gross profit margin rose from 35.2 percent to 39.8 percent. Earnings per share were up slightly in 2015.

The acquisition still must be approved by Lexmark shareholders, receive regulatory approval in the United States including the Committee on Foreign Investment, China and certain other foreign jurisdictions, and other customary closing conditions.Upon the close of the transaction, Lexmark’s common stock will cease to be publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Sovrn Holdings completes acquisition of London-based OnScroll

BOULDER — Sovrn Holdings Inc., an online advertising and publisher platform business based in Boulder, on Wednesday announced it has completed the acquisition of London-based OnScroll.

Terms of the deal between the privately held companies were not disclosed.

Sovrn acquires OnScroll’s in-view ad technology, an experienced team and a customer-base in the United Kingdom.

“With this deal, Sovrn gains an incredibly smart and dedicated group of people committed to helping publishers capture more value from the attention they create,” Walter Knapp, Sovrn’s chief executive, said in prepared statement.

Sovrn will integrate the OnScroll technology into the its Meridian platform so all publishers can access OnScroll technology for display-, video- and mobile-advertising inventory as well as reporting on active reader engagement.

OnScroll co-founder Andy Evans will lead Sovrn’s team in the United Kingdom and Europe as managing director, and co-founder Babac Vafaey will be vice president of business operations for the U.K. and Europe.

Sovrn was established in 2014 when San Francisco-based Federated Media Publishing sold its name and the content-marketing portion of its business to LIN Digital Media LLC, rebranded as Sovrn and moved its headquarters to Boulder. Federated Media had built the advertising and publisher platform side of its business through the 2011 acquisition of Boulder-based Lijit Networks Inc.

Visibl rebrands as Brandzooka, raises $1.5M equity round

BOULDER — Local ad-tech startup Visibl – cofounded last year by former Crispin Porter + Bogusky exec Alex Bogusky — announced on Thursday a $1.5 million funding round and a rebranding of the company to Brandzooka.

Digital marketing agency IMM led the investment, along with Galvanize Ventures, eonCapital Ventures, Mahalo Capital and RSVP Ventures.

Aquiles La Grave, co-founder and CEO of Boulder-based Brandzooka, said Tuesday that the new cash will help the firm accelerate development of its programmatic video marketing software platform that enables small businesses to place their videos in front of highly targeted audiences on the websites of major content providers like CNN or the New York Times.

Such capabilities previously have been available only to large enterprises that can afford an advertising agency with similar programmatic capabilities. That’s because it typically takes a minimum buy of $250,000 or more, La Grave said. Brandzooka’s platform gives businesses the ability to make buys as small as $50 for a guaranteed number of clicks, removing the ad agency layer. Brandzooka makes money by trying to place orders at a slightly better cost than what is purchased and keeping the difference.

The platform aims to give small businesses much greater visibility for their videos, rather than just the usual channels available to them like YouTube, Facebook and the companies’ own websites. Thus, those small businesses are able to compete with large corporations for advertising space.

“All thy need to do is have a video and have an idea of who they want to see that video,” La Grave said. “If you see an ad on nytimes.com, you’re not thinking it’s a small advertiser working out of his garage.”

La Grave said the new funding will help Brandzooka roll out several new features over the coming months, and it could also help the company double to as many as 25 employees by the end of the year.

Founded by La Grave, Bogusky and Kelly Dotseth in May of last year, Brandzooka released its first beta version in October. La Grave declined to disclose revenue or a specific number of users other than to say the number of users is in the thousands. But he said the lineup of investors itself indicates “significant revenue.”

Bogusky serves on the company’s board of directors in what La Grave termed a sort of hands-on executive chairman role with plenty of input on product design and features.

Brandzooka is up to 12 employees from a count of three just six months ago. La Grave said he’s expecting to close out the year with closer to 25. While most of the hiring will be in Boulder, the company is also looking at establishing sales offices in New York and Los Angeles this year.

“We’re really excited about the level of funding we’ve been able to close,” he said.

Madwire moving from Loveland to Fort Collins

FORT COLLINS — Marketing-software firm Madwire LLC said Thursday it will relocate employees at three sites in Loveland to the former Hewlett-Packard Co. campus in Fort Collins.

Madwire will move its 250-plus employees in Loveland to Fort Collins, where it will lease 66,553 square feet of space at 3420 E. Harmony Road, Building 5, from Hewlett-Packard. It is three times the space it has been occupying at the three locations in Loveland.

Consolidating the workforce into one building will help streamline internal operations and further enhance the culture for the company, said spokeswoman Farra Larimore. Madwire hopes to be able to move in late spring or early summer of this year. Larimore said the space will allow Madwire to grow to 550 employees over the next several years.

Madwire was founded in 2009 by Joe Kellogg and his son J.B. Kellogg. The company reported revenue of $18.9 million in 2014, and has been on BizWest’s Mercury 100 list of fastest-growing companies in Northern Colorado for the past four years.

Madwire provides marketing software and services through a platform called Marketing 360.

Madwire’s partnerships with Google as Premier SMB Partner and with Microsoft and Yahoo as small-business partners, continues to be fuel for advancing its technology.

She added that 65 percent of Madwire’s employees live in Fort Collins, with 28 percent living in Loveland and 7 percent in surrounding areas.

Larimore said the H-P campus boasts many employee-friendly amenities such as a cafeteria, walking path, Frisbee golf course and baseball fields. Madwire will provide a 3,000-square-foot gym and fitness classes for its employees.

Joe, left, and JB Kellogg founded Madwire in 2009. Its headquarters is at 504 W. Eisenhower Blvd. in Loveland.

Joe, left, and JB Kellogg founded Madwire in 2009. Its current headquarters is at 504 W. Eisenhower Blvd. in Loveland. Joel Blocker/for BizWest

Madwire is vacating two buildings it owns and another space it is leasing in Loveland. The two buildings it owns are at 504 W. Eisenhower Blvd. and 550 W. Eisenhower Blvd. It was leasing space at 228 E. Fourth St. above the Rialto Theater. Larimore said Madwire will lease out the space at both buildings on Eisenhower and sublease space at the Rialto Theater.

 

Glassdoor names Madwire Media best place to work in U.S.

LOVELAND — Madwire Media this week earned the Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award as the best small business to work at in the United States.

The award is part of Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work in 2016 rankings, which include a list of the top 50 large and small companies. The rankings are based on employees’ feedback on their own jobs, work environments and companies through the Glassdoor website.

Loveland-based Madwire is a digital marketing firm that has boomed since its founding in 2009. The company has 220 employees and posted 2014 revenue of $18.9 million. The company has reportedly been exploring a possible move to Fort Collins as it looks to expand.

“We are so honored to receive this prestigious award, and it’s probably my most favorite award that we have ever won” Madwire CEO JB Kellogg said in a release. “We have created a culture that breeds creativity, innovation and pride ourselves in maintaining a family feel.”

Cannabis market-research firm in Boulder raises $1.5M

BOULDER — BDS Analytics, a Boulder-based market-research firm that focuses on the cannabis industry, has closed on its first round of funding, raising $1.5 million.

The round was backed by angel and institutional investors and exceeded its goal of $900,000, the company said Thursday.

BDS Analytics, co-founded by Roy Bingham and Liz Stahura, has a software platform that captures information from dispensary point-of-sale systems that is then analyzed.

Bingham, a Harvard MBA and former McKinsey consultant, said he started BDS Analytics to provide companies in the emerging cannabis industry with sophisticated, sales-based data that is commonplace and essential in other, more established industries. In those industries, market research — and consumer behavior — drive everything from new product development to inventory and branding decisions.

Stahura, who spent the past decade at a national market-research firm, believes that all verticals in the cannabis industry, from dispensaries to the brands they stock, will benefit from BDS Analytics’ platform.

“The cannabis industry is getting more complex and competitive, and entrepreneurs need better data to make smarter decisions,” Stahura said.

Boulder ad-tech firm sovrn Holdings raises $18M funding round

BOULDER — Advertising technology firm sovrn Holdings Inc. on Wednesday afternoon announced that the company has closed an $18 million round of funding led by Boulder-based Foundry Group.

Company officials stated in a press release that the cash infusion would be used to “accelerate both organic and inorganic growth opportunities.”

In addition to Foundry Group, Oak Investment Partners, Archer Venture Acquisitions and John Battelle participated in the round.

Boulder-based sovrn provides a programmatic advertising platform that helps online publishers sell their unsold advertising inventory to ad agencies through real-time online auctions.

“We see exciting areas for growth in the ad tech market and we wanted to buttress our already strong balance sheet in order to quickly take advantage of opportunities,” sovrn CEO Walter Knapp said in the release.

Sovrn formed out of a deal in early 2014 that saw San-Francisco-based Federated Media Publishing sell its name and content marketing business to Texas-based LIN Digital Media. The remaining online advertising and publisher platform business was rebranded as sovrn Holdings Inc., with Boulder as its headquarters. Federated Media had built the sovrn side of its business through the 2011 acquisition of Boulder-based Lijit Networks Inc.

Sovrn has offices in Denver, San Francisco and New York.

The company employs about 125 people in all, including roughly 100 at its Twenty Ninth Street mall headquarters in Boulder. Vice president of marketing Mark Piquette said the company would be adding staff in the wake of the funding, mostly in Boulder, but said it’s hard to say how many people over the next 12 months.

The privately held company doesn’t disclose revenue but officials said second quarter sales this year beat last year by 90 percent. Piquette said more double-digit growth is projected for 2016.