Category: Sectors

Biodesix raises additional $7M from sale of preferred shares

BOULDER — Biodesix Inc. has raised $7 million on a follow-on sale of its offering of series F preferred shares, bringing the total amount raised for the round to $24.8 million.

The Boulder-based diagnostic test-maker had raised nearly $17.8 million in February through the Series F funding round. A preferred stock is a class of ownership in a corporation that has a higher claim on its assets and earnings than common stock.

The additional capital was provided by existing Biodesix investors and will be used for the development of new diagnostic tests for clinical use with immunotherapies — treatments that use certain parts of a person’s immune system to fight diseases such as cancer. Biodesix’s blood tests identify which cancer patients could best benefit from various cancer drugs, because most cancer drugs work only on specific sets of the population. In essence, the tests help get the right drugs to the right patients.

The money also will be used to expand the company’s offering of its commercialized tests, Veristrat and GeneStrat.


Array BioPharma appoints Haddock as CFO

BOULDER — Array BioPharma Inc, a biopharmaceutical company based in Boulder, said Thursday it has hired a former executive at Bristol-Myers Squibb as chief financial officer.

 Jason Haddock

Jason Haddock

Jason Haddock will take over for David Horin, who had been acting as Array’s interim CFO. Horin will provide consulting services to Array (Nasdaq: ARRY), which is developing drugs to treat cancer.

Haddock has more than 15 years of financial and operational experience in the biopharma industry. He held leadership positions of increasing responsibility at Bristol-Myers Squibb, a global pharmaceutical company with a strong focus on immuno-oncology therapies, in a variety of accounting, planning, commercial, analytical and business-development capacities for more than 13 years through 2015.

Haddock most recently served as CFO and chief operating officer of BERG Health, an oncology-focused research, diagnostics and development company.

“We are pleased to welcome Jason to Array’s executive team during a pivotal time for our company,” said Ron Squarer, Array’s chief executive. “He brings strong financial and operational expertise across many therapeutic areas and in commercial, medical and operational functions, and is well-versed on the nuances and challenges in the pharmaceutical landscape.”

Array is working toward commercializing two wholly owned drugs in the United States. Array is approaching several near-term milestones, including what the company expects to be positive results from a phase 3 trial and a projected regulatory filing of binimetinib in combination with encorafenib.

Datavail Corp. acquires SC-based software firm 

BROOMFIELD —  Datavail Corp., a provider of managed services for data and database administration, has acquired Art of BI Software, an Oracle analytics consulting company.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In addition to consulting expertise, the acquisition brings to Broomfield-based Datavail a range of software products that will expand Datavail’s expertise in the Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition platform and Hyperion, a management software acquired by Oracle in 2007.

The Oracle platform can provide interactive dashboards, ad hoc queries, mobile analytics, notifications and alerts, enterprise and financial reporting.

Christian Screen, founder and chief executive of Art of BI, headquartered in Fort Mill, S.C., will become the leader of Datavail’s Oracle BI practice.

“We’re excited to bring Christian and his team on board to expand and deepen our expertise in Oracle’s offerings in the BI and analytics space,” Scott Frock, Datavail’s chief operating officer, said in a prepared statement. “This acquisition aligns with our core vision to be a leader in helping clients manage and leverage their data.”

Datavail manages the databases of some of Oracle’s largest and most complex database installations, and works with those clients for end-to-end support, including installation, configuration and managed operational support.

Popsockets hires Bob Africa to head marketing efforts

BOULDER — PopSockets LLC, a Boulder-based designer and manufacturer of mobile-device holders, has hired Bob Africa as chief marketing officer as the company continues to experience rapid growth.

Africa has served for the last five years as president of Kidrobot, a Boulder-based company that creates and sells limited-edition art toys, signature apparel and lifestyle accessories.

Africa has more than 17 years of experience in brand building, product marketing and consumer insight experience. Prior to joining Kidrobot, he held senior leadership positions with Salomon Sports, adidas and Pearl Izumi.

Africa serves as a mentor for entrepreneurs and startups, working with both Techstars and the Boulder-based Boomtown Accelerator. He also volunteers with Achilles International-Colorado, which matches disabled runners and walkers with guides for weekly runs around Boulder.

PopSockets was founded in 2012 by David Barnett. The company’s flagship product, the PopSocket, is a collapsible grip and stand that provides one-hand holding for any mobile device. Its companion product, the PopClip, enables PopSockets users to mount their phones on their dashboards, bathroom mirrors, lockers and other surfaces for hands-free viewing.

Alticast Corp. promotes Fallon to president of Alticast Americas

BROOMFIELD — South Korea-based Alticast Corp., a provider of software used by the global pay-TV industry. has promoted Mike Fallon to president of Alticast Americas, which is based in Broomfield.

Fallon previously headed Alticast’s North American customer-engagement activities. He now takes over Alticast’s business strategy and operational activities in the North American and South American markets. John Carlucci, who had served as president and chief technology officer of Alticast US, will devote all his time as CTO, identifying and commercializing new technologies that can drive business results for pay-TV operators.

“Our success with Videotron, our APAC customers and other operators in North America and worldwide have generated numerous new business and technology opportunities,” said Mansoo Han, Alticast Corp.’s chief executive. “The appointment of Mike Fallon will better enable us to leverage his strategic and leadership skills, while freeing John Carlucci to accelerate the technology solutions that the market is demanding.”

As head of Alticast’s North American professional services efforts, Fallon has helped to drive three consecutive years of increasing revenue growth. During that time, he has worked directly with Tier 1 North American pay-TV operators to determine their business objectives, and has built and leveraged an Alticast team that has expedited the creation of solutions that are meeting customers’ needs.

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.”

Fort Collins, Longmont to host Colorado Tech Tour stops

The Colorado Technology Association’s second-annual Colorado Tech Tour will include stops in Fort Collins and Longmont next week.

Run in conjunction this year with the Aug. 1-5 Tech Week — so declared by Gov. John Hickenlooper — the Tech Tour started last year as a media tour/storytelling platform to showcase the technology activity occurring in Colorado outside of just the Denver metro area.

The Colorado Tech Tour includes government partners such as the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, the Colorado Workforce Development Center, the Colorado Innovation Network and Go Code Colorado.

“It’s basically for us to advocate and showcase all of the work that’s happening all over the state,” said Amy Regnier, director of marketing and events for the CTA. “We’re going out and telling the stories of tech in the state of Colorado.”

This year’s tech tour will start with a stop in Colorado Springs on Monday, Aug. 1, followed by Frisco/Vail on Tuesday, Grand Junction on Wednesday, Fort Collins on Thursday and Longmont on Friday. Panels of local business leaders will be open to the public at each stop to highlight the tech scenes in each region.

The Aug. 4 panel in Fort Collins will be held from noon to 2 p.m. at Innosphere, 320 E. Vine Drive. Moderated by Innosphere CEO Mike Freeman, the panel is slated to include Derek Haynes, CEO of Scout Marketing; Ashley Colpaart, CEO of The Food Corridor; Mark Kollar, founder of St. Renatus; and Marshal Smith, managing developer at Radial Development Group.

The Aug. 5 panel in Longmont will be held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Xilinx campus, 1951 S. Fordham St., and be moderated by Longmont Economic Development Partnership vice president Wendi Nafziger. Participants are expected to include Greg Kleese, site director at Micron Technology, and SensorNova founder Jake Galbreath, as well as officials from Xilinx and Zayo Group.

Rick Gardner tapped to lead EWI Colorado in Loveland

LOVELAND — Rick Gardner has been appointed director of EWI Colorado, a new applied research center in Loveland.

Gardner, who was the director of product development for Boulder-based MinuteKey, a maker of automated kiosks for key-duplication, will lead EWI’s newest facility dedicated to establishing best-in-class technical capabilities in advanced quality-measurement technologies and help manufacturers gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Rick Gardner

Rick Gardner

Gardner also will serve as the spokesman for EWI Colorado, with responsibilities including business development, client relations, government and community relations, operations, and contracts.
EWI is operating in 14,000-square-feet at 815 14th St. S.W. in the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology, the former Agilent Technologies campus that has been idle for the past five years.

EWI, formerly known as Edison Welding Institute, uses engineering and technology to develop, test and implement advanced manufacturing methods for a variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive, defense, energy, government, heavy manufacturing, medical and electronics.

The nonprofit organization is sustained from contract fees paid by companies tapping into its services. EWI’s presence is expected to attract companies to lease space at the 800,000-square-foot campus that has five buildings.

“EWI is thrilled to have such an experienced industry leader to help position EWI Colorado as a national and global leader,” Chris Conrardy, EWI’s vice president of strategic initiatives and chief technology officer, said in a prepared statement.

“With Rick Gardner’s proven track record of building startups and strong ties to the Rocky Mountain manufacturing region, he is a perfect choice for this vital role,” Conrardy said.

Gardner has more than 20 years of industry experience with startups and existing companies building high-performing teams to meet business objectives. He has managed organizations in the development of electronic manufacturing test systems, software/firmware systems, robotic systems, optical imaging systems, rocket and spacecraft propulsion systems.

In May, EWI named Evgueni Todorov as technology leader for nondestructive evaluation and to be in charge of applied research and development activities in advanced process monitoring and quality-assessment technologies at EWI Colorado. EWI also hired Marcie Erion of Loveland as a business-development specialist. While Erion was a business-development specialist for the city of Loveland, she was instrumental in attracting EWI to Loveland and helped assemble a $6 million incentive package funded by the city of Loveland, the state’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade and federal grants through the Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Association’s FourFront Colorado initiative. Each of the three entities provided $2 million.

EWI Colorado is the third location in EWI’s network of technology innovation centers, which includes EWI in Columbus, Ohio, and Buffalo Manufacturing Works in Western New York.

Brad Feld kicks off entrepreneurs-network campaign with $100K gift

BOULDER —  Brad Feld, a national venture capital investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist, has committed $100,000 to kick off the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network Colorado’s new capital campaign.

The network is designed to support entrepreneurs, create jobs and stimulate economic growth in targeted regions of the country by leveraging the resources and intellectual capital of the Blackstone Group, a global investment firm based in New York.

Feld is a resident of Boulder, a managing director of the Boulder-based investment firm Foundry Group and a co-founder of Techstars, a national accelerator program for startups founded in Boulder that has its own investment arm.

BEN Colorado, formed in 2014, is funded by a $3 million gift to the University of Colorado Boulder, part of a three-year grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. BEN Colorado is hosted at CU’s Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship.

Blackstone identified Colorado as a vibrant entrepreneurial region needing better connections between its various high-growth industries and geographies.

The current network of BEN Colorado’s 70 companies employed more than 6,000 people and generated more than $1.4 billion in revenue last year.

“BEN Colorado exemplifies the transformation that can happen when local communities collaborate to tackle big problems,” said Steve Schwarzman, chairman, chief executive and co-founder of Blackstone. “Brad Feld shares Blackstone’s mission, and we thank him for his tireless efforts helping entrepreneurs build the innovative, successful companies Colorado needs to ensure future growth.”

Amy Stursberg, executive director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, said Feld has been an advocate of the BEN Colorado program since its inception, and this gift is the cornerstone in a campaign that will develop a sustainable program in support of furthering entrepreneurship and job growth in Colorado.

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CSU researchers to study Swiss firm’s attempt to fight Zika virus

FORT COLLINS — Researchers at Colorado State University will conduct federally sponsored tests of a Swiss company’s citrus-based insecticide to see if it’s effective against mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus.

The research is being sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. CSU researchers, working under NIAID’s preclinical services program, will test the repellency and insecticidal properties of nootkatone, an insecticide produced by Evolva (SIX: EVE), a company based in Reinach, Switzerland. Data from the studies will supplement Evolva’s research to fulfill Environmental Protection Agency requirements for the commercial launch of nootkatone in the United States.

Zika is one of a number of mosquito-borne viruses, which include both dengue and chikungunya, that are transmitted by two species of mosquito. The World Health Organization and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have declared the virus a public health emergency because it is associated with potentially severe neuropathogenic and neurodevelopmental conditions in humans.

CDC research already has shown that nootkatone repels and kills a mosquito that can transmit Zika and yellow fever, as well as the black-legged tick that transmits Lyme disease.

Evolva also produces the sweetener known as stevia. Nootkatone can be extracted in minute quantities from the skin of grapefruit or the bark of the Alaska yellow cedar, or produced on an industrial scale from brewing via yeast fermentation.