Category: Software

Second annual Go Code Colorado app challenge set to begin

BOULDER —  Go Code Colorado will start its second annual statewide civic app challenge Wednesday night with a kick-off event at the Denver Art Museum, and teams will begin a weekend challenge Friday, April 10, in five cities across the state — Fort Collins, Denver, Colorado Springs, Durango and Grand Junction.

The challenge requires contestants to create a mobile app that makes use of public data that provides a service.

Ten semi-finalists will qualify for a mentor weekend to be held in Boulder April 24 where they will refine their ideas, and then pitch their apps in May at an event in Denver to determine the winner that will receive a cash prize of $25,000 and a contract from the state.

Last year, a team of software developers from Fort Collins won the inaugural Go Code Colorado challenge with an app called Beagle Score. The app allows users to find the best place to call home by providing publicly available information about any given location.

Go Code Colorado won the Colorado Technology Association’s APEX award for Technology Project of the Year in 2014, and was honored by Harvard’s Kennedy School for Democratic Government and Innovation as a Bright Idea in this year’s Innovations in American Government Awards competition.

Jamey Wood, chief technology officer of Denver-based Wayin, will keynote the kick-off event that begins at 6 p.m. in Denver. Wayin makes tools to analyze and integrate social content into sales, service and marketing efforts.

Go Code Colorado is organized the Colorado Secretary of State’s office and Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade.





Boulder-based ShipCompliant acquired by Boston software firm

BOULDER — Boston-based tax-compliance software firm Sovos Compliance announced Thursday that it has acquired Boulder-based ShipCompliant for an undisclosed sum.

ShipCompliant, officially Six88 Solutions Inc., is a software-as-a-service company that provides compliance and transaction platforms for the alcoholic-beverage industry, helping clients like wineries and breweries navigate a broad patchwork of federal and state regulations around things like registration, tax-rate determination and reporting.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

ShipCompliant founder and president Jason Eckenroth said in an email to BizWest that ShipCompliant will continue to function as its own company within Sovos and retain its own branding. He said he will remain as president, and that the executive and employee structure will remain the same. ShipCompliant employs 47 people, and Eckenroth added that the company will be actively hiring locally in the wake of the acquisition.

“Sovos is invested in the Boulder location,” Eckenroth wrote.

Founded in 2000, ShipCompliant has seen rapid growth recently, being honored in BizWest’s Mercury 100 as one of the fastest-growing companies in Boulder and Broomfield counties. ShipCompliant also made the 2014 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the nation, growing revenue from $3.1 million in 2010 to $7.1 million in 2013. The company’s revenue was $8 million in 2014.

“ShipCompliant expertly addresses the complex regulatory challenges faced by businesses in the beverage-alcohol industry,” Sovos CEO Andy Hovancik said in a press release. “We are excited to leverage the tax and compliance research capabilities, deep industry expertise, and acclaimed technology to expand and accelerate our ability to meet the wide-ranging tax and regulatory compliance needs of the market.”

Rally Software loss widens despite revenue increase

BOULDER — Rally Software Development Corp. (NYSE: RALY) reported a loss of $33.8 million for its fiscal year 2015 that ended Jan. 31.

The Boulder-based software developer reported revenue of $87.5 million for the year, an increase of 18 percent compared with the prior year. The loss for the year, which equated to $1.35 per share, compared with a loss of $20.1 million, or $1.01 per share, in fiscal year 2014.

For its fourth quarter, Rally reported record quarterly revenue of $24.6 million, an increase of 25 percent compared with the same period one year ago. It reported for the quarter a net loss of $9 million, or 35 cents per share, compared with a loss of $6.3 million, or 26 cents per share, for the same quarter a year ago.

Rally picked up nearly two dozen new customers during the fourth quarter.

Rally estimates it will reach revenue for its fiscal year 2016 between $103.5 million to $105.5 million, 18 percent to 21 percent growth compared with fiscal year 2015.

Boulder-based SendGrid opening Silicon Valley office

BOULDER — Email delivery services provider SendGrid Inc. based in Boulder will open its fifth office in the United States, this one in Silicon Valley to accelerate the development and delivery of new product offerings.

The company also appointed Craig Kaes as vice president of engineering to existing and new teams of engineers across SendGrid’s offices.

SendGrid’s new office will be in Redwood City. The nearly 6,000-square-foot office will house about 40 employees. The company is recruiting software engineers and customer-success managers. The office is one block from the Caltrain station, has an open floor plan, natural light and will include hand-painted murals by artist and SendGrid’s office manager, Chelsea Hart.

Kaes, a former senior engineer for Cisco, will be responsible for leading SendGrid’s 100-person engineering team to bring several in-flight email product offerings to market and developing new complementary solutions to offer customers. Craig will also take the lead on building out the engineering team in Redwood City, adding close to 30 engineering positions in that office.

SendGrid also has offices in Denver; Orange, Calif.; and London.

TapInfluence names The Resumator’s Promise Phelon CEO

BOULDER – Marketing software firm TapInfluence Inc. has tapped Silicon Valley to help shepherd the company through its next wave of growth, naming tech executive Promise Phelon as chief executive on Thursday.

Phelon replaces co-founder Rustin Banks, who will remain on TapInfluence’s board of directors and move into the role of Chief Product Officer.

Promise Phelon

Promise Phelon

“We hit that scaling stage,” Banks, who started the company with Holly Hamann, said in a phone interview this week. “The business started growing very quickly and we realized we needed a scaling CEO, someone who’s been there and done it. … She’s a powerhouse in the scaling space.”

Phelon joins TapInfluence from The Resumator, which makes recruiting software that helps companies streamline the hiring process. As chief revenue officer there, she led sales, marketing and business development. She also helped raise a $15 million funding round.

Prior to The Resumator, she was founder and CEO of The Phelon Group, a technology-enabled services company that was acquired in 2009. She was also CEO of UpMo, a talent management SaaS firm.

TapInfluence provides a software-as-a-service platform that helps marketers automate the process of finding key online influencers and connecting with them to create sponsored content featuring their brands. In addition to making the connections and managing workflow, the software provides analytics to measure the value each piece of content created in terms of sales and leads.

So a company like Kraft, a TapInfluence customer along with the likes of Microsoft, Proctor & Gamble and Coca-Cola, could use the service to find influential food bloggers, pay them to create and write about recipes using certain Kraft products, and gauge how much customer action was created from the content produced.

The software is an alternative to placing banner ads on websites and hoping to get clicks.

“The company is growing rapidly because they solve the biggest problem facing marketers today: predictably translating influence into opportunity,” Phelon said in a statement. “Taking the company from an emerging startup to an industry leader is my passion, which made leaving Silicon Valley for Boulder, Colorado an exciting proposition.”

Banks and Hamann founded TapInfluence in 2009, and have raised $9.1 million in venture capital to date, including a $5 million round in September of 2013. The company doesn’t disclose revenue but has been on a rapid growth path. TapInfluence has 32 full-time employees plus some contractors, almost all of whom are based in Boulder and 12 of whom were added over the past year. Banks said he anticipates adding at least a dozen more in the coming year.

Banks said raising another round of funding is not “on the immediate roadmap” for TapInfluence, though that’s something Phelon will be evaluating as the company grows.

“The company’s doing well, and we have the option to push that off,” Banks said. “But of course we’ll be opportunistic because we are growing rapidly.”

Boulder’s Simple Energy reaches Colorado with Marketplace launch

BOULDER – Simple Energy, a software company serving the utility industry for the past four years, on Tuesday launched its new Marketplace platform that will enable utilities to sell energy-saving products like programmable thermostats from their own websites while offering instant rebates and incentives.

The new product brings with it Boulder-based Simple Energy’s first foothold in the Colorado market. The company, which has had customers mostly in Southern California, the Northeast and Canada, will launch Marketplace with two utilities, San Diego Gas & Electric and a “large utility” in Colorado that will be named in coming weeks.

The value of such a product for utilities is that it streamlines the rebate process, Simple Energy co-founder and chief executive Yoav Lurie said. Utilities spend millions convincing customers to buy new products that will improve their homes’ energy efficiency, which in turn helps utilities meet certain goals mandated by public utilities commissions. The problem is often that the rebates that often make such upgrades attractive either go unknown to customers or the process is some cumbersome version of: buy the product, get the rebate form from the utility, mail in the rebate form and wait six to eight weeks and cross your fingers that your rebate check shows up.

The Marketplace platform, geared only toward residential customers, is white-labeled by each participating utility on their websites, with the utilities paying a licensing fee to Simple Energy. The new product is designed to work seamlessly with Simple Energy’s original offering.

After graduating from the Techstars Boulder startup accelerator in 2011, Simple Energy began offering a software-as-a-service platform that helped utilities improve engagement with customers by making a game out of offering energy saving tips through emails and text messages. Customers could win incentives like Home Depot gift cards for reducing their energy usage at home.

Marketplace takes that interaction a step further so that now, when a utility recommends to a customer a certain energy-saving feature, the customer can click on a link to purchase such a product on Marketplace, with any applicable rebates the utility offers automatically factored in. Lurie said most of the major brands for things like thermostats, including Nest, Honeywell and GE, are offered on the site.

These two products work seamlessly together,” Lurie said. “It’s really woven together very tightly.”

Privately held Simple Energy doesn’t disclose revenue. The company has worked with eight utilities so far on its original software platform, but the company has been growing rapidly at its downtown Boulder digs.

Lurie founded Simple Energy along with Justin Segall, the company’s president. The company has raised about $8.2 million in venture capital in two different rounds of funding, and has 60 employees, a count that has doubled over the past year.

Lurie said the idea for Marketplace is that it will expand in scope over time so that utilities can use it to offer things like home warranty programs to protect against power surges or electricity-related damages, as well as things like solar panels or backup generators.

“There are a lot of utilities trying a lot of different things and trying to figure out ways to get those to market,” Lurie said.

Broomfield-based Colorcom, with troubled past, seeks to raise $4.2M

BROOMFIELD – Colorcom Ltd. filed a document recently with the Securities and Exchange Commission indicating that the company is seeking to raise up to $4.2 million in equity.

Co-founder Joe Doll said the Broomfield-based company is working to commercialize software technology it has been developing since 1987 that changes data from electronic sensors into continuous mathematical functions, technology he said eventually could be applied to make all electronics run more smoothly.

Colorcom and Doll – along with associated companies IFR Technologies Inc., Custom Design and Manufacturing Inc., and Richard Janoka – were sued in 2009 by then Colorado securities commissioner Fred Joseph, alleging that they offered securities without properly registering them with the state. Joseph also alleged that Colorcom had misled investors between 2004 and 2008 by, among other things, failing to disclose to them key information, such as other lawsuits to which the defendants had been party in the past.

According to court documents, in 2010, a district court judge issued a summary judgment in favor of the state in regard to the registration of securities. The judge declined to issue summary judgment on all but one of the fraud allegations. The judge did issue a summary judgment for the state that Colorcom had failed to properly disclose to investors information relating to a 1999 order from the state of Iowa to cease and desist offering unregistered securities there. The company had, in fact, disclosed the cease-and-desist order, the Colorado court concluded, but did not properly disclose a requirement that Colorcom offer rescission to all Iowa investors.

As a result of the summary judgments in Colorado, an order of permanent injunction was filed enjoining Colorcom from violating securities law again lest it face contempt sanctions. Colorcom also agreed to offer rescission of up to $3.4 million to all Colorcom investors who invested between Dec. 1, 2004 and Oct. 31, 2008.

Doll said Wednesday that Colorcom is properly disclosing that 2009 case in Colorado to investors for its latest round of funding, although he declined to supply BizWest with copies of documents distributed to investors.

“We always have and always will disclose what we’re supposed to disclose,” said Doll, who noted that the company has raised about $20 million since 1987.

Doll denied any wrongdoing related to the 2009 case, and said Colorcom settled with the state and agreed to make the rescission offers to put the matter behind the company without going through a trial. He said the company ultimately had to pay about $220,000 in rescission to investors.

As for Colorcom’s “Pac-N-Zoom” technology, he said he’s hoping the first product will be brought to market this year as a way to showcase what the technology can do. That product is a cloud software program that could “filter out the noise” in video so that a computer could recognize specific objects, like a running man or a tornado, and allow users to drag and drop those objects into other videos.

Other interactive apps would come down the road, Doll said, if the technology can be proven in the marketplace.

CodeFutures names FullContact co-founder Dan Lynn CEO

BROOMFIELD – CodeFutures Corp., maker of a database infrastructure that allows real-time data streaming, on Wednesday named Dan Lynn chief executive.

Dan Lynn

Dan Lynn

Lynn replaces founder Cory Isaacson, who was named chief technology officer of California-based Risk Management Solutions Inc. on Tuesday. Isaacson will stay involved with Broomfield-based CodeFutures as chairman of the board.

Lynn was founding CTO at Denver-based startup FullContact Inc., a 2011 Techstars Boulder accelerator graduate. He also co-founded software consulting firm Spider Web Labs.

CodeFutures, founded in 2007, employs 18 people. The company counts among its clients major businesses such as FedEx, General Electric, Bank of America and Verizon.

Greystone acquisition of Pixel Rebel follows expansion into Boulder

FORT COLLINS — Technology services provider Greystone Technology Group Inc. this week closed on the acquisition of Fort Collins mobile-app development firm The Pixel Rebel Ltd., adding to what already has been a busy 2015.

Greystone, which has dual headquarters in Denver and Fort Collins, provides information-technology management, web development and digital-marketing management for businesses, and will now add Pixel Rebel’s services to the fold.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal follows a 2014 in which Greystone’s revenue grew nearly 50 percent to just more than $5 million, with more growth on the way.

The company opened an office in Boulder earlier this month, and it’s planning to move its Fort Collins office to Brinkman Partners’ former space at the corner of Harmony and Ziegler roads next month.

“It’s been pretty incredible,” Greystone president and co-founder Peter Melby said Tuesday.

The addition of Pixel Rebel, Melby said, will help “our clients do business in new, better ways.”

Founded in 2001, Greystone landed at No. 1,750 on Inc. magazine’s 2014 list of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies. Its revenue grew from $1 million in 2010 to $3.4 million in 2013.

The company added 17 employees last year bringing its current number of employees to 56. Melby said the company likely will add at least 15 more this year.

“If we continue our growth trajectory we’ve had the last couple years, we’ll probably add 20 to 25 new positions,” Melby said.

The company will host an official opening celebration at its Boulder office Feb. 26. That location employs five people, but Melby said it could quickly double in size.

The company employs 21 people in Fort Collins, with a few working from home because of a lack of space, Melby said. The new 3,300-square-foot office will have enough room for at least 32 employees, he said.

Boulder companies dominate Colorado’s 4th-quarter VC deals

Companies from Boulder and Broomfield counties accounted for 15 of Colorado’s 21 venture capital deals during the fourth quarter of 2014, led by Boulder-based SolidFire Inc.’s monster $82 million funding round in October.

The state’s deals totaled $342.2 million, Colorado’s best performance since the third quarter of 2001 when $350.4 million was raised on 27 deals. The data is according to the MoneyTree Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and the National Venture Capital Association, and based on data provided by Thomson Reuters. No Larimer or Weld County companies made the fourth-quarter list.

For the year, the state saw $793 million raised through 86 deals, up from $464.5 million last year and the best year in Colorado since 2008’s $876.6 million on 118 deals.

Nationally, venture capitalists invested $48.3 billion in 4,356 deals in 2014, up 61 percent in dollars and 4 percent in the number of deals from 2013. The software industry saw $19.8 billion of VC investment from 1,799 deals, its highest level since 2000. Internet-specific companies also saw their best year since 2000, raising $11.9 billion.

The MoneyTree Report listed SolidFire’s deal at $60 million, as does a regulatory filing made with the Securities and Exchange Commission in October. But when the company announced the deal, the data storage provider said it had raised $82 million to bring its total funding to $150 million. Just a year earlier, the company, founded in 2010, had raised a $31 million round.

Six of Colorado’s fourth-quarter deals landed among the state’s top 10 for the year, including four local companies – SolidFire, whose deal was the state’s largest of 2014, N30 Pharmaceuticals Inc., MinuteKey Inc., and Door to Door Organics Inc.

The full list of local companies raising venture capital in the fourth quarter, according to the MoneyTree Report, included:

SolidFire Inc., Boulder, $82 million. Provides all-flash storage systems for data centers.

N30 Pharmaceuticals Inc., Boulder, $30 million. Clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that is developing therapies for the treatment of cystic fibrosis.

Minute Key Inc., Boulder, $30 million. Makes self-service key-making kiosks.

Door to Door Organics Inc., Louisville, $25.7 million. Provides online grocery shopping and home delivery of organic foods.

Tendril Networks Inc., Boulder, $22.3 million. Makes a cloud-based software platform to help energy providers personalize their services for customers.

SendGrid Inc., Boulder, $20.7 million. Provides Email Infrastructure as a Service, moving 2 percent of the world’s non-spam email.

SomaLogic Inc., Boulder, $16.5 million. Biotech company that specializes in biomarker discovery and clinical diagnostics.

Synopsis Surgical Inc., Boulder, $8.3 million and $500,000. Medical-device startup working on a surgical procedure to aid in the treatment of chronic sinusitis.

Modular Robotics LLC, Boulder, $3.1 million. Makes robot construction toys that can be controlled with mobile devices.

Clean Chemistry Inc., Boulder, $2.2 million. Makes a water treatment system for produced water and fracking water at oil and gas drilling sites.

Flashback Technologies Inc., Boulder, $2 million. Developing a machine-learning software platform that provides predictive data analysis solutions.

Lagrange Systems Inc., Boulder, $1.5 million. Provides a Software-as-a-Service application delivery network that improves the speed and reliability of web and mobile applications.

NVoq Inc., Boulder, $456,000. Provides speech recognition software.

MicroBiome Therapeutics LLC, Broomfield, $30,000. Clinical stage biotech company developing drug therapies for metabolic diseases.