Category: Software

Newsmakers 2014: The stories that shaped our region

Who knew … That the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado would lead the country in lobbying the federal government for an open Internet, dwarfing the response of larger tech-savvy communities such as Silicon Valley?

Or that home affordability was slipping away with each passing month?

Or even that the National Center for Atmospheric Research was struggling to maintain its climate research initiatives in the face of shrinking staff and a budget that for years remained essentially flat?

These and other stories have shaped our lives, our communities and our businesses. With this inaugural edition of Newsmakers 2014, the staff at BizWest has brought you the top news stories of 2014 and the latest updates on where things stand now, with links to each below.

Jan. 10-23: Front Range wineries outpacing Grand Valley Wineries in the Front Range for the first time produced more wine than those in Western Colorado’s Grand Valley during fiscal 2013, according to the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board.

Jan. 17-30: Developer embarks on $180M multi-use plan Real estate development firm ElementProperties LLC and Sopher Architects LLC submitted concept plans with the city of Boulder in January for a proposed redevelopment of the former Sutherlands Lumber Co. site that could cost up to $180 million.

Jan. 24-Feb. 6: Otterbox moves to settle suit Otter Products LLC, the company that makes OtterBox smartphone and tablet cases, paid $4.3 million to the U.S. government to settle allegations that the company violated federal law by underpaying customs duties, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado said in April.

Jan. 31-Feb. 13: Mall redevelopment clears hurdle Several months of legal wrangling between city of Longmont officials and clothing retailer Dillard’s Inc. came to a halt in January, finally clearing the way for redevelopment of the Twin Peaks Mall.

Feb. 7-20: NoCo home affordability takes a dive An index compiled by the Colorado Association of Realtors in February showed that homes are becoming less affordable for the region’s middle class.

Feb. 14-27: Boulder, Xcel feud over system repair If there was any question over whether emotions were running high over Boulder’s municipalization debate, the city answered that by leveling some serious accusations at Xcel Energy Inc. in February.

Feb. 21-March 6: NoCo factories slow to add jobs, boost wages Politicians and industry leaders called for a rebirth of American manufacturing this year, but the picture in Northern Colorado’s factories remained dismal, with overall manufacturing job numbers remaining largely flat or down.

Feb. 28-March 13: Group envisions brand for region One year after rebranding as the Northwest Denver Economic Development Partnership, the former Broomfield Economic Development Corp. continued to evolve as it attempted to provide a regional voice for businesses.

March 21-April 3: FirstNet opens technical HQ in Boulder A new federal initiative to create a nationwide wireless broadband network for police and firefighters opened its technical headquarters in Boulder in the spring.

April 4-17: Cash-only pot sales irk state, owners Tax collectors have been almost as frustrated as owners of pot shops as they wrestle with how to collect taxes in an ancient way – cash only.

April 18-May 1: Thousands in area face ACA penalties April estimates by the Colorado Health Institute showed that more than 58,000 people in Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer and Weld Counties would likely remain uninsured despite the Affordable Care Act, and thousands would be subject to penalties.

May 2-15: Private railway wins federal grant As hundreds of Colorado businesses scrambled to get loans to help rebuild their flood-ravaged companies late last year, Pat Broe, one of Colorado’s wealthiest businessmen, was slated to receive a nearly $1.7 million federal grant to repair his privately held rail network.

May 16-29: Banner Health, others sue MediCare A new rule designed to reduce costs and limit charges to outpatients so irked the hospital community that many institutions – including Banner Health, which has a heavy presence in Northern Colorado – jointly filed suit in April against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

May 30-June 12: Life science VC deals hit post-recession high First-quarter venture-capital deals for life sciences companies were the strongest they’d been since the Great Recession started in 2007, with biotechnology and medical device companies raking in $1.4 billion nationwide.

June 13-26: Employers shifting health-care costs to employees A study produced by Seattle-based health-care analytics company Milliman Inc. last spring showed that employees’ health insurance costs rose faster than those of their employers as the employers shifted more of the burden to combat increasing premiums.

June 27-July 10: Gessler rule stifles B corp signups Many Colorado companies failed to register as public benefit corporations, despite a new law providing for the socially responsible designation, because Secretary of State Scott Gessler office has said it would require those companies to disclose their financials.

July 11-24: JBS fine highlights meatpacking dangers JBS USA agreed to pay $100,000 in fines to settle safety and health violations handed down by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration in May, according to federal documents.

July 25-Aug. 7: Oil, gas firms dig deep for new water Applications to the state of Colorado to use deep underground aquifers for oil and gas development in Northern Colorado surged, reflecting the new lengths that oil and gas companies have gone to obtain the scarce resource in the South Platte River Basin.

Aug. 8-21: Area voice strong for net neutrality The fierce debate over net neutrality hasn’t occurred without plenty of input from Coloradans.

Aug. 22-Sept. 4: More cities eye broadband bandwagon Local governments in 2014 stepped up their interest in creating municipal broadband Internet networks that they believe are critical to their communities’ economic health.

Sept. 5-18: A year later, a long road back from floods One year after the historic 2013 floods ravaged Boulder County and much of Northern Colorado, residents and officials were touting local communities’ resolve, celebrating the repairs that had been made, and at the same time girding for the long recovery still ahead.

Sept. 19-Oct. 2: Fort Collins, Loveland eye independent airport commission Business people welcomed an effort by the city managers from Loveland and Fort Collins to develop the framework for a new commission that would include residents of the cities to help govern the airport.

Oct. 3-16: Recovery spurs cities’ spending surge Municipalities across the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado have spent roughly $2.1 billion in 2014, up about $200 million, or 11 percent, over last year.

Oct. 17-30: As budget stagnates, staff shrinks at NCAR The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), one of the world’s premier climate research institutions, has been struggling to maintain its ground-breaking scientific initiatives in an era of stagnant budgets and a staff that has shrunk to its lowest level in more than a decade.

Oct. 31-Nov. 13: Local clinics snared in DaVita settlement DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc. said in October it agreed to undo a Colorado joint venture involved in an illegal kickback scheme that included clinics in Boulder and Longmont as part of a $389 million settlement with the Department of Justice stemming from a whistleblower lawsuit filed in Denver federal court.

Nov. 14-27: More injections sought despite quakes NGL Water Solutions DJ LLC, the company operating the fracking-fluid disposal well linked to earthquakes near the Greeley Airport late last spring, asked the state of Colorado if it could boost by 20 percent the amount of water it can inject underground despite ongoing low-level quake activity captured by a new state monitoring program.

Nov. 28-Dec. 11: Credit cards hacked? Who pays ’em back? As credit card breaches at some of the country’s major retailers continued to capture headlines in 2014, the battle between banks, credit unions and retailers over who is responsible for reimbursing consumers whose credit cards have been compromised heated up.

Dec. 12-25: Local drillers see shares tumble as oil price drops Stocks of oil companies that drill wells in Weld County have plunged with declining oil prices, potentially leading to lower capital spending in 2015.

Quick Left raises $500,000 from Seattle-based Lighter Capital

BOULDER – Local web and mobile software development firm Quick Left Inc. announced Wednesday that it has raised a $500,000 funding round from Lighter Capital in Seattle.

The money will be used to expand product development and align its products with the programming tools from Sprintly.

Boulder-based Quick Left merged with San Francisco-based Sprintly in January, with the two now having a Portland, Ore., office as well and keeping the Quick Left name.

“The merger of Quick Left brings a lot of synergy and possibilities for growth,” Lighter Capital CEO BJ Lackland said in a press release. “We really like how well the product arm compliments the consulting arm, and are excited about funding their product development.”

Rally reports 3Q loss while setting revenue record

BOULDER – Rally Software Development Corp. (NYSE: RALY) posted record revenue but still incurred a loss for the third quarter of its fiscal year 2015 that ended Oct. 31.

The Boulder-based software developer reported revenue of $22 million, an increase of 17 percent compared with the same period a year ago. It recorded a loss of $7.4 million, or 29 cents per share, compared with a loss of $5.8 million, or 24 cents per share, for the same period a year ago.

“Our record third-quarter revenue results highlight the progress we’ve made in improving our performance across the business,” Tim Miller, Rally’s chairman and chief executive, said in a prepared statement.

“During the quarter,” he said, “our efforts to further our spend discipline while at the same time growing our business resulted in our ability to meaningfully exceed EPS expectations.”

Rally also said the company expects to see total revenue in the range of $24 million to $24.6 million in the fourth quarter, a 22 percent to 25 percent growth compared with the same period a year ago.

Rally picked up new customers during the quarter that included Advance America, Ag Leader Technology, Anxebusiness, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas, Booker Software, Concur, Continnum, Managed Services, Peak Performance, PetSmart, Premier Designs, Pull-A-Part, Smartlogic, Taskstream, University of Texas-Austin and Verint.

The company makes cloud-based, software applications for business customers. It currently has about 530 employees.

 

Software-services firm Xpanxion opens Fort Collins office

FORT COLLINS – Xpanxion, an Atlanta-based software-services firm, announced Monday that it has opened an office in Fort Collins, where the company expects to someday employ at least 100 information-technology professionals.

The company’s office at 1015 W. Horsetooth Road opened last week with about 10 employees, Xpanxion spokesman Mason Wambolt said. He said the company had been hiring employees in the area to work remotely for the past few months in anticipation of opening the office here.

Xpanxion provides custom software development and quality-assurance services for enterprise-level clients.

Wambolt said it could likely be a few years before the Fort Collins location ramps up to 100 employees.

“(Hiring) will probably go in spurts,” he said.

Xpanxion is a wholly owned subsidiary of IT services provider UST Global, which purchased the company in May. Xpanxion ranked 3,744th on the 2014 Inc. magazine list of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the United States, growing revenue from $12.1 million in 2010 to $22.4 million in 2013.

The company, which has about 550 employees, has offices in Kearney, Neb.; Lincoln, Neb.; Ames, Iowa; Manhattan, Kan.; and Loup City, Neb., where founder and chief executive Paul Eurek is from. That’s in addition to an office in India.

Xpanxion’s model is to locate primarily in college towns in rural areas, aiding not only in recruiting and providing attractive places for employees to live but also helping lower software services costs for the company’s large clients that are mostly located in major metropolitan areas.

“One thing we liked about Fort Collins is it opened us up to the Colorado market,” Wambolt said. “There’s a lot of talent in that area.”

SendGrid hires new CEO to shepherd growth, possible IPO

Boulder-based SendGrid Inc. has hired Sameer Dholakia as its new chief executive officer.

Boulder-based SendGrid Inc. has hired Sameer Dholakia as its new chief executive officer.

BOULDER — SendGrid Inc. has hired Sameer Dholakia as its new chief executive and board member as the Boulder-based provider of email delivery services continues to grow and considers an initial public offering.

Dholakia previously was group vice president and general manager of the Cloud Platforms Group at Santa Clara, Calif.-based Citrix Systems Inc. He replaces Jim Franklin who has served as SendGrid’s CEO since 2011.

The Colorado Technology Association’s chief executive Erik Mitisek told BizWest in January that SendGrid is one of several Colorado-based tech companies that are “serious IPO candidates.”

David Friedman, a SendGrid spokesman, said on Tuesday that there is no timetable in place for an IPO, but the company is considering it in the future.

“Most startups have two exit strategies, either acquisition or IPO, both of those are still on the table,” Friedman said.

Friedman would not comment on whether or not the change in leadership is linked to an IPO.

Isaac Saldana, who founded SendGrid in 2009 and serves as its president, said Franklin has been instrumental in the growth and success of SendGrid over the last few years.

“Under his leadership, SendGrid has evolved from a startup with 20 employees and several thousand customers to where we are today – an industry leader in email delivery with over 250 employees and over 175,000 customers,” Saldana said in a prepared statement. SendGrid specializes in application email infrastructure using a cloud-based platform.

Dholakia said SendGrid has an “incredibly bright future.

“With the combined foundation of SendGrid’s superior technology, dedicated team and industry-leading customer support, we are well positioned for future success. I am excited about our prospects and look forward to accelerating our business to the next level,” he said in a prepared statement.

Founded in 2009 as part of TechStars, SendGrid is backed by Bessemer Venture Partners, Foundry Group, Highway 12 Ventures, Bullet Time Ventures, SoftTech VC, 500 Startups and several notable individual investors such as Matt Mullenweg and Scott Petry.

 

Oracle to acquire Front Porch Digital

Lafayette-based Front Porch Digital is being acquired by Oracle corp., the companies announced Monday.

Front Porch Digital is a content storage management company that helps customers with large digital portfolios, such as TV stations and libraries, manage content.

“We are thrilled to be joining Oracle to continue our long-standing partnership. This combination will enable us to better serve and support our customers at a global scale,” said CEO Mike Knaisch, in a statement.

Oracle Corp. (NYSE: ORCL), is based in Redwood Shores, Calif. John Fowler, executive vice president of Oracle Systems, said the acquisition is designed to integrate Oracle’s storage products with Front Porch Digital’s content management expertise. “We will continue to build on Front Porch digital’s success and unique capabilities, which complement Oracle’s existing high performance and scalable engineered storage solutions.”

 

 

City of Loveland to host symposium on innovation

LOVELAND — The city of Loveland will host its first symposium and showcase Oct. 1-3, providing educational sessions and networking opportunities for innovators in Colorado.

Accelerate CO: Advancing Colorado’s Innovation Ecosystem, a free event, will be held at the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology, 815 14th St., Loveland.

The event will feature a variety of topics, including innovation at the corporate level, financial support and collaboration opportunities from government, venture capital, product and technology design, incubation and acceleration programs and government purchasing programs.

Companies and organizations that are invited to the symposium include Lockheed Martin, NASA, Loveland-based Aleph Objects Inc., Boulder-based SparkFun Electronics Inc., Denver-based Rockies Venture Club, HumaneX Ventures, EWI (Edison Welding Institute), Southwest Research Institute, XMS Capital Partners, the Colorado Angel Network, the new U.S. Patent Office in Denver, Idaho National Labs and iBridge.

“In today’s business landscape, success comes through innovation, and innovators are not only modernizing their products and services, they are enhancing how business is done,” said Marcie Erion, event organizer with the city of Loveland, in a statement. “They are collaborating, crowdsourcing ideas and problem-solving. The best innovation comes through access; access to knowledge, to case studies, to research and to partners.”

“Unlike many other symposiums, Accelerate CO provides programming and networking opportunities at no cost to attendees so that all innovators, no matter their current access to capital, can continue to bring new ideas to market, advance their industries and thus, advance our Colorado economy,” Erion said.

RSVP is required at www.innovateloveland.com.

 

Rally posts 2Q loss while setting revenue record

BOULDER – Rally Software Development Corp. (NYSE: RALY) posted record revenue but still incurred a loss for the second quarter of its fiscal year 2015 that ended July 31.

The Boulder-based software developer recorded revenue of $21.5 million, a 9 percent increase compared with the same period a year ago. It reported a loss of $8.9 million, or 36 cents per share, compared with a loss of $2.3 million, or 9 cents per share, for the same period a year ago.

“Our second quarter saw record revenue and we outperformed against our revised outlook,” Rally’s chairman and chief executive Tim Miller said in a prepared statement.

On an earnings conference call with investors, Miller said, “We still have a lot to do before I’m comfortable with the state of the business, but these results indicate to us that our hard work has returned positive results, and if we stay focused and execute our future is very bright.

Rally picked up new customers during the quarter that included Appointment-Plus, Axium, Cathay Pacific Airways Limited, Compass Learning, Digital Barriers, EBSCO Publishing, Engine Yard, Invesco, Highmark, Nexenta, PayWizard, QSR International, Rise Interactive, RMIT University and Verizon.

 

Broomfield lands DigitalGlobe

LONGMONT – DigitalGlobe Inc. plans to have room for 1,300 employees at a 400,000-square-foot global headquarters slated to open in mid-2015 in the North Park development in Broomfield, according to an economic development representative.
The satellite image company (NYSE: DGI) plans to move its headquarters from a building at 1601 Dry Creek Drive in Longmont to the new building on a 30-acre Broomfield campus in North Park, at Interstate 25 and Colorado Highway 7, according to Bo Martinez, the city and county of Broomfield’s economic development director.
Broomfield representatives offered DigitalGlobe a financial incentive package to relocate that has not been made public yet, Martinez said.
“They really liked our (pro)-business attitude and our business climate, and we had the best site for their global headquarters,” Martinez said.
Longmont representatives also offered DigitalGlobe an incentive package for an undisclosed amount.
DigitalGlobe’s new headquarters is expected to anchor a public-private research park called the Colorado Applied Research and Science Park, Martinez said. He said he envisions the park campus as one where scientific research and business research can work side by side.
“There are a lot of exciting things to come for North Park. We believe we can develop this area as the next Denver technology center,” Martinez said.
The DigitalGlobe move is expected to consolidate employees from the Longmont property, as well as a site in Northglenn and two other Colorado sites. Longmont is “disappointed” about the announced move but expects to continue to work with the company as long as it has employees at the existing location, said Wendi Nafziger, vice president at the Longmont Area Economic Council.
DigitalGlobe announced Thursday that it signed a letter of intent to move to the new Broomfield site. The company supplies satellite images to a variety of public and private entities in the United States and around the world.
The company bought rival GeoEye Inc. (nasdaq: GEOY) in Herndon, Virginia, earlier this year in a $900 million transaction. The combined company had more than 1,500 employees before the merger, with more than 900 of them at the Longmont headquarters site, as well as at a GeoEye office in Thornton.
DigitalGlobe got the OK for as much as $4.4 million in state tax rebates in June if the company creates 435 jobs in Colorado over the next five years, according to a spokesman at the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Company representatives said at the time that they were looking at staying in Longmont or moving to Broomfield or Westminster to accommodate potential growth.
The new campus at the North Park development is being constructed by Opus Development Company LLC, a division of The Opus Group in Denver, DigitalGlobe said in a press statement. It’s being designed by RNL Design in Denver, with real estate and project management services by Cresa Denver. Real estate firm McWhinney in Loveland is developing the 935-acre North Park site.
DigitalGlobe will continue to maintain a presence in the Longmont location for “a period of time,” according to the press statement. A spokeswoman did not offer further details.
The company will continue to have offices in Virginia; in Tampa, Florida; in London and in Singapore, among others. DigitalGlobe Inc. earlier this month reported a 48 percent increase in revenue for the second quarter that ended June 30 compared with the same period a year ago.