Category: Technology

Fort Collins-based St. Renatus gains FDA approval for dental anesthetic

FORT COLLINS — St. Renatus LLC, a Fort Collins-based biopharmaceutical company, has received FDA approval for its first product, a dental anesthetic.

Kovanaze allows dental anesthesia to be administered through a nasal spray without using a needle. It is designed for use in procedures involving most of the upper teeth.

“For more than 100 years, the dental industry has delivered dental anesthesia using a needle injection. Now, through the efforts of a dedicated team, we have developed a revolutionary needle-free method for delivering pulpal anesthesia,” said Steve Merrick, St. Renatus’ chief executive.

Kovanaze is intended for use in dentistry as a topical anesthetic, delivered in the nasal cavity to achieve pulpal, or tooth nerve, anesthesia.

St. Renatus was formed in 2008 and has raised approximately $40 million in funding to pursue the development and approval of the nasal mist.

Investment firm buys majority stake in Firefly Medical

FORT COLLINS — Carlton-Harvey Group, a Georgia-based private-equity firm, has acquired a majority stake in Fort Collins medical-device startup Firefly Medical Inc., as the latter aims to significantly scale up sales.

Carlton-Harvey invested $2.5 million in Firefly, according to a recent regulatory filing, and Firefly co-founder Patrick Bols said Wednesday that there is also an undisclosed loan commitment aside from the equity portion.

Bols, who has served as chief executive for the past year, becomes chairman of the Firefly board with the new transaction. CHG principal Trevor Carlton, meanwhile, will take over as CEO of Firefly, and CHG principal Stuart Harvey becomes president.

Firefly, 320 E. Vine Dr., will keep its branding, and all eight employees who were with the company prior to the CHG investment will remain.

“Everybody still has a very important job to do here,” Bols said.

The addition of Carlton and Harvey, as well as a new sales manager, boosts the company’s employee count to 11, and Bols said the intent is to add two more employees this year and three to five more in 2017. The new cash infusion will be used largely to beef up sales and marketing, including internationally.

“The most important part of this transaction is we’ll now have seasoned executives managing the company,” Bols said.

Founded in 2013 by Bols, Steve Schmutzer and Keith Burge, Firefly makes a device called the IVEA that aims to replace the standard pole from which IV bags are hung in order to improve patient mobility, nursing staff efficiency and safety for both patients and caregivers.

Firefly officially launched the device in May of last year. Bols declined to disclose revenue.

“Almost immediately we recognized that the IVEA is a solution that could transform the industry,” Carlton said in a news release. “It’s a great story and a great product, and we look forward to working with Firefly to make the IVEA the new standard of care in hospitals around the world.”

Correction: The original version of this story mis-labeled Carlton-Harvey Group as a Fort Collins-based firm. We regret the error.

Woodward sees net-income boost in third fiscal quarter

FORT COLLINS – Woodward Inc. on Wednesday posted net income of $51 million for its third fiscal quarter ending June 30, a boost of $7 million over the same period a year ago.

That was thanks to a $12 million increase in earnings for the Fort Collins-based manufacturer’s aerospace segment, which offset sales and income declines in Woodward’s industrial segment.

Woodward (Nasdaq: WWD) makes components and control-system solutions geared toward energy efficiency for the aerospace and industrial markets.

The company’s third-quarter profit equated to 81 cents per share, up from 66 cents per share a year earlier. Revenue rose 3 percent to $508 million.

Strength in the aerospace segment was attributed mainly to strong defense sales. The segment saw sales increase 7 percent from a year ago to $309 million. But a declining natural-gas truck market in China helped cause industrial sales to slide 4 percent from last year.

Woodward officials reaffirmed guidance for the full 2016 fiscal year, projecting earnings of from $2.75 to $2.95 per share.

Woodward shares closed at $59.42 Wednesday, up 12 cents from the previous day. closes $1.5M seed-funding round backed by Boulder VCs

BOULDER — Inc., a 4-year-old Australian company whose founders recently moved the company to Boulder, announced Wednesday it has closed a seed-funding round of $1.5 million. raised $800,000 of the round in March.

The completed round was led by venture capitalists in Boulder, including Tahoma Ventures, Blue Note Ventures, Galvanize Ventures and Techstars Ventures. operates a content delivery network used by high-traffic web sites. The network is integrated with agile development workflows. gives engineers more control and flexibility to drive website performance and security.

Ari Newman, a partner at Techstars, said the group is excited to add to the Techstars Ventures portfolio.

“Their technology bakes website scaling in at the most fundamental level, and will change how the content delivery network industry delivers value going forward,” Newman said. “By bringing agile development workflows to the CDN industry, has integrated the last bastion of the web application delivery stack with agile development workflows.” in a prepared statement said it is adding to its sales and development teams. Additionally, the capital will allow the company to focus on partnerships with hosting providers, content management system providers, agile development tools and other complementary software-as-a-service products.

Boulder-based Ball Aerospace expanding Maryland operations

BOULDER — Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. on Tuesday said it will increase its footprint in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

Boulder-based Ball Aerospace, a subsidiary of Broomfield-based Ball Corp. (NYSE: BLL), will move its recently acquired engineering cyber firm Wavefront Technologies and its 110 employees from Annapolis Junction to a larger location in Columbia, Md.

“Ball Aerospace is expanding and hiring,” said Debra Facktor Lepore, vice president and general manager for strategic operations. “Wavefront is a terrific addition to the Ball family with outstanding capabilities, and our new offices will provide the flexibility we need for future growth.”

Wavefront is an engineering services firm that provides systems and network engineering, software development and analytical services for cyber and mission-focused programs within the U.S. government and commercial industries.

Ball is hiring systems engineers, software developers, computer scientists, intelligence analysts and experts in cyber security for the new offices in Maryland.

Ball Aerospace acquired Wavefront Technologies in February for an undisclosed amount to become part of Ball Aerospace’s Systems Engineering Solutions business unit, which has the bulk of its 600 employees in Dayton, Ohio.

Ball’s SES business unit works primarily with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and Kirkland Air Force Base in New Mexico, analyzing data from space, air and land to create visualizations and provide actionable intelligence for the military.

Broomfield-based Pilatus breaks ground on new facility, to add 60 jobs by 2020

BROOMFIELD — Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd. last week broke ground on a new 118,000-square-foot facility at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport that is expected to accommodate the addition of 60 jobs at the Broomfield-based company by 2020.

The new facility, slated for completion in the spring of 2018, will help Pilatus consolidate its operations at the airport, where it leases 14 different hangars and about 75 percent of the terminal building now. But it will also provide added space as the company brings a new aircraft — the PC-24 twin-engine jet — online next year.

Pilatus Business Aircraft is a wholly owned subsidiary of Swiss company Pilatus Aircraft Ltd., which had sales of about $1.1 billion last year. Founded in 1996, the local subsidiary is responsible for sales, marketing and servicing of Pilatus’ PC-12 single-engine turbo-prop planes in North and South America. The local operations are also responsible for finishing interior and exterior work to customer specifications for about 70 percent of the PC-12s that come off the production line in Switzerland.

Pilatus, 11900 Airport Way, employs about 80 people in Broomfield now, and aims to ramp up to 140 once the new facility is at full production, said Tom Aniello, vice president of marketing for the local firm.

Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport lies along the border of Broomfield and Jefferson counties, and is owned and operated by Jefferson County.

Pilatus’ new facility will be on the west side of the airport near Simms Street and Colorado Highway 128 on Jefferson County land. Pilatus will lease the land from the airport, and own the building. The company has not disclosed the cost of the new building.

Tectonic Management Group of Wheat Ridge is managing design and construction services for the new facility.

“Pilatus has enjoyed steady growth in the business aviation market in our 20 years at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, and we are delighted to have the confidence to expand our operations and employment here in Jefferson County,” Pilatus Business Aircraft president and CEO Thomas Bosshard said in a prepared statement.

Boulder-based Ignyte launches $5M investment fund

BOULDER — Ignyte Lab LLC — a Boulder company that aims to help revenue-generating companies scale their operations — is raising funds for a new $5 million investment fund that it will use to invest in technology and natural and organic foods startups.

Ignyte founder Ryan Ferrero said in an interview that the Ignytion fund will make seed-stage investments averaging $250,000.

Ferrero will manage the fund along with a pair of veteran entrepreneurs who have joined Ignyte as partners, Bernee Strom, who recently moved to Boulder from Seattle, and Tom Miller of Peak Asset Management in Louisville.

Tom Miller

Tom Miller

Bernee Strom

Bernee Strom

Ryan Ferrero

Ryan Ferrero

The new fund will allow investors not only to invest in promising young companies. But the hope is that it will also expand the clientele for Ignyte, which often takes on operational roles with the young companies with which it works.

“What we’re doing is hitting the gas and accepting business submissions to scale ourselves,” Ferrero said.

Run for the past four years out of ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s offices in Gunbarrel, Ignyte recently moved into office space at the Sustainability, Energy, and Environment Complex on the University of Colorado Boulder’s East Campus at the corner of Foothills Parkway and Colorado Avenue.

In addition to Strom and Miller, venture capitalist Trapp Lewis — who is based in Singapore and whose resume includes stints with companies such as Alibaba and Yahoo — has also become an investor in Ignyte.

United Arab Emirates entrepreneur Wissam Otaky, meanwhile, is working with Ignyte as an advisor as his company, Hatcher, helps Ignyte deploy a software platform through which the company will better be able to manage its portfolio and portfolio companies’ operations, including everything from tasks to email to finances to file storage. The platform will also allow investors in the Ignytion fund, no matter their location, easier access to greater detail on portfolio companies and facilitate communications.

“When you’re managing a portfolio, there’s so many moving pieces on a given day,” Ferrero said. “You need to be able to coordinate and get tasks done efficiently.”

Strom, whose background includes helping launch, as well as several other companies, moved to Boulder last fall and connected with Ferrero in the spring. She said that with all of the startup accelerators already in place in Boulder, she found Ignyte’s model a good fit for her to help companies that are already post-product and post-revenue to grow.

“I decided my niche would be better to help companies scale,” Strom said.

Beau Burris, CEO of Denver-based Mame’s Crafted Gourmet LLC, which makes Mame’s Burritos, said Ignyte’s participation in his company has been invaluable in recent months as it starts to scale. Ignyte took a minority equity stake in Mame’s in December. Burris said the company grew over the past couple of years to more than $1 million in revenue, but needed help raising money and taking the next step.

“To go from a million-a-year business to 10 million-a-year, it takes some guidance I think,” Burris said. “I want the direct route there. I don’t want to be climbing all these side mountains on the way there.”

While Ignyte has worked with local companies to this point, Ferrero said the Ignytion fund would seek out deals all over the map.

“We would imagine the lion’s share of submissions will happen from here, but we are sourcing deals from everywhere,” Ferrero said.

Hardware developed by CU Boulder launched by SpaceX rocket

BOULDER — High-tech space hardware designed and built at the University of Colorado Boulder for biomedical experiments was launched aboard the commercial SpaceX Dragon capsule to the International Space Station early Monday morning.

A Falcon 9 rocket built by SpaceX carried the Dragon capsule into space from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Developed by BioServe Space Technologies, a center headquartered in the aerospace engineering sciences department, the hardware will support experiments ranging from the mitigation of bone loss in space to the effects of low gravity on stem cell-derived heart cells.

The BioServe hardware includes a customized laboratory microscope that will allow researchers on the space station to observe differences between biological structures that have similar levels of transparency, said BioServe’s director Louis Stodieck. In addition, researchers and students at the NASA-sponsored center developed an atmosphere control module that will enable the successful culturing of mammalian cells in orbit.

The bone loss mitigation experiment is being directed by University of Minnesota professor Bruce Hammer to test the accuracy of a new device that simulates microgravity for cell and tissue cultures by manipulating magnetic fields in space.

The heart experiment, led by doctoral student Arun Sharma of Stanford University, is designed to measure shape and behavior changes in heart cells in microgravity, research that has implications for both astronauts and people on Earth.

German firm Sartorius acquires Broomfield-based ViroCyt

BROOMFIELD — Life-science startup ViroCyt LLC announced on Friday that the company has been acquired by Germany-based Sartorius, an international provider of pharmaceutical and laboratory tools.

Sartorius paid $16 million for Broomfield-based ViroCyt in the cash deal.

ViroCyt president and CEO Robert Kline said in an interview Friday that the company will maintain its branding and continue to operate as a standalone company for the foreseeable future. He said all 12 employees, including him, will be retained.

Formed in late 2012 as a spinoff of Boulder-based InDevR, ViroCyt develops instrumentation and reagents that allow for the quantification of virus particles in a given sample in just minutes. The company is projected to achieve more than $3 million in sales this year.

“We’ve really been able to fine-tune and improve our technology to the point that I think it’s a really good solution for a number of opportunities and applications in the biotech world,” Kline said. “But as a small company we don’t have the reach to get to all of the opportunities. … (The acquisition) is a great opportunity to accelerate the scaling of our business.”

ViroCyt, which initially was based in Denver, launched with $3 million in venture capital, led by High Country Venture in Boulder. The company last year added another $3.5 million round. The company moved to Boulder in late 2013 before moving again to Broomfield last November to accommodate growth.

Eight of ViroCyt’s employees are based at the company’s headquarters at 100 Technology Drive in Broomfield, with the rest spread throughout the country. Kline said the acquisition by Sartorius should mean more hiring locally.

“The whole idea behind the partnership is to grow the business, so over time we will be adding resources,” Kline said.

Innosphere-sponsored competition to aid Fort Collins’ Climate Action Plan

FORT COLLINS — Innosphere is collaborating with Fort Collins on implementing the program goals of the city’s Climate Action Plan, according to officials of the city and the locally based technology incubator.

Under the agreement, Innosphere will help the city find the new innovation to meet the plan’s goals concerning water, buildings, mobility solutions, energy and waste reduction.

Innosphere also will organize a competition currently being called “Innovate Fort Collins.” The competition will open July 21, and its finalists will present Sept. 28-29 at Colorado State University’s 21st Century Energy Transition Symposium. The winner will be able to test and demonstrate the technology solution within the Fort Collins grid.

“We want to build on the successful model of these competitions, but the twist to this one is that being successful means you get to deploy your innovation in a real-world situation — which is worth way more than cash,” said Innosphere chief executive Mike Freeman. “The winner will be able to collect real data on how the product is performing, get insight into a real-world customer on how they’re using the technology, and create a “reference account’ and be able to say, ‘This is a significant, known entity that deployed our product successfully.’

“That’s why the technology has to be in a stage where it’s ready to be deployed,” Freeman said. “We’ll give preference to younger companies just bringing innovative ideas to the competition, but we’re looking for the best innovation whether it comes from a startup or an established company.”

“We are excited about this opportunity to work with the city of Fort Collins and the Rocky Mountain Innosphere on this challenge,” said Maury Dobbie, assistant director of CSU’s Center for the New Energy Economy and symposium chair. “Our sixth annual symposium is all about finding solutions related to the energy transition of our country, and one of the ways we’re doing that is through collaboration with industry and government.”

The collaboration between Innosphere, CSU and the city was “kind of an amazing alignment that happened,” said Jacqueline Kozak Thiel, chief sustainability officer for the city of Fort Collins, who unveiled it Thursday night during an Innovation After Hours event at Innosphere. “When we developed our Climate Action Plan in March 2015, it set some of the most ambitious goals in the world, but we needed to figure out how we were going to move the needle toward those goals. We live in an incredibly innovative community, so it’s important for us to leverage that talent and create economic opportunity.

“So the stars aligned with CSU hosting that 21st Century Energy Transition Symposium,” she said. “This used to be called the natural gas symposium, it reflects the transition in energy for the 21st century. CSU wanted to include some sort of competition, and that was perfect because we’d been talking about that with Innosphere. We had an ‘a-ha!’ moment.”

According to the vision behind the competition, the problem to be addressed will change every time the contest is held. The first competition will focus on expanding charging options for electric vehicles.

“We’re offering the city and our infrastructure as a platform to test these solutions,” Thiel said. “A lot of this information we don’t know. For instance, we have some of the biggest proportion of electric-vehicle use in the country. But on a hot August day when people are cranking up their air conditioning, they also have to come home and charge their electric vehicles —.so how can we handle that without overloading the system? The reality is that charging patterns are much more diverse, so how do we utilize that information and adjust the way we plan?”

City officials have modeled electric vehicle use with the assumption that charging is occurring mostly at home at 5 p.m., but mounting evidence shows that actual charging patterns are much more varied.

“We have a lot of $10 problems we need to solve, but we realize the government can’t fund it alone and come up with all the ideas,” Thiel said. “However, the city can throw $1 into that solution and then leverage partnerships to meet it.”

The collaboration with Innosphere and CSU “is not costing the city anything other than staff involvement to try to identify the problems we’re trying to solve,” Thiel said.

Cost has been one of the points of contention since the city came up with the Climate Action Plan. Its goals include reducing carbon emissions 20 percent below 2005 levels in 2020 and 80 percent by 2030 with a desire to be carbon neutral by 2050. To reach the 2020 goals, about 50 percent of the reduced carbon emissions outlined in the Climate Action Plan would need to come from electric sources.

For Innosphere, Freeman said, the collaboration with Fort Collins “really builds on the partnership we already have in the areas we know best — finding technology and innovation and matching them up with what Fort Collins will need to implement the plan.”

To sign up for the competition starting July 21, go to More information about the city of Fort Collins’ Climate Action Plan is online at Registration is open for the CSU symposium at