Category: Sports & Outdoors

BizWest 500 highlights largest, fastest-growing companies

Purchase this new publication by clicking BizWest 500. For a preview of the content, here’s the first page.

Welcome to the BizWest 500, an ambitious undertaking that highlights the largest or fastest-growing companies throughout the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado (and the highest-paid executives).

This special edition of BizWest aggregates content that previously had been published over a span of many months, but it also represents a dramatic increase in the data that we publish on the region’s largest private- and public-sector employers.

In these pages, you’ll find:

• The Mercury 100 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the Boulder Valley, along with five profiles of interesting companies on the list.

• The Mercury 100 list of the fastest-growing private companies in Northern Colorado, along with five profiles of interesting companies on the list.

• A list of the Top 25 highest-paid executives of public companies.

• A list of the 50 largest public-sector employers, including municipalities, counties, universities, federal laboratories, etc.

• A vastly expanded list of the region’s largest employers — 200 companies listed, compared with 50 published last year.

• A list of the largest publicly traded companies based in our region. (We’ve stretched this a bit, opting to include a handful of companies that have shifted their headquarters to the Denver area or other nearby cities, but which retain a significant presence in our region.)

All told, these lists represent the largest number of ranked lists we’ve ever published in one issue, outside of our annual Book of Lists publication.

Most companies cited in these lists responded to our surveys. Others are included based on BizWest estimates, reports by economic-development agencies, news accounts or other sources. Data for the public companies and highest-paid executives lists came entirely from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

This endeavor represents many months of work by our staff, especially our chief researcher, Chad Collins. As with any undertaking of this magnitude, errors and omissions are likely. In particular, our lists of the largest private-sector and public-sector employers will continue to be refined and expanded. If you’d like to see your company included — or if you spot a mistake or other omission — please contact Chad at ccollins@bizwestmedia.com.

It should be noted that we’ve opted to include aggregated numbers for some employers, such as major health systems, as well as numbers for some of their constituent institutions, i.e., a hospital within the system.

If you have a suggestion for the BizWest 500 next year, please feel free to contact me at the number below.

Christopher Wood can be reached at 303-630-1942, 970-232-3133 or cwood@bizwestmedia.com.

Colorado incentives in hand, ZingFit planning August move to Boulder

BOULDER — ZingFit — a software company recently awarded a $2.8 million incentive package by the state of Colorado to relocate its headquarters from New York to Boulder – aims to move in this summer.

Co-founder John Bogosian said in a phone interview Friday that ZingFit is negotiating a lease for office space at 311 Mapleton Ave.

The company, based in East Hampton, N.Y., has six employees at its headquarters now and another eight spread around the country. Twelve of the 14 will make the move to Boulder.

“It’s a great lifestyle (in The Hamptons) but a terrible place to build a business,” Bogosian said. “We want to expand and get our distributed team all in one place and hire a lot more people.

“We’re excited for it. It’s going to be a really fun place to do it.”

ZingFit, which provides online scheduling and studio management for group fitness studios, doesn’t plan on wasting any time on the “hire a lot more people” objective.

The company aims to ramp up to 156 employees by the end of 2018. The state incentives are tied to growing to that size within three years, and Bogosian said they can be reauthorized for five years after that with continued growth. The company ultimately aims to be at 500 employees within eight years.

Bogosian acknowledges the space constraints in Boulder that accompany trying to grow a company to that size. He said he’s not opposed at some point to moving just outside of Boulder or even to Denver to accommodate growth, saying he views the tech scene along Colorado’s Front Range as one connected community. But such decisions will likely be a ways off. He said the space on Mapleton, if a lease is finalized, should serve the company for 18 months to two years.

“I think (Boulder) is a great environment to grow up in,” Bogosian said.

ZingFit had also considered Austin, Texas and Asheville, N.C., for its new headquarters. Austin, he felt, has a great tech ecosystem but is growing too fast as a city. Asheville, he said, had a great setting but not quite the tech ecosystem of Boulder and Austin.

He said the choice of Boulder was about a mixture of lifestyle and ecosystem. He noted the large fitness community locally as well as the growth of the venture-capital community and Boulder’s overall reputation as a tech hub.  Getting most of his team to move, he said, took a bit of a sales job.

“But Boulder made it easy,” Bogosian said. “It was the one place everyone could agree on.”

Founded in 2012 by Bogosian and Jeremy Firsenbaum, the company’s sweet spot is in strength-training and indoor-cycling studios. But it also has clients in the yoga and Pilates spaces, among others.

Bogosian, who declined to disclose revenue, said the goal is to dethrone Mindbody as the major player in the space. But he said the convergence of the fitness and wellness movements are providing so much growth right now that stealing market share won’t be the only way for ZingFit to succeed. The company has plans to break into the health-club space as well, and Bogosian said there is also more and more opportunity internationally as personal fitness is gaining traction in other parts of the world like Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

“It’s amazing to see British people sweating now,” he said. “That’s really an enormous opportunity.”

Correction: The original version of this story stated that ZingFit is negotiating a lease for 314 Mapleton Ave. The correct address is 311 Mapleton.

Google takes viewers on local trails, virtually

Distance, physical limitations or weather no longer can keep people from experiencing the beauty of 20 local mountain trails, thanks to a new venture released Tuesday by Google.

Eleven trails in the Flatirons above Boulder as well as seven in Rocky Mountain National Park and two in the town of Estes Park have been captured with Google’s Street View Trekker — the same technology used since 2007 by cameras atop Google cars that provide 360-degree views along streets and highways worldwide, except mounted instead atop a wearable backpack introduced by Google in 2012.

The 40-pound Trekker is worn by an operator and walked along trails or pedestrian walkways. All the while, the camera’s 15 lenses — about two feet above the walker’s shoulders — automatically gather images in all directions, one every 2.5 seconds, powered by a battery that can last about 68 hours on a full charge. The stored images are then stitched together at a Google facility in Mountain View, Calif., to create the 360-degree views.

The Street View images allow users to make virtual visits to many of Colorado’s most iconic and impressive landscapes, and also can enhance marketing for Colorado’s tourism industry, said Brooke Burnham, director of communications and public relations for Visit Estes Park.

“We really see them as a great tool,” she said. “We have a page on our website that highlights all of them. We also can see how it connects to other user-generated content, so viewers can see what other people have experienced during other seasons.”

As part of a loan program formed by Google, Visit Estes Park staffers and interns as well as some volunteers wore the camera-topped backpacks last summer as they hiked the Lake Estes trail and the downtown Riverwalk in Estes Park, as well as the Bear Lake, Sprague Lake, Lily Lake, Knoll Willows, Deer Mountain, Forest Canyon Overlook and Toll Memorial trails in Rocky Mountain National Park.

In Boulder’s mountain parklands, meanwhile, staffers from the Google office recorded scenes in the Flatirons along the Vista South, Prairie Vista, Homestead, Shadow Canyon, Mesa, Marshall Mesa, Community Ditch, Marshall Valley, Doudy Draw, Spring Brook Loop South and Towhee trails, said Susan Cadrecha, communications manager for Google Maps.

“It’s kind of a wacky idea,” she said, “but we realized that people really enjoyed going to destinations they might not otherwise get to, or even looking at their childhood home.”

Since 2014, the Trekker loan program has worked with nonprofits and tourist boards, asking them to “collect the places they know and love,” Cadrecha said. “We do need help to do it. But since the release, we’ve worked with about 200 partners all over the world — and this is our moment in Colorado.”

The devices also were loaned to the Denver Convention and Visitors Bureau and other groups, allowing virtual viewers on their computers, tablets or Android or iOS cell phones to travel around places such the Denver Botanic Gardens, Red Rocks Amphitheater, Civic Center and Washington parks and the Denver Zoo, as well as the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs and the Wild Animal Sanctuary near Keenesburg.

Viewers also can access the images by searching for a destination in Google Maps for mobile and then selecting the Street View option.

First used at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, the Trekker has since traveled to natural wonders and world heritage sites such as the Taj Mahal in India, the Galapagos Islands and the historic pedestrian paths in Venice. It’s also been walked into indoor spaces such as the legendary Berghoff German restaurant in Chicago’s Loop and a First Nations school in Iqaluit, the capital of Canada’s Nunavut territory. It’s been whitewater rafting on the Colorado River, strolling among the Pyramids in Egypt, and climbing Mount Fuji in Japan.

A Web page linking to other places the Trekker has been is online.

Direct links to many of the local trails featured include:

Flatirons, Vista South Trail

Flatirons, Prairie Vista 

Flatirons, Homestead Trail 

Flatirons, Shadow Canyon Trail 

Flatirons, Mesa Trail 

Flatirons, Marshall Mesa 

Flatirons, Community Ditch 

Flatirons, Marshall Valley 

Flatirons, Doudy Draw Trail 

Flatirons, Spring Brook Loop South Trail 

Flatirons, Towhee Trail 

Lake Estes Trail 

Estes Park Riverwalk 

Knoll Willows Trail, Estes Park 

Sprague Lake Trail, Estes Park 

Bear Lake Trail, Estes Park 

Lily Lake Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park 

Deer Mountain Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park 

Forest Canyon Overlook, Rocky Mountain National Park 

Toll Memorial Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park 

Wild Animal Sanctuary 

The Pro’s Closet lands $2.5M investment to fuel national expansion

BOULDER — The Pro’s Closet LLC — a 9-year-old Boulder business that touts itself as the largest used-bike store in the world — has raised $2.5 million in new equity funding as the company looks to expand its physical footprint nationally.

Range Light LLC, an investment firm with offices in Chicago and Boulder, was the sole investor, purchasing a minority stake in the company.

The Pro’s Closet founder Nick Martin said Thursday that the funds will be used largely build out the customer software needed to scale the business, which handles 100 percent of its sales online.

Over the past eight months, The Pro’s Closet has been prototyping a trade-up program, where bike owners receive an appraisal of their used bikes and a voucher from the company in that amount that they can use toward the purchase of a new bike at a partnering bike shop in town. The Pro’s Closet then reimburses those bike shops for the vouchers in exchange for the used bikes, which the company then sells or disassembles to sell the parts.

The Pro’s Closet moved its headquarters and processing center from north Broadway to new, larger digs at 2845 29th St. in February. The company, which saw sales just shy of $8 million in 2015, also has a warehouse in Denver.

Martin said the plan is to add warehouses in other cities where it can then strike up local partnerships with bike shops on the trade-up program, build community relationships, and gain access to more used-bike inventory.

“It’s been really successful, so we’re building out the plan to scale that out nationally,” Martin said.

He said the hope is to begin adding cities within the next year. Specific cities haven’t yet been determined, though he said likely targets would be other bike-friendly locales such as Portland, Ore.; Austin, Texas; and San Francisco, with California likely to come first.

The out-of-state locations will be lean operations with three people each that will gather bikes and send them back to the processing center in Boulder.

“We’re just going to test out and see what markets work best,” Martin said.

While The Pro’s Closet does sell some bikes, parting them out is the company’s core business model because much of their revenue comes from oversees and it’s easier to ship parts rather than whole bikes.

The company is already using about 10,000 square feet of space at its new location and is in the process of building out another 12,000. He said the hope is that the space will give the company room to grow for at least the next six years.

Founded in 2007, The Pro’s Closet now employs 33 people. Martin said that number won’t grow much in the short term, though more marketing and corporate functions will be added in Boulder as the business continues to ramp up in other markets.

TeamSnap hires former NexGen Storage CFO Benner

BOULDER — TeamSnap Inc. announced on Monday that the company has hired as chief financial officer Pat Benner, who twice in the past three years helped guide Louisville-based NexGen Storage through sales to other firms.

TeamSnap’s chief executive and cofounder David DuPont cautioned, though, that the hiring of Benner doesn’t mean the firm is strolling around with the stated goal of being acquired. But he did acknowledge that Benner’s experience could come in handy for a company that has its own track record of making acquisitions.

“Mergers and acquisitions are just part of the portfolio of a broad-shouldered CFO,” DuPont said. “It is true that, as we grow and as we outdistance competitors in a fragmented market, I expect us to have acquisition opportunities.”

Benner replaces Daryl Overholt, who DuPont said left to pursue other interests. Overholt’s LinkedIn profile now lists him as CFO of Westminster-based World Panel.

Boulder-based TeamSnap — founded in 2009 by DuPont and four others — makes a mobile platform for keeping coaches, parents and young athletes in tune with every aspect of team life, from practice times and locations to game schedules to uniform and equipment needs.

The platform provides not only a consumer solution for coaches and athletes, but is also an enterprise play, as it relates to entire leagues signing on for the service.

As much as Benner’s merger and acquisition expertise, his unique experience in both the consumer and enterprise realms made him a strong fit, particularly, DuPont said, with such experience on the consumer side tougher to come by along the Front Range.

Benner served as CFO for flash-storage provider NexGen when it was acquired by Fusion.io in 2013. After SanDisk acquired Fusion.io, he helped guide NexGen as it spun off into its own company once again last year and then eventually merged with Texas-based Pivot3 earlier this year.

But he’s also served as CFO for a broad range of companies that includes TapInfluence, The Beryl Cos., StrionAir and McKesson Health Solutions.

“Pat has brought expertise in guiding companies through the kind of growth we’re experiencing,” DuPont said.

TeamSnap’s growth includes the acquisitions of Easy Team Manager in 2014 and the 2013 purchase of Weplay, which had significant venture backing, including investment and promotion from pro athletes such as Peyton Manning, LeBron James and Derek Jeter.

TeamSnap doesn’t disclose revenue, but it has seen its number of users double over the past 18 months to 10 million in 196 countries.

TeamSnap raised a $10 million Series B funding round last summer. At the time, the company had about 65 employees, roughly a third of whom were in Boulder. Without getting specific, DuPont said the company’s headcount is now approaching 100, though he said the pace of hiring is tapering off.

TeamSnap in January moved into a new office at the corner of 14th and Spruce streets in downtown Boulder that DuPont said should last awhile for the company, for which a large percentage of employees telecommute.

Tech spars: Founder Fights boxing added to Boulder Startup Week lineup

BOULDER — When the word “valuation” enters the pre-bout boxing trash talk, you know it’s a pair of seasoned entrepreneurs stepping in the ring.

“Winner gets to pick valuation,” PivotDesk CEO David Mandell tweeted last week to Brad Feld, the Techstars cofounder and Boulder venture capitalist whose firm, Foundry Group, is an investor in PivotDesk.

Fightin’ words. Boulder-style.

Both men are signed up to participate in Founder Fights, a new event on the Boulder Startup Week calendar this year aiming to match up founders, VCs and other local business owners to raise money for charity. The event will be held in the New Vista High School gym on May 20, the final night of BSW.

Carrie Barry

Carrie Barry

David Mandell

David Mandell

It’s an event dreamed up by Mandell, who has been training with The Corner Boxing Club cofounder Carrie Barry for well over a year. The relationship started as a way for Mandell to rehab a bad back but quickly morphed into his newfound love of boxing.

Entrepreneurs are notorious, after all, for being consumed mentally, and often physically, by the pursuit of their companies. What better way to escape than by taking — or rather trying not to take — a few punches.

“With boxing, all of that stuff disappears,” Mandell said this week of the stresses of running a startup. “You’re so focused for that hour, it’s almost meditative because you don’t think about anything else. … Not only that, you get to hit stuff.”

“It’s completely changed my life over the year and a half I’ve been doing it.”

The idea of Founder Fights is one that’s quickly resonated in Boulder’s startup community. Barry said 18 people have signed up to participate so far. Noted startup coach Jerry Colonna is among them, as are Made Movement partner Graham Furlong and Premier Mortgage Group’s Ariel Solomon, a former University of Colorado and NFL football player. Techstars’ Nicole Glaros is one of the latest to throw her name in the ring, tweeting Tuesday, “ok. I’m in. how do I join?”

Of course, Mandell, Feld and the others will have to make it through Barry’s training regimen before they’re allowed to settle their fiscal feuds with gloves.

Far from your average strongman competition, Founder Fights will be a USA Boxing-sanctioned event run by Barry, a former U.S. national team captain.

Barry said fighters will be matched according to age, weight and ability, with plenty of emphasis on athlete safety. They’ll also be meeting at the gym at 5:30 a.m. a couple of days per week in the coming weeks to learn the basics of boxing and get ready. Nobody will box under the lights on May 20 without making it through the training and proving to Barry they’re ready, she said. Bouts, for the most part, will consist of three 1-minute rounds. About two weeks before Founder Fights, projected competitors will spar to make sure people are evenly matched.

Because who’s going to run the city’s startups if a bunch of ill-prepared founders get knocked out?

“Just because they sign up doesn’t mean I’m going to let them box,” Barry said.

Ideally, she said she’s hoping for about six or so founder bouts intermingled with four regular amateur bouts featuring fighters who train at her gym squaring off against fighters from other gyms.

Sponsor tables are going for between $1,000 and $3,000, with individual tickets also available at www.founderfights.com. New Vista will receive some of the door proceeds for hosting. But a title charity will also be selected to receive proceeds from the event. And participants themselves will be raising money, box-a-thon-style, for the charities of their choices as well.

“It’s a really cool opportunity for them to get their health back and get back into shape if they’ve gotten out of shape … do something competitive, and do something to give back to our community,” Barry said.

Barry cofounded The Corner Boxing Club, 5500 Central Ave., with her wife, Kirsten Marshall, not quite two years ago. The two coaches — Marshall is also an active competitor — also have Khumiso Ikgopoleng, a three-time Olympian from Botswana, on their staff.

While The Corner Boxing Club might be the first to stage a Founder Fights event, the club might not be the last.

Mandell said he’s gotten inquiries from other cities around the country that host their own startup weeks about staging similar events.

“We don’t want to commit to anything before we get through this one,” Mandell said. “But it could have a lot more legs.

“It’s certainly turned into a lot bigger event than we thought it would be at first.”

Submissions sought for Mercury 100 fastest-growing companies list

BizWest is seeking submissions for its Mercury 100 lists of fastest-growing private companies in the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado. The Boulder Valley list will include companies based in Boulder and Broomfield counties, while the Northern Colorado list will include companies in Larimer and Weld counties. Both lists will rank companies based on two-year revenue growth.

To be included, companies:

• Must be headquartered in the Boulder Valley or Northern Colorado (Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer or Weld counties).

• Must be privately held.

• Must include revenue for each of the past three years (Each year’s revenues must include a full 12 months).

Companies in both lists will be divided into five “flights” based on revenue ranges. Rankings will be revealed at two Mercury 100 celebrations. The Northern Colorado event is scheduled for May 11 at McWhinney, 1880 Fall River Drive, in Loveland. The Boulder Valley program is May 25 at the Lionsgate Event Center at 1055 S. 112th St. in Lafayette.

To be considered for the Mercury 100 programs, companies can submit data here. Deadline for submission is March 9.

Estes Park works to form business incubator

ESTES PARK — The tourist town at the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park soon could have a business incubator that’s specially designed for a mountain resort community instead of the familiar models that are geared toward an urban technology corridor.

The Estes Park Economic Development Corp. this week announced the launch of its “Leveraging Human Capital for a Sustainable Business Incubator” initiative, tasked with developing a business plan for the program.

The project is being funded with the third and final portion of a $300,000 grant the town and the Estes Park EDC received in September 2014 from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.

“In the wake of the 2013 floods, we were looking at what can we do not just to recover but to come back strong,” said Jon Nicholas, the EDC’s president and chief executive. “When we got this grant, we used part of it for initial planning for competitive broadband, and the second part to develop a regional economic strategy.”

After fielding competitive bids from nine consultants, the EDC hired Austin, Texas-based seed-stage venture-capital firm ATP Management LLC to help it lay the groundwork for the incubator.

“They’ve played such a big role throughout Texas, and they’ve also involved Mike Freeman at Innosphere,” Nicholas said. “All of these people have worked together in different contexts.”

Freeman, chief executive of the Fort Collins-based Innosphere business incubator, is part of the project team, along with Kyle Cox, manager of the ATP Fund; Isaac Barchas, head of the Austin Technology Incubator, the longest-established venture incubator; Ryan Field, research manager at ATI and lead researcher at LiveOak Venture Partners; and Jamie Rhodes, who founded the Central Texas Angel Network and the Association of Texas Angel Networks.

“We believe that Estes Park has unique, untapped assets and capabilities on which to build an incubator program with the potential for national draw,” said Cox, who is leading the project, in a prepared statement issued by the Estes Park EDC. “Our collaborative approach will design an incubator program that will complement and reinforce the unique assets and capabilities, support the businesses that grow from it, and market the resulting Estes Park ecosystem nationally and internationally.”

That ecosystem is profoundly different from others in the region, Nicholas said, and it thus requires different approaches and goals.

“Because we are a resort community, we will not look like an incubator in Fort Collins or Denver,” Nicholas said. “We’ve looked around at what other resort communities are doing, such as the Telluride Venture Accelerator, to narrow down who our target market is: local businesses that want to expand, and then outdoor gear, apparel, wellness-oriented businesses, breweries, and arts-and-crafts-related businesses that are very suitable for our community. How can Estes Park become a destination for them?”

Nicholas and the project managers also will tap local talent, both to get the incubator going and to sustain it.

“A lot of second-home owners here have a lot of expertise and knowledge that could prove valuable to startups,” Nicholas said. “The first step is in creating an entrepreneur- and startup-friendly community. Between Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins, there’s a great deal of entrepreneurship and support networks for that.”

The Estes Park EDC also is forming a local committee including Estes Valley business owners, entrepreneurs and angel investors to help complete the project.

The team from Texas will visit Estes Park March 8-10 for a series of what Nicholas said would be both private meetings and opportunities for public discussion and involvement.

“It’ll be a chance for us to determine what kind of services we can offer that will create a sustainable business model for the incubator itself,” Nicholas said. “Is it a traditional incubator versus an accelerator? What role would a co-working space play? Will it be for-profit or nonprofit?

“A lot of this is about creating the community,” he said. “Investors want to know they can identify good opportunities, and startups want to know they’re getting access to the programs and resources that will help them.”

More information will be available on the EDC’s website, estesparkedc.com.

Trimble helps clean up for Super Bowl 50

With 70,000 football fans and thousands of others descending on Santa Clara, Calif., near San Jose, for Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 matchup between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers, it’s a perfect opportunity for businesses to clean up. But a company with presences in Broomfield and Boulder is helping San José clean up — literally.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Trimble Navigation Ltd. (Nasdaq: TRMB), which has offices at 10368 Westmoor Drive in Broomfield and 4730 Walnut St., Suite 301, in Boulder, is using its geospatial technology to help the city more efficiently spruce up in advance and then spot and pick up trash the visiting hordes leave around the various Super Bowl-related events so that San Jose looks its best in the world media spotlight.

Key players in the cleanup are TerraFlex field data capture software, developed at Trimble Geospatial in Broomfield, and a San Jose State University-based organization called CommUniverCity, which partners with underserved communities in the city to give students experience in solving neighborhood issues.

TerraFlex is a cloud-based solution for managing and streamlining data collection from a mobile device, eliminating the need to transcribe written notes.

“For the clean-up campaign, San Jose had ‘spotters’ and drivers,” said Rick Gosalvez, local government market manager for Trimble. “The spotters were the students, city staff and CommUniverCity people. While the drivers traversed the street routes, the spotters collected data in Trimble TerraFlex, which was automatically synced and mapped to the cloud for office staff to preview and use for analysis and planning.”

The city identified key “hotspots” where illegal dumping was likely to occur, helping CommUniverCity map out four square miles of potential sites. Using TerraFlex, project leaders created data-collection forms including fields for location of trash — such as along sidewalks, medians or fence lines — as well as the type of trash, how accessible it was and whether it was electronic or hazardous material.

Once the dumping sites were identified, CommUniverCity created maps so trash haulers could easily find the sites and clean up the trash.

Even after the game is over and the crowds have departed, San Jose plans to use the data TerraFlex gathered to help deter illegal dumping and make the city cleaner and safer in the future.

Companies to watch in 2016

Some are planning major expansions or restructuring. Some are poised for explosive growth. Others are facing some daunting challenges. But we expect all of them to be making news next year. Here are our picks for companies to watch in 2016 in the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado.

AEROSPACE

PlanetiQ

Sometime late this year, India will launch two weather satellites developed by Boulder-based startup PlanetiQ, as the result of a 2015 deal with Antrix Corp. Ltd., the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organization. Ten more of the satellites are slated for launch for 2017.

PlanetiQ’s 10-kilogram microsatellites will fly the company’s Pyxis-RO sensor that uses radio occultation to measure global temperature, pressure and water vapor in the atmosphere, and electron density in the ionosphere. PlanetiQ plans to sell the data gathered by the satellites to customers in the meteorology, aviation, shipping, defense, intelligence and agriculture industries. PlanetiQ has 12 employees in Boulder and six in Bethesda, Md. In August, when the company announced its move to Boulder, officials said the firm could add one or two dozen employees over the coming months.

Sierra Nevada

Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Space Systems Division in Louisville will be busy this year after landing a piece of $14 billion in NASA contracts to carry supplies and experiments to the International Space Station aboard a versatile, cargo-only version of its Dream Chaser spacecraft, which has folding wings and an added cargo module attached to the back. It had lost out in 2014 on a NASA contract to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS aboard the original, crewed version of Dream Chaser. The division  also has extended deals with international space agencies including the German Aerospace Center to develop Dream Chaser’s crewed and uncrewed capabilities. It also has supplied satellites for ORBCOMM’s global machine-to-machine communications network. Thanks to a $23.2 million incentive package from the state, the Sparks, Nev.-based company is developing an $88 million campus in Colorado Springs to house its new Sierra Completions Division that will create jet interiors and overhaul aircraft.

AGRIBUSINESS

Agrium Inc.

Canada-based Agrium Inc. in 2015 announced two major investments in Northern Colorado that will play out in 2016.

The producer and distributor of crop nutrients, crop-protection products and seeds will add employees in Loveland at one of its subsidiaries, Crop Production Services Inc., and will open an 18,000-square-foot facility in Greeley for researching and testing new fertilizer products.

A company spokesman said Agrium will bring jobs to Loveland, possibly growing to 700 workers from its current headcount of 400 in the Rangeview Office Campus. The additional workers will be housed in a new office building being built by McWhinney Real Estate Services Inc. that Agrium will lease.

The facility in Greeley will employ about a dozen workers, mostly scientists, who will conduct research to develop substances used for pest control or for soil-fertility management, and on how to ramp up the volume of production of ag products it sells primarily in the United States, Canada, South America, Europe and Australia.

Agribotix LLC

Boulder-based Agribotix LLC likely will continue to grow at a rapid clip as it enters agreements with organizations in low-tech cultures to provide them with high-tech data to improve crop yields.

Agribotix, founded in 2013 by Tom McKinnon, designs and manufactures drones that carry a camera and the company’s software system, which collects data to help farmers become more successful. The key selling point is the company’s software that analyzes the data and then provides recommendations on crop management.

It spent much of 2015 securing contracts and entering joint ventures with organizations in Latin America, United Kingdom, East Asia and Australia to provide it services, and it hired Lou Faust to run the company. Faust has more than 30 years of management experience and 10 years on Wall Street as managing director with Salomon Brothers (Citigroup). His expertise is in creating growth strategies, raising capital and leading startups to successful exits.

<b>Natural/Organic: U Baron Group:</b>The company is made up of Izzio’s Artisan Bakery, Etai’s Catering, six Etai’s Bakery Cafes and two full-service restaurants.

Natural/Organic: U Baron Group. The company is made up of Izzio’s Artisan Bakery, Etai’s Catering, six Etai’s Bakery Cafes and two full-service restaurants.
Courtesy U Baron Group

BANKING

Bank of America

Bankers in Boulder and the surrounding area will be waiting to see what impact the second-largest bank in the United States will have on market share when it opens a full-service bank at 1965 28th St. in Boulder later this year.

Announced in 2014, this will be Bank of America’s first full-service bank in Boulder and third in Colorado. It recently opened a full-service bank in Denver and is working on one in Highlands Ranch.

The new bank in Boulder, under construction at the site of a former Wendy’s restaurant, will be approximately 2,850 square feet, with tellers, small-business bankers and mortgage officers and a one-lane, ATM-only drive-through.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America Corp. is the second-largest bank in the United States with assets of $2.15 trillion and deposits of $1.16 trillion, according to Bankrate.com.

New Resource Bank

San Francisco-based New Resource Bank will open a loan-production office in Boulder, where it wants to provide loans to businesses and nonprofits that benefit the community and preserve the planet. Bill Peterson, executive vice president and chief credit officer, said he believes Boulder fits that niche market.

Colorado Division of Banking documents show that New Resource (OTC Pink: NWBN) has applied to open an office at 1877 Broadway, Suite 100, in the Randolph Center, but Peterson said the bank still is working through internal and regulatory issues and isn’t ready to make a “official announcement.”

The bank makes loans to companies and organizations “that benefit our communities and preserve our planet.” Peterson said the bank works with nonprofits, health and wellness companies, and organizations that work to preserve the environment.

Led by president and chief executive Vincent Siciliano, the bank, as of July, had loans totaling $179.6 million – a 2.8 percent increase compared with the same time in 2014.

BIOSCIENCE

Array Biopharma Inc.

Signs are pointing toward a big 2016 for Boulder-based Array (Nasdaq: ARRY) assuming a trio of Phase 3 trials for the company’s cancer drugs binimetinib and encorafenib can return positive results. Array officials are aiming to submit a New Drug Application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for binimetinib in the treatment of NRAS-mutant melanoma in the first half of this year. A regulatory submission for the combination of binimetinib and encorafenib in the treatment of BRAF melanoma also is expected to occur this year.

In December, Array closed a deal with French firm Pierre Fabre to commercialize the two drugs in Europe, Latin America and much of Asia – a pact that gave Array a $30 million payment up front and up to $425 million in milestone payments and royalties.

Clovis Oncology Inc.

Boulder-based Clovis (Nasdaq: CLVS) is likewise pushing toward commercialization this year, albeit amid plenty of turbulence.

The company is aiming to submit a New Drug Application for rucaparib for the treatment of ovarian cancer this year. Clovis also is hoping to receive a decision from the FDA by June on its New Drug Application submitted last summer for rociletinib in the treatment of lung cancer. However, a delay in the rociletinib decision announced in November caused the company’s share price to plunge 70 percent and has spurred lawsuits from shareholders who allege Clovis made false and misleading statements about itself and clinical data regarding one of its cancer drugs.

Heska Corp.

Loveland-based Heska (Nasdaq: HSKA), which sells veterinary diagnostic and specialty products, is coming off of a glowing 2015 that saw the company’s share price more than double.

In November, the company acquired Cuattro Veterinary LLC, giving Heska, which employs about 140 people in Loveland, access to the international market for its blood diagnostic platforms. Profits rose in each of the first three quarters of 2015, including a jump to 20 cents per share in the third quarter of 2015 from 8 cents per share in the same period a year earlier.

Wall Street analysts seem to remain bullish on Heska stock, expecting it to approach $40 per share in the coming year.

ENERGY

Gravity Renewables Inc.

Increased emphasis on renewable-energy projects could send Gravity Renewables Inc. soaring.

The Boulder-based owner and operator of small hydroelectric power plants last year acquired several hydroelectric plants in the Northeast, and signed deals to provide clean hydropower to organizations including St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y.; Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; and others.

As of October, Gravity had more than 34 megawatts of hydroelectric projects operating and under development around the country. The company raised $7 million from private backers, according to a February filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Vestas Wind Systems A/S

The winds of change continue to blow for Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the Danish wind-turbine manufacturer that operates plants in Windsor, Brighton and Pueblo.

Vestas in March announced plans to add 400 production workers to its Windsor facility, including 300 employees and 100 temporary employees. The company followed that up with an August announcement that it would add 350 workers at its Windsor and Brighton plants.

Energy: Vestas In March the company announced plans to add 400 production workers to its Windsor facility, including 300 employees and 100 temporary employees.

Energy: Vestas
In March the company announced plans to add
400 production workers to its Windsor facility, including 300 employees and 100 temporary employees.
Joel Blocker/For BizWest

Fueling the growth have been strong orders from companies such as EDF Renewable Energy, which have prompted the company to add another 100,000 square feet at the Windsor site.

The Broe Group

The first half of 2016 will be telling for a $900 million deal between Encana Corp. and Crestone Peak Resources, a company 95 percent owned by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and 5 percent by The Broe Group of Denver.

The deal, whereby Encana would sell its Colorado assets to Crestone, originally was expected to close at the end of 2015 but was delayed for up to six months at year-end. Encana’s holdings in the Denver-Julesburg Basin include 51,000 net acres and more than 1,600 wells.

The new venture would operate as a stand-alone business, with Broe assembling a management team for the firm.

<b>Technology: Aleph Objects Inc. </b>The company tripled in revenue in 2015 to $15 million and grew to 100 employees.

Technology: Aleph Objects Inc. The company tripled in revenue in 2015 to $15 million and grew to 100 employees. Courtesy Aleph Objects Inc.

HEALTH CARE

University of Colorado Health

UCHealth was one of the most aggressive health systems in the state in 2015, and that pattern doesn’t look to let up in 2016.

Construction is ongoing at two new UCHealth hospitals in the region: Longs Peak Hospital in Longmont and UCHealth Broomfield Hospital in Broomfield. Those projects followed on the heels of the group’s acquisition of Longmont Clinic at the beginning of 2015.

UCHealth has expanded rapidly since its formation in 2012, through creation of a joint venture4 between Poudre Valley Health System and University of Colorado Hospital. Expansion is under way at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, and a new stand-alone emergency room opened in Fort Collins in October.

Boulder Community Health

More expansion is under way for Boulder Community Health, which relocated its major hospital operations to its expanded campus at Foothills Parkway and Arapahoe Avenue in 2014.

Late last year, BCH sold its Broadway campus to the city of Boulder, with additional operations expected to move to the Foothills area over the coming months. BCH plans to build a 75,000-square-foot, three- to four-story building in the Riverbend business park east of the Foothills campus, along with a parking garage.

Boulder Community represents one of the last remaining independent hospitals in the state and has expressed an intent to remain so, even in the face of increasing competition all around it.

NATURAL/ORGANIC

U Baron Group

With the 2012 sale of the Udi’s brand and the gluten-free part of the company to Boulder Brands, the bread makers and business people of the company, newly named U Baron Group, are back to square one: baking handmade breads made with old-world techniques – gluten included.

The unique mission for Izzio’s Artisan Bakery, U Baron’s 25,000-square-foot facility in Louisville named for master baker Maurizio Negrini, is to produce farmer’s market-style bread and sell it nationally, three ways: a bread that’s 90 percent baked and then frozen and finished by grocers and then bagged using Izzio bags, a take-and-bake variety and sliced sandwich bread.

U Baron is a lot bigger than it was when Etai Baron first set up shop in 1994. There is Etai’s Catering, six Etai’s Bakery Cafes and two full-service restaurants. Two additional European-style bread stands are scheduled to open late next summer – in Aurora and Denver.

Meyer’s Natural Foods

Growth in the demand for natural beef products has propelled Loveland-based Meyer Natural Foods to acquire 4.35 acres of vacant land in the Centerra area from University of Colorado Health and begin construction of a 33,000-square-foot corporate headquarters. The buildings will accommodate the company’s growing natural and organic beef business in the United States, as well as its expanding beef export business.

Meyer’s product lines include Laura’s Lean Beef, Dakota Beef and Meyer Natural Angus. Its variety of steak cuts, including filet mignon, ribeye, New York strip and top sirloin, and ground beef are made from cattle raised on a vegetarian diet free of hormones and antibiotics.

OUTDOORS

My Trail Co.

Can Demetri “Coup” Coupounas rebound from the 2015 demise of GoLite, the Boulder-based outdoor retailer he founded with wife Kim? He’ll try by resurrecting the old product line under the new brand My Trail Co. He’s been looking for investors to help the new company sell products online, with an eye on opening its first retail stores along the Front Range this year.

Coupounas said the new model will be to focus on the core products with which the company did well, such as tents, backpacks and rain gear. and eliminate nonessentials such as casual wear.

My Trail’s plan also will be to open stores in the 1,200-square-foot range rather than the 4,000- and 5,000-square-foot stores that ultimately failed under the GoLite flag. Coupounas has so far raised $292,000 through a direct public offering to try to get the new venture off the ground.

Xero Shoes

Feel the World Inc., which does business as Xero Shoes, is hoping to tap into some of the magic that propelled Niwot-based shoemaker Crocs to international fame. Broomfield-based Xero brought in former Crocs chief executive John McCarvel as chairman of the board and lead investor. McCarvel led Crocs’ growth from $645 billion in revenue in 2009 to $1.2 billion in sales in 2013 before retiring in April 2014. With the move, McCarvel reconnected with Xero chief product officer Dennis Driscoll, whom McCarvel originally brought to Colorado as Crocs’ head of global design.

Xero makes a line of minimalist footwear it dubs “lightweight performance recreation sandals.” It moved from Boulder to Broomfield last year as the company experienced rapid growth.

REAL ESTATE

Brinkman Partners

Wrapping up its 10th year in business, Fort Collins-based Brinkman Partners has established itself as a company to watch in the real estate industry as it expands its services and reach in Northern Colorado, the Boulder Valley and metropolitan Denver.

Founded by brothers Paul and Kevin Brinkman, along with others, the company has grown to more than 100 people working to integrate their expertise across a variety of services including commercial brokerage, construction, development, real estate management and capital markets.

Brinkman’s projects run the gamut of office, multifamily, commercial and retail, breweries, health care and tenant finish.

Element Properties

Scott Holton and Chris Jacobs, co-founders of Element Properties, a real estate development company based in Boulder, are incorporating their respect for the environment and the community in their projects, which range from infill and affordable housing to luxury townhomes and mixed-use places.

This coming year, Element will team with Allison Management and the Michaels Organization in a $63 million project, converting 238 apartment units to Boulder’s affordable-housing stock. Element recently added financial partners to its $100 million S’Park mixed-use project in Boulder at the site of the former Sutherland lumber yard.

Last year, Holton and Jacobs sold Element’s property-management division to Heartwood Properties Inc. to focus on development projects. Heartwood Properties Inc., a property-management and brokerage firm, and Heartwood Capital LLC, an affiliate real estate investment firm, share the same address with Element Properties.

TECHNOLOGY

Aleph Objects Inc.

Loveland-based Aleph, founded in 2011, has quickly entrenched itself as a significant player in Northern Colorado’s tech scene.

The company, which manufactures desktop 3-D printers based on open-source hardware specs and software, tripled in revenue in 2015 to $15 million and grew to 100 employees. Company officials say their plan is to keep scaling up, with multiple hardware and software upgrades on tap for this year.

Early this year, the company announced, it will open a fulfillment center in Australia to help grow the company’s international footprint.

Avago Technologies

Fort Collins’ third-largest primary employer is aiming to grow, thanks in large part to an under-construction $57 million expansion of its Harmony Road facility that will add more than 120,000 square feet of space to the 1.2 million-square-foot building.

Avago Technologies (Nasdaq: AVGO), a maker of semiconductors for the cellular and other industries, is co-headquartered in Singapore and San Jose, Calif., but its largest employment presence is in Fort Collins, where it has an estimated 1,300 employees already.

Avago stock has nearly doubled over the past 18 months, fueled in part by the $37 billion acquisition of competitor Broadcom, a deal that is expected to close in February and make Avago a roughly $14 billion-per-year company.

SolidFire Inc.

Hard-charging enterprise storage provider SolidFire figures to keep surging in 2016, although under which flag? California-based NetApp (Nasdaq: NTAP) announced in December plans to acquire Boulder-based SolidFire for $870 million, and it remains to be seen whether SolidFire will maintain its branding or be rolled into the NetApp line.

SolidFire officials have said the plan is still for the company to move into ritzy new downtown Boulder redevelopment PearlWest, where the company leased 62,000 square feet of space last year. But that move now could bring along with it some employees from NetApp, which has an office in east Boulder.

While SolidFire officials, before the acquisition announcement, had said they expected to grow to more than 500 employees in Boulder in coming years, the pace of that growth now depends largely on NetApp’s plans.

Christopher Wood, Dallas Heltzell, Joshua Lindenstein and Doug Storum contributed to this report.