Telluride, Colo. (June 29, 2016): Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA), an initiative of the Telluride Foundation, invites the community to come to the final presentations of four start-up ventures from the 2016 class and two returning TVA 2014 companies at its 4th annual Demo Day, July 1, 2016 at the Peaks Hotel & Spa in Mountain Village. Each company will present their business in a 7 minute pitch and entertain questions from the audience. Attendees will also hear from part-time Telluride resident Jeffrey G. Katz who will be discussing the startup environment with TVA co-founder Jesse Johnson. Jeff has served as the CEO of many successful companies, including Wize Commerce Inc., Nextag, Leapfrog Enterprises Inc., Orbitz, and SwissAir. Prior to these roles, Jeff was a Vice President at American Airlines, which included a role as President of the Global Distribution System of Sabre Inc. He has held board positions on a number of companies as well, including LeapFrog Enterprises, R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company, Friendster.com, Northwest Airlines, and Orbitz. The schedule of events is as follows:
Friday, July 1, 2016
1:00 PM Fireside Chat: Jeff Katz and Jesse Johnson
1:20 PM TVA Company Presentations:
- Western Rise:CEO and Co-Founder, Will Watters (westernrise.com)
- Element Pet Nutrition:CEO and Founder, Marney Zafian (elementpet.com)
- Pickett: CEO and Co-Founder, Mark Swanson (pickettagent.com)
- GoFish Cam: CEO and Co-Founder, Brandon Austin (gofishcam.com)
TVA Graduate Presentations
- LifeDojo: CEO and Co-Founder, Chris Cutter (lifedojo.com)
- FreshMonster: CEO and Co-Founder, Irena Todd (freshmonster.com)
To register, please visit www.tellurideva.com.
TVA’s flagship program is its five-month long residential accelerator program for early-stage entrepreneurs. This effort provides participating companies with the resources they need to succeed and grow, including hands-on high-level mentoring, advice, practical business training, and access to capital. TVA plays to Telluride’s unique strengths, including access to a high concentration of extremely successful investors and business executives that have a connection to Telluride. TVA is the first accelerator funded and run by a community foundation and the first accelerator to focus on outdoor recreation, tourism, natural products, health, and natural resource management. TVA prioritizes companies with technology solutions in its focus areas.
Founded in 2012, TVA’s mission is to make Telluride a great place to start and grow a business. As of this Demo Day, 19 companies have graduated from TVA, resulting in 6 newly formed Telluride-based companies (2 more in 2016) and $12 million in capital raised. 78% of the companies are still active, with 79% choosing to locate in Colorado and approximately 82 full-time and 11 part-time jobs created. The average amount of capital raised within the first year out of the TVA program is $584,000. TVA encourages accelerator companies to consider location and business relationships in Telluride, the surrounding region and Colorado.
In February of 2016, TVA and the Telluride Foundation was awarded federal and state grants to expand TVA and connect the region through the launch of the Southwest Innovation Corridor (SWIC) initiative. SWIC operates in the eight-county southwest region of Colorado and is a three year effort to bring together loosely connected efforts in entrepreneurism and commercialization to create a purposeful strategy for moving ideas from consideration and development to fundable companies, creating jobs, and sustained economic activity in a geographically disbursed rural area.
TVA invests human and financial capital in innovative enterprises with the aim of building and strengthening the entrepreneurial community in the Telluride region to create a self-sustaining entrepreneurial ecosystem, bringing innovation, jobs, ideas and a renewed dynamism to the region. Along with the Telluride Foundation, TVA is supported by individual donors, foundations, governments and corporate sponsors – notably the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Johnson Family Foundation, the High Meadows Foundation, the Town of Mountain Village, Cooley LLP, Softlayer, ASAP Payroll, the Colorado Impact Fund, Department of Commerce and the Colorado Office of Economic Development & Trade. For more information on TVA, visit www.tellurideva.com.
The Telluride Foundation exists to create a stronger Telluride community through the promotion and support of philanthropy. It is a nonprofit, apolitical community foundation that provides year-round support for local organizations involved in arts, education, athletics, charitable causes, land conservation, and other community-based efforts through technical assistance, education and grant making. As a grant maker, the Foundation awards grants to qualified applicants that serve the people living and working in the Telluride area for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life within the region. For more information on the Telluride Foundation, visit www.telluridefoundation.org.