The Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA) completed its third year, launching five companies into their next phases of business, seeking investors and implementing their business plans. The culmination of the TVA program each year, the much anticipated “Demo Day” took place July 1, 2015. Held at The Peaks Resort & Spa in Mountain Village, the five companies pitched their companies and stories to approximately 150 angel and institutional investors, mentors, and interested parties. Already, nine days after Demo Days, the five companies have raised more than $700,000. Following Demo Day, the companies are hitting the road to present their businesses to investors in Denver and San Francisco.
A social event the evening before Demo Day featured a keynote presentation by Joseph Andrew, Global Chairman of Dentons, and a panel discussion moderated by Bruce Evans, Managing Director of Summit Partners. The panel focused on “Disruption and Entrepreneurship” and included Joseph Andrew, Global Chairman of Dentons; Brad Feld, Managing Director of Foundry Group and Co-Founder of TechStars; and Jim Kelley, Managing Director and Founder of Vestar Capital Partners and the Colorado Impact Fund. Brad Feld also participated in a “fireside chat” with TVA co-founder and CEO Jesse Johnson during the Demo Day program. “It was especially meaningful to have Brad Feld as our keynote at this year’s Demo Day,” said Johnson. “Brad was uniquely helpful to TVA from the start – he sent us an advance, free copy of his book Startup Communities, invited us to attend TechStars’ Boulder Demo Day and put us in touch with many people. He has held office hours with our graduates, sent mentors and companies our way, and has been eager to lend a hand at every turn.”
For its third round, TVA selected five companies out of more than 100 applicants from around the world to participate in its 2015 five-month business accelerator program. Leveraging TVA’s extensive network of more than 80 mentors, they created new products, refined business plans, generated financial models, finalized investment term sheets, secured customers, and evolved their marketing and branding strategies. “TVA provided Travel Recon with opportunities and access to mentors in the travel industry that otherwise would not have been available to us,” commented Toby Houchens, CEO of Travel Recon, who is considering headquartering in or near Telluride. “The location of TVA in Telluride provided a concentrated line-up of world class business mentors unparalleled in other parts of the U.S.”
Operating in the co-working space hosted by The Peaks Resort & Spa, all of the ventures made substantial progress throughout the program. The companies have benefited from TVA’s 80+ mentors, including entrepreneurs-in-residence, who guided the companies through their 5 months. “The mentorship and connections we have received through TVA has been invaluable. We’ve been able to meet with key strategic partners in the healthcare industry,” says Tallis Salamatian, CEO of BaziFIT, who is moving to the Front Range after graduating. “I have been very impressed with both the quality of mentors and the amount of time and effort the mentors have spent with the teams.”
The 2015 winning companies included:
- ProEditors is a Telluride-based company, which transforms raw video into lasting memories. Simply upload your footage on the web-based platform and the ProEditors editing team will produce a custom video that can easily be shared with friends and family. CEO & Founder – Patrick Latcham, firstname.lastname@example.org proeditors.com
- BaziFIT is empowering patients with state-of-the-art wearables and mHealth tools, helping doctors track patient recovery through revolutionary balance and movement assessments. BaziFIT tools create an interactive custom digital rehabilitation program for each patient with the goal of improving engagement in the physical therapy process. This will allow patients to return to play as quickly and safely as possible while reducing future injury rates by maximizing individual performance, strength and balance. CEO & Founder – Tallis Salamatian, email@example.com bazifit.com
- The Dyrt is changing the way people search for campgrounds and outdoor adventures through reviews and recommendations. With a searchable database of over 15,000 campgrounds, The Dyrt is already the most comprehensive one-stop source for camping locations throughout the US. Co-Founder & CEO – Kevin Long, firstname.lastname@example.org thedyrt.com
- Mountain Drones brings to market groundbreaking Unmanned Aerial Systems uniquely purposed for environmental monitoring. Our company’s innovative integration of sensory equipment empowers clients with previously unattainable information allowing better decisions related to natural resource management. The company was founded in Vail, CO and looks forward to relocating to Telluride. CEO & Co-Founder – Brent Holbrook, email@example.com mountaindrones.net
- Travel Recon provides technology based risk assessment and travel planning tools on the web for all travelers, the travel industry, and risk mitigation affiliates. Former military and intelligence professionals provide travelers with easy to use and destination relevant safety information; complete with situation updates, informative maps (GIS), and subject reports. Travel Recon also help travelers by providing a rewarding and free trip sharing experience: “For The Traveler, By The Traveler.” Travel Recon is a pioneer in travel reconnaissance, and seeks to revolutionize the way we travel in today’s world. CEO & Co-Founder – Toby Houchens, firstname.lastname@example.org travelrecon.com
TVA was launched in the fall of 2012 as an initiative of the Telluride Foundation with the goal of making Telluride a great place to start and grow a business. TVA plays to Telluride’s unique strengths, including access to a high concentration of successful investors and business executives that have a connection to Telluride, being the first accelerator funded and run by a community foundation, and the first accelerator to focus on outdoor recreation, tourism, natural products, health, energy, water and education. TVA prioritizes companies with technology solutions in our focus areas. The ten companies in the 2013 and 2014 cohorts have seen great success during the past two years since their accelerator experiences, collectively raising over $8 million, with a valuation of $51 million, and creating about 57 jobs. In addition, six new companies have based in Telluride as a result of TVA.
Along with the Telluride Foundation, TVA is supported by individual donors and the following sponsors: Demo Day’s presenting sponsor – Blackstone Charitable Foundation; Johnson Family Foundation; High Meadows Foundation; Colorado Economic Development Commission; US Small Business Administration; Cooley LLP; Softlayer, an IBM company; Foley LLP; The Peaks Resort & Spa; ASAP Accounting and Payroll; Colorado Impact Fund; and Los Alamos National Laboratory. For more information on TVA, visit www.tellurideva.com.
For more information about TVA, Telluride Demo Day or the Denver and San Francisco Roadshows contact Thea Chase at email@example.com or Jesse Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
For articles on each company and TVA, please visit: https://www.tellurideinside.com/category/culture/telluride-venture-accelerator