Telluride Foundation Awarded Innovation Grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation to Support Entrepreneurship

  • Published
  • On February 25, 2015
Telluride Venture Accelerator class

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation awarded the Telluride Foundation a grant through the third annual Blackstone Innovation Grants Program. The $125,000 grant, part of the $3 million Blackstone Innovation Grants Program, which targets nonprofit organizations that strengthen entrepreneurial ecosystems and support high growth entrepreneurs, will fund the Foundation’s Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA).

Started in 2011, the Blackstone Innovation Grants are given in coordination with the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s efforts to spur entrepreneurship around the world. Through the Blackstone Innovation Grant program, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation is providing resources to twenty innovative organizations globally that directly support entrepreneurs as they pilot, expand or replicate programs that will catalyze the growth of successful businesses, industries and communities.

“Through our Entrepreneurship Initiative, the Blackstone Foundation is committed to strengthening and supporting entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial ecosystems globally through programs that enable the most promising new companies to remain and grow in their local economies,” said Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. “We view Blackstone Innovation Grants as an extension of that work – the organizations we support are helping create the conditions necessary for entrepreneurs to thrive, and we look forward to working with them on these important efforts in the year ahead.”

The grantees were selected through a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. The twenty organizations were selected from over 550 applications, by a committee of Blackstone employees and subsequently approved by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA), an initiative of the Telluride Foundation, is a Telluride based, mentor driven program focused on innovative high-growth start-up companies in the outdoor recreation, tourism, natural products, health, energy, water and education industry verticals.  Five companies are currently in Telluride participating in a five month program.  The 2015 winners were selected through an open competition process of early stage companies, which featured local applicants, as well as ventures from throughout the U.S. and internationally.

“It is a wonderful validation of TVA’s mission and progress to be recognized by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation as a leading organization supporting entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial ecosystems,” said Jesse Johnson, Co-Founder of TVA and Telluride Foundation Board Member. “This was a very competitive process – TVA was one of 20 from a global applicant pool of 510.  We are very proud to have stood out and wish to thank our unique community of volunteer mentors, without which none of our work would be possible.”

2015 winning companies include:

  • BaziFIT – Empowering patients with state-of-the-art wearables and mHealth tools, helping doctors track patient recovery through revolutionary balance and movement assessments. Our 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 & Co-Founder Tallis Salamatian. https://www.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. CEO & Co-Founder Sarah Smith. https://thedyrt.com/
  • 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. We 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. https://www.travelrecon.com/
  • Mountain Drones (Unmanned Mountain Safety Systems) designs, builds, and operates unmanned aerial vehicles with the primary purpose of avalanche mitigation for ski resorts and departments of transportation.  The company was founded in Vail, CO and looks forward to relocating to Telluride. CEO and Co-Founder Warren Linde, other Co-Founders Brent Holbrook, and Robert Blank.
  • ProEditors, a Telluride based company, transforms raw video into lasting memories. Simply upload your footage on the web based platform and our editing team will produce a custom video that can easily be shared with friends and family.” CEO & Founder Patrick Latcham.

TVA, now in its third year, is modeled after the most successful accelerators in the world. TVA invests $25k in seed funding to five to seven participating companies each year who relocate to Telluride for five months, where they are provided shared office space at the Peaks Resort and access to mentors to cultivate and support their business endeavors, including successful entrepreneurs-in-residence and Telluride’s angel investment community.  A full member of the Global Accelerator Network (GAN), TVA boasts over 85 world-class mentors and an impressive track record in fundraising – over $4.2m for the first 2 accelerator classes.

About the Blackstone Charitable Foundation

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation was founded at the time of Blackstone’s IPO in 2007 with substantial commitments from the Firm’s employees. Influenced by the enterprising heritage of the firm and its founders, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is directing its resources and applying the intellectual capital of the firm to foster entrepreneurship in areas nationwide and globally. Through its investment expertise across several asset classes and geographies, Blackstone has a unique perspective on the global economy and a heightened understanding of how entrepreneurial activity is often the crucial catalyst in the growth of successful businesses, industries and communities. For more information, see https://www.blackstone.com/foundation.