Hit-makers of Colorado business
It takes a village to build a business – here are the second-stage Colorado companies spreading the wealth
Ombud helps organizations make better decisions by leveraging master data management, business intelligence and smart data discovery.
THE DISRUPTION FACTOR: Ombud’s software provides a unique set of business collaboration and execution capabilities. The company has organized and indexed how leading organizations evaluate and make strategic decisions, then leveraged the data to help its customers cut processes in half while increasing organizational capacity by 200 percent. The company invests heavily in the open source community to ensure it’s adopting best practices while participating in cutting-edge developments and research.
COMPANY CULTURE: Ombud’s culture brings together individuals who possess integrity, thought leadership, willingness, agility and reliability. Team members are empowered to make decisions that have the most impact on moving the business forward.
GIVING BACK: Ombud created Colorado Startup Brews, an annual charity event that brings together Colorado startups and craft beer to raise money for charity. More than 60 startups and 1,000 people have been involved, raising nearly $70,000 in the last three years. Last year’s event partnered with Dear Jack Foundation, which serves the adolescent and young adult cancer community.
Image Audiovisuals is one of the largest western U.S. providers of advanced rental and staging technologies, in-house hotel AV services and AV systems design, engineering and integration.
PIVOTAL MOMENTS: In 2012, Image AV acquired Sound Images, a conference recording and mobile app company, increasing revenues by 25 percent.
DEFINING INNOVATIONS: Image AV stays at the leading edge of innovation with new value-added products, including custom set designs, video mapping, audience response polling systems, teleprompters, interpretation systems, conference recording/webcasting and video conferencing. The company defines innovation not just as a new product, but as the combination of products and services with added functionalities that create value to clients both short- and long-term.
COMPANY CULTURE: Image AV employees are taught to treat co-workers the same as clients, fostering an atmosphere of shared goals with all employees pitching in to help each other whenever necessary. Talent retention is enhanced by a focus on on-going training and advancement opportunities as well as flexibility for a good work-life balance.
COMMUNITY IMPACT: Image Audiovisuals participates in Concerts for Kids/Amp the Cause Community Day – painting, cleaning, raking, planting – whatever is needed to help out schools, nonprofits and community-centered organizations in Denver. The company donates to Food Bank of the Rockies’ annual Joe and Debbie Sakic Bringing Hope to the Table fundraiser, assisting them in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring food to the needy.
Integrity Electrical Solutions provides electrical contracting services to general contractors and service/maintenance support to business owners and property managers.
DEFINING INNOVATION: Electronic Service Control (ESC) allows service technicians to go paperless, receiving detailed assignments, job information, pricing, invoices and securing customer authorization/payment on site. Additionally, the closest technician to each assignment can be dispatched through ESC’s GPS/Map tracking. Livecount, an on-screen estimating system enhancement, allows for greater quality and accuracy.
COMPANY CULTURE: The company core values — excellence, integrity, community, passion and competition — govern everything it does. Employees commended by customers are recognized in front of peers, given a small gift, and the customer commendation is framed and hung in the company Hall of Fame. Regular social events include an annual chili cook-off, company birthday, holiday party, summer picnic and two employee breakfasts hosted by the executive team.
GIVING BACK: An annual giving budget provides regular financial support to Operation Christmas Child, Ralston House, A Precious Child Anchor Center, Tennyson Center, and Mi Casa Resource Center. The company participates in food drives for Sister Carmen Community Center and volunteers crews for Denver Rescue Mission and Operation Christmas Child. The company has adopted two families in need and provided Christmas for them.
Manufacturer of the original popup canopy, the company custom prints, cuts and sews canopies.
PIVOTAL MOMENTS: Thirty years ago, KD Kanopy invented the scissor-action pop-up canopy, and has been considered an innovator in the industry since. In 2012, KD Kanopy purchased its first wide-format UV printer, allowing it to customize canopy tops in-house. In 2017, it added an automated cutter, allowing it to expand its product line.
DEFINING INNOVATION: The addition of the printers and the cutter enables KD Kanopy to print on polyester, wood, corrugated, styrene, fiberglass, aluminum, foam board and many more materials, giving customers a choice on how they want to promote their goods and services.
GIVING BACK: Every year, KD Kanopy hosts a golf tournament at Meridian Golf Club for Kids Mobility Network, which provides children with disabilities with wheelchairs, walkers and other medical equipment. Over the past three years, the company has raised more than $150,000 for the charity.
P2Binvestor (P2Bi) is a marketplace lender that provides crowdsourced, asset-secured working capital to growing companies.
PIVOTAL MOMENTS: In 2016, the company closed its $7.7million Series A round – all angel funded – and moved into new office space. It enabled the CEO to stop fundraising and lead the team in focusing on the business.
THE DISRUPTION FACTOR: P2Bi is the first marketplace lender to tackle multi-million dollar lines of credit in the belief that it should be as easy to get $5 million as it is to get $50,000. The company’s fresh approach of combining technology and crowdfunding has made it the largest marketplace for growing businesses to access capital from private investors. The launch of its ABL-as-a-Service will make it accessible to thousands more growing companies.
COMPANY CULTURE: P2Bi works to listen to clients, understanding what they need, and doing its best to solve their financing issues and put them on a better path for growth; build great user experiences and amazing technology that deliver real value for both clients and investors.
GIVING BACK: P2Bi promotes the benefits of a diverse organization and helped create the Women Who Startup podcast to share the stories of female entrepreneurs and sponsor the organization every year.
ON THE HORIZON: In 2017, P2Bi plans to work with banks to combine its technology with their community reach, attaining broader national reach and ultimately looking to expand internationally.
The company provides a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform for measuring and developing the soft skills and mindsets that make students and employees successful, so employers can hire with greater predictability.
DEFINING INNOVATION: PAIRIN’s innovation lies in the ability to combine soft skills with hard data from numerous sources to create very complicated predictive algorithms, but present that information in a friendly, usable way, trademarked under the name Friendly Science. The company has a patent in process for machine learning algorithms that allow its system to grow in intelligence and accuracy as more data is gathered. Predictive analytics have evolved beyond hiring and program selection to provide early indicators of students at risk of dropping out in time to help them bridge the gap to success. The same science delivers personalized curriculum and targeted coaching.
THE DISRUPTION FACTOR: PAIRIN’s approach has changed how companies hire and how educators prepare students. About 40 percent of the company’s business customers have said they have hired top performers in the last year that were technically “not qualified” by standard HR criteria — evidence that PAIRIN is changing hiring and opening up opportunity to those populations that are often overlooked.
GIVING BACK: PAIRIN partners with countless organizations to serve the underserved including nine adult-education programs with the Colorado Department of Education, Worklife Partnership, Zero Dropouts, Hope House, Upstream Impact, Activate Workforce Solutions, CareerWise Colorado and Turing School of Software & Design, among others.
The company is a general contractor for the marijuana industry, specializing in projects including indoor cultivation facilities, extraction rooms, dispensaries, testing labs and greenhouses.
WHY COLORADO: As the epicenter of the nation’s marijuana industry, Colorado is the perfect location for Your Green Contractor (YGC). Colorado has been an incubator for hundreds of canna-businesses in a variety of market segments.
PIVOTAL MOMENTS: In 2012, Colorado voted to allow recreational marijuana, leading to an influx of new projects and opportunities for YGC.
DEFINING INNOVATIONS: Lighting, HVAC controls, irrigation and fertigation systems, and grow and processing equipment change almost daily in the cannabis industry, allowing YGC to combine and create unique growing systems to mimic the “perfect” environment for cannabis cultivation and processing. Automation packages are becoming the standard, and even “big agriculture” is starting to move into the industry to share lessons learned and best practices.
THE DISRUPTION FACTOR: YGC bucked a long-time taboo by becoming the first commercial general contractor in the country to openly promote its involvement in the marijuana industry. As new states adopt marijuana laws, there is a natural vacuum that exists with no local expert to build facilities. YGC is procuring licenses in these states and has worked both as a general contractor and as a consultant, collaborating with local builders to assist with the marijuana-specific technicalities.
COMPANY CULTURE: Financials are reviewed monthly within the office, and employees meet every six weeks for lunch, cooked by President Nathan Mendel, to discuss current and upcoming projects, difficulties, and lessons learned.