50 Colorado Companies to Watch: From Gorilla Logic to Payment Solutions
Gorilla Logic Inc.
Snapshot: Gorilla Logic is an enterprise application development company that specializes in Web and mobile applications for Fortune 500 companies. It works across multiple industries such as automotive, finance, media and e-commerce.
Leadership: Stu Stern has been CEO since 2002, the year he and three other former Sun Microsystems executives founded the Boulder company. Revenue grew 70 percent last year and is projected to increase 56 percent this year.
Pivotal moment: In March, Gorilla Logic launched Continuous QA Cloud: the industry’s first Quality as a Service (QaaS) offering that tests and tracks the quality of mobile apps across iPhone, iPad and Android platforms.
Technological edge: Gorilla Logic’s open-source products are the only free functional, automated, record/playback test tools for native iPad, iPhone and Adobe Flex apps. Automating tests saves customers time, money and resources.
Company culture: "One of the key tenets to the company’s culture is creating an environment where teamwork and collaboration are encouraged and celebrated." Gorilla Logic began donating to charitable organizations on behalf of its clients in lieu of traditional holiday gifts.
Snapshot: Denver-based Grower’s Organic buys organic produce from farmers in Colorado and elsewhere and distributes to grocers and restaurants. According to the company, it is Colorado’s only 100 percent organic produce distributor.
Leadership: Brian Freeman is Grower Organic’s owner and president. The company was founded in 2005.
Work force: Since 2008, the company has more than doubled its work force, ending 2011 with 36 full-time-equivalent employees. It expects to add another 4 ½ full-time-equivalent workers this year.
Pivotal moment: In October 2010, Grower’s Organic moved to new space in Adams County at 64th & Broadway, increasing its warehouse space by 60 percent. With increased cooler space the company has become more aggressive with its buying strategies. In February this year, GO Transportation was incorporated as a fully owned subsidiary of Grower’s Organic. With its own semi-trucks, the company has brought produce hauls and intrastate distribution in-house, enabling more control over customer service and expansion of routes and sales in out-of-state markets.
Competitive Edge: Customers are encouraged to call in orders up to 3 a.m. the day of delivery. Those orders are pulled and readied for same-day delivery. Grower’s Organic has a profit-sharing program that returns 7 percent of profits back to the farmers and 3 percent to its employees.
Culture: Employees receive an organic produce food box for $10 each week. Massages are provided for employees every other week. Grower’s Organic works with Lutheran Family Services to employ members of a refugee program. Unsold product is donated to organizations such as We Don’t Waste and the Adams County Food Bank.
Integrated Listening Systems
Snapshot: Denver-based Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) is a neurotechnology company that provides a patent-pending product to improve brain function. The company trains therapists and educators in a method that combines music and movement – and provides them with equipment. The professionals use the equipment in their clinics and classrooms, as well as resell it to parents to use at home.
Leadership: Randall Redfield has been CEO since the company’s inception in 2007.
Work force: Since 2008, the company has expanded from four full-time-equivalent employees to a projected 20 this year.
Pivotal moment: iPOD technology made the combined sound and movement therapy portable. It also reduced the price of the equipment from more than $10,000 to less than $2,000, making it affordable for more therapists.
Competitive Edge: iLs’ cutting-edge therapy is an option for those who are averse to pharmaceuticals.
Growth curve: The company has grown more than 60 percent per year solely on word of mouth. It just hired a sales team in August 2011.
Marketing strategy: A bootstrapped company operating on a thin budget, iLs targets the leaders of the fields in which it sells, then leverages those endorsements with sales in the greater market.
Target market: iLs’ market includes therapists and educators working with children, and adults who suffer from autism, sensory processing disorder, ADHD, learning difficulties, and mild brain injury.
Snapshot: Janska is a Colorado Springs-based clothing manufacturer that uses soft, easy-care fabrics to create comfortable, flattering, versatile clothing. More than half of the company’s designs are also available in its Wellness Wear line, offering stylish and comforting options to those with limited mobility.
Leadership: Jan Erickson has been the company’s president since its inception in 2003.
Work force: Janska has grown from one part-time employee in 2008 to 15 ½ full-time-equivalent employees at the end of last year. It expects to expand to 23 full-time-equivalent employees in 2012.
Innovation: Janska was founded on a single innovative idea – a jacket for the mobility-impaired – and innovation continues to be the driving force in everything Janska creates. The company holds patents on both its LapWrap Shawl and MocSock booties. It also holds trademarks for "Janska," "Clothing that Comforts," "MocSocks" and "LapWrap."
Growth curve: Janska has posted sharp revenue growth each of the past four years. In 2011, revenues increased 75 percent year-over-year, and the company projects another 50 percent gain this year.
Culture: Janska uses U.S.-milled fabrics, local manufacturing, and 100 percent recycled fleece to create its products. The company partners with other domestic small businesses, donates and recycles its scraps, and has designed its supply chain to minimize waste.
Lightning Eliminators & Consultants Inc.
Snapshot: Lightning Eliminators & Consultants provides lightning prevention and lightning protection products, solutions and services, grounding-systems engineering, surge-protection design as well as consulting in more than 60 countries and throughout the U.S. LEC Global has implemented its solutions in the petrochemical, oil and gas, biochemical, information technologies, nuclear energy, utilities and manufacturing and transportation industries.
Leadership: Avram Saunders has been president and CEO since 2008. Roy Carpenter founded the company in 1971.
Work force: The company ended last year with 28 ½ full-time-equivalent employees and expects to add one more this year.
Competitive Edge: LEC does not have heavy competition as it is the only company that boasts a complete lightning prevention solution. Some competition exists in specific areas such as lightning rod manufacturing.
Growth curve: The company’s year-over-year revenues surged 45 percent in 2010 and grew another 7 percent last year. It projects a gain of 10 percent in 2012.
Innovation: LEC has 12 patented products or systems.
Marketing approach: As a small company with limited resources, LEC has targeted the most lucrative verticals: gas and oil; utilities and power. It also has targeted countries with an abundance of potential business and where LEC can get the most support from U.S. local and federal agencies. LEC focuses its efforts on its website, online advertising and search-engine marketing.
LT Environmental Inc.
Snapshot: LT Environmental specializes in compliance, engineering and remediation for a diverse range of industries and markets including oil and gas, manufacturing/industrial, real estate, government, and public and private property owners
Leadership: Thomas Murphy has been president of the Arvada-based company since its inception in 1992.
Work force: LT Environmental’s work force has increased from 65.5 full-time-equivalent employees in 2008 to 95 at the end of last year. The company projects an increase to 110 employees this year.
Pivotal moment: In April 2004, after 12 years in business, the owners of LTE began working with a business coach, focusing on the company’s people and verbalizing company values. Then in May 2006, LTE moved from a 6,000-square-foot space to a 15,500-square-foot facility, giving the company confidence to take bigger risks. This year the company filled its Arvada headquarters, having grown from 40 employees to more than 90, and opened six new offices around Colorado and
Competitive edge: LTE says its "product" is not technology but "our ability to safely satisfy and meet our clients’ needs and regulatory requirements." The company’s goal is to provide a technically reasonable approach that protects the public health and environment while encouraging industry to continue to invest in Colorado.
Growth curve: Since 2006, LTE has increased total revenue by more than 85 percent (17 percent per year). The company is projecting a revenue increase of 15 percent this year over 2011.
Marketing: LTE’s Precision Remediation and Site Closure Program, dubbed "TerraCert," was designed to expand LTE’s market share in the environmental remediation arena. Since 1995, LTE has been a top Rocky Mountain environmental remediation company for cleanup of hydrocarbons in soil and groundwater.
Snapshot: Loveland-based Madwire Media provides website design and development, Internet marketing, branding, video and commercial production, and public relations.
Leadership: Joe Kellogg has been Madwire Media’s CEO since its founding in 2009.
Work force: Madwire opened its doors in 2009 with three employees. At the end of last year it had 87 and is projecting further growth to 120 employees
Competitive Edge: Madwire focuses on the small-business market. The majority of its clients are new to Internet marketing. Madwire’s goal is to help facilitate growth and product exposure through its signature products.
Growth curve: Madwire posted exponential growth at the outset, increasing revenues 3,100 percent from year one to year two. Last year revenues increased another 423 percent, and the company is projecting another 139 percent boost
Business approach: Madwire’s marketing efforts for clients are achieved through search engine optimization, social media and email marketing. The company has implemented many programs that aid in this technologically driven means
Mobile Epiphany LLC
Snapshot: Mobile Epiphany rapidly creates enterprise-class mobile solutions from its own unique platform that improves workflow and productivity across a variety of market segments.
Leadership: Glenn Kletzky has been president and CEO of the Aurora-based company since its founding in 2008.
Technological edge: Mobile Epiphany filed a provisional patent application in July 2011 for a rapidly configurable application that can quickly be configured to meet the business-process needs across multiple industries. Mobile Epiphany’s concept of "Rapid Application Configuration" virtually eliminates the costly and risky software development lifecycle for a company’s mobility projects.
Competitive Edge: After requirements of a potential client are gathered, the Epiphany platform can be quickly adapted to the client’s needs, and a working demo can be built. Many times this can be accomplished in hours instead of the weeks or months that many other competing products require.
Company Culture: Mobile Epiphany promotes a fun and creative environment. Quality of life is a key ingredient for employees, who are offered flexible work schedules and activities such as a music fest with three different bands. A break room features games, subsidized snacks and an unlimited supply of free ramen noodles.
Mountain West Insurance & Financial Services LLC
Snapshot: Mountain West Insurance & Financial Services is an independent insurance agency with five offices in Western Colorado. The firm sells and services insurance and financial-services products.
Leadership: Darrell Camilletti has been managing member/CEO of the Craig-based company since its founding in 1998.
Work force: The firm expects to add five more office locations and expand to 69.5 full-time-equivalent employees in 2012, which would be more than triple its work force from 2008, when it had 20. The company ended last year with 36 full-time-equivalent employees.
Pivotal moments: Hiring and developing a management team allowed the firm to expand its work force and aggressively pursue growth. Second, the firm introduced employee ownership. Third, management decided to structure the agency so it could diligently pursue acquisitions of other agencies on the Western Slope and remain independent. These changes have allowed Mountain West to add 16 additional owners, complete four acquisitions and increase staff from 15 in 2007 to 36 in 2011.
Technological edge: All Mountain West offices are connected via a voice-over IP phone system and a network computer system. This allows all employees access to real-time information and the ability to answer and transfer phone calls from one location to another.
Growth curve: Mountain West has consistently increased revenues annually since its formation in 1998, including a 34 percent gain last year. It is projecting another 71 percent increase in 2012. Internal growth along with mergers and acquisitions have prompted the company to expand ownership to include numerous employees.
Snapshot: mywedding.com is a bridal destination site focused on connecting engaged couples (and their family and friends) with local, national and international wedding vendors. The company is a collaborative network with more than 1.5 million unique visitors each month.
Leadership: Woody Pastorius has been president and CEO of mywedding.com since 2009. The Castle Rock-based company was founded in 2003.
Work force: The company has grown from 25 employees in 2009 to 67.5 full-time-equivalent employees at the end of last year.
Pivotal moments: mywedding.com combines local synergy with global reach. Its first site launch was myseattlewedding.com in January 2003. That hit was followed by myportlandwedding.com, then mydenverwedding.com. Now the company is in more than 200 U.S. locations. When the recession resulted in fewer marriages, mywedding.com didn’t cut costs. Instead, it invested in products, hired more staff, made price considerations and eliminated weaker offerings to position itself for the future.
Technological edge: mywedding.com is continuously improving its technology to make wedding planning easy, fun and useful for couples while providing highly targeted advertising to vendors. Its back-end systems must manage hundreds of millions of ad impressions served, optimized for the best ROI, the sending of more than 60 million emails, and the hosting of almost 1 million wedding websites with more than 4 terabytes of data.
Growth curve: mywedding.com entered more than 90 new markets in 2011, increasing its customer base by more than 40 percent and expanding into international markets. Revenues increased 58 percent year-over-year in 2011.
Snapshot: NIMBL is a privately held, nationally recognized SAP professional-services firm focused on high-value, high-impact technical consulting. NIMBL supports both mid-market and Fortune 500 firms.
Leadership: CEO Yosh Eisbart and CTO Michael Pytel co-founded the Denver-based company in 2009.
Work force: NIMBL has grown from two consultants in 2009 to more than 40 at the end of last year. It expects to expand further to more than 75 consultants in 2012.
Pivotal moment: Eisbart and Pytel launched NIMBL with $2,000. They quickly landed blue-chip clients such as Nestle, Pepsico and ExxonMobil. Reputation and references made NIMBL a $1 million company after just nine months. NIMBL’s "quality over quantity" mantra paid off, and the company grew more than 400 percent by year three.
Growth curve: Despite launching in the midst of the Great Recession, NIMBL increased revenues by 79 percent between 2009 and last year. The company projects another 74 percent revenue increase this year.
Innovation: NIMBL has developed a series of SAP Express packages focused on rapid deployments on specific SAP technologies within SAP’s Security Administration and Compliance space as well as SAP’s Solution Manager. Both packages accelerate the implementation of given components of SAP’s product suite, allowing customers to more rapidly, consistently and inexpensively deliver powerful functionality.
Snapshot: Loveland-based Payment Solutions provides merchants with the ability to accept and transmit electronic payments such as credit and debit cards, gift and loyalty, eCommerce and mobile payments.
Leadership: Kenneth Salazar has been CEO since the company’s founding in 2004.
Work force: Payment Solutions has more than doubled its workforce since 2008 when it had 34 employees. It ended 2011 with 75 full-timers and expects to expand to 110 this year.
Competitive Edge: Payment Solutions has a direct-sales model and follows a "call and close" methodology with telemarketing sales appointments for its sales executives. Most of its competitors, the company says, simply hire as many "1099 agents" as possible to see who "sticks."
Growth curve: Payment Solutions’ revenues have more than tripled since 2008, including an 86 percent gain last year. The company is projecting another 6 percent boost in 2012.
Innovation: The company says success in its industry lies with answering the question, "How do we drive revenue to our merchants and thus make them more profitable?" But it has sought to differentiate beyond having some of the best rates and fastest funding times. Last year Payment Solutions created a "rate and service guarantee" whereby if it did not deliver the rates as promised or there was an unresolved service issue and dissatisfaction with service, the company would waive all contracts.