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Tech startup: Cloud Elements

Initial Lightbulb: As CEO of Channelinsight, a Denver provider of channel data management software, Mark Geene says the company spent hundreds of hours integrating cloud-based services.

“We had to connect data from clients’ CRM and accounting system,” he explains. “We started building stuff ourselves. It was hard to do. We saw an opportunity for a business there.”

Geene subsequently left Channelinsight to co-found Cloud Elements, and serves as CEO.

In a Nutshell: Cloud Elements cuts the time required to integrate cloud-based apps with a suite of “elements” ranging from Salesforce and Sendgrid, to Dropbox and Zendesk. “We connect apps to the cloud, both mobile and SaaS, at a fraction of the cost and time,” says Geene. “Our special sauce is you write to a single API.”

The company helps developers integrate more than 20 cloud-based services, and he expects that number to roughly double by year’s end. With 25 employees under one roof at Industry in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood, Geene expects the head count to hit 40 by the end of 2014.

“Cloud Elements helped us prototype quickly … and lets my team focus on our product and its uniqueness instead of the commodity integration components,” says Michael Clark, CTO of Denver-based Photobucket.

The Market: Ovum, a London-based research firm, forecasts the “platform-as-a-service” category will grow by 40 percent annually to about $4 billion by 2018. It’s easier than ever to build a cloud app,” says Geene. “But each one that comes out has it’s own API, and that’s what we normalize.”

Financing: Cloud Elements closed on a $3.1 million Series A round in June from Grotech Ventures, Icon Ventures, Galvanize and Cooley LLP. The investment will allow Cloud Elements to scale up its sales efforts and development staff.

“Jim Linfield from Cooley has been supporting us from early on,” says Geene. “I haven’t heard of [any other startup] being invested in by their law firm.”

where Denver    |    FOUNDED 2012    |   web cloud-elements.com

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Eric Peterson

Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com

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