The Problem-Solvers: Colorado Companies that are Changing the Game
Colorado Companies to Watch bringing next-gen tech, clever business models and upping the standards of living and working
These statewide operations are turning tradition on its head, thinking strategically and originally to present novel models and winning concepts. In 2018, Colorado Companies to Watch honored TRELORA, AvenueWest Global Franchise, Techno Rescue, Lockstate, Peak Beverage, Navjoy, Networks Unlimited, NewCloud Networks Proximity Space and SuiteHop (pictured above).
Denver | Since 2011 | Real estate
TRELORA set out to solve the problem of how to make real estate work for the consumer first — and the agent second. TRELORA’s flat fee structure removes personal profit from the equation, meaning its agents work for the client, not the traditional 3 percent commission. TRELORA agents average more than 200 closings per year, volume achieved by leveraging its proprietary technology platform as well as an innovative team structure that allows for task specialization and process standardization.
The company encourages volunteerism and community engagement at every level. CEO Joshua Hunt sits on the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity. All employees participate in Habitat Build Days multiple times per year. Additionally, the company donates a portion of proceeds from every home transaction to Habitat. TRELORA’s own Green Pigs Foundation collects donations used to make mortgage payments for families in times of need.
Denver | Since 2009 | Real estate
AvenueWest, which offers fully furnished private investment properties for monthly business lodging solutions, has perfected and proven its franchise model and has targeted 75 cities for expansion. Always on the hunt for innovative ideas, AvenueWest spun off a new business, CHBO / Corporate Housing by Owner, an online market place for corporate housing rentals for people who had needs beyond the AvenueWest model. This year, the company plans to launch AvenueWest Investment Fund 1, which will allow individual investors to better diversify their investment portfolios and allow local AvenueWest offices to speed up the development of their rental inventory.
“At our core, we are a family business, and all of our franchisees are husband and wife teams,” says founder Kimberly Smith, who recently sold to Angela and Tim Healy. “Family values are an important part of everything we do, how we work and how we support each other.”
As a founding member of Chicks with a Purpose, the AvenueWest team works to support the growth and development of underprivileged inner city girls through after-school programs and special events.
Aurora | Since 2006 | Electronics recycling & IT services
Used and obsolete electronics are a growing problem, but Techno Rescue has an answer. The company believes in reuse before recycle, so when it receives electronic equipment, it refurbishes or salvages it, then re-markets as refurbished. After that, it will service what it sells. If it can’t refurbish the equipment, it will be cannibalized for working components so “we can 'Frankenstein' electronics through our tech services,” President and CEO Nidal Allis says. “If we can’t refurbish or cannibalize components, our final process is to break down and scrap.”
Last year, Techno Rescue grew 60 percent, thanks in part to its affordability. Companies with high-value equipment, or a lot of equipment that collectively has value, might be eligible for Techno Rescue’s novel rebate program, where they receive credit for the equipment from Techno Rescue’s refurbishing services. Credit is first applied to their invoice, and any extra credit is sent back to the client as a check.
Denver | Since 2011 | Software for smart locks
In 2012, LockState became the first company to launch a wifi-controlled door lock. Four years later, the company launched a cloud-based software platform that controls many types of smart locks and building access systems, pivoting LockState from door-lock company to software company. The company has proven that its cloud platform is innovative, unique and scalable with more than 25,000 devices on the system and through large software deployments with companies such as Target and Oklahoma-based Loves Travel Stores.
One of LockState's core values is employee engagement. “If our employees don't get up in the morning and look forward to their day, we are not succeeding,” CEO Nolan Mondrow says. “We find that when employees know what is expected and feel they have both the tools and the support to get it done, they are happier, more engaged and do better work for our customers.”
Wheat Ridge | Since 2013 | Beverage catering
Peak Beverage President Andy Klosterman used to spend nights bartending in Olde Town Arvada and days trying to sell the services of Peak Beverage. After six months of as many as five meetings a day, he landed the company’s first customer, Spruce Mountain Ranch.
“After they agreed to work with us, our sales skyrocketed with similar customer types who saw that our business is actually a real thing,” Klosterman says.
The company streamlines the liquor/bar setup for events, designing bar packages that do it all. Peak gives back with special bar packages for nonprofits and fundraisers that are either free or designed to raise money. Some charities and nonprofits Peak has helped include The Wedding Pink, Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, Children's Museum, National Jewish Health, Guys who Give, Corks for a Cause and the Downtown Denver Partnership.
Golden | Since 2003 | Transportation analytics
Navjoy works to find solutions to the U.S. transportation system’s thousands of traffic fatalities, accidents, congestion and pollution. The company provides consulting services, sells network equipment to run high-end technology and has its own asset management cloud platform. It helped the Colorado Department of Transportation to select a solution that provides real-time and historical travel time data on all the highways at a fraction of the cost of older methods. Its data platform, “AssetGov,” allows agencies to share information about their fixed and mobile assets without the high costs of software integration across various systems.
The company boasts a bold, open and transparent culture. “We call ourselves NAVigators because we are the trusted navigators in innovation and technology,” President Navin Nageli, says. “We identified 15 traits of being a NAVigator and we use that gauge ourselves at every staff meeting and during our hiring process. We make it clear that we are here to change industry and we are very open about it. We are highly accountable to each other.”
Grand Junction | Since 2001 | Computer network service
Networks Unlimited brought a new vision to the Western Slope: to increase technology’s positive impact on area businesses based on the company founders' experience with more massive corporate, enterprise-level businesses' deployment of technology. Networks Unlimited adopted the earliest form of cloud services in 2005, putting itself and its customers well in front of the tech curve.
The company achieved 46 percent growth in 2017, serving more area customers and expanding its team. Networks Unlimited is currently helping customers deploy HD video technologies to expand their “workspace” to virtually anywhere and using core Microsoft Office 365 components to build custom business level workflows, which, through automation, provide substantial efficiency increases as well as providing centralized information to all areas of the business.
Englewood | Since 1988 | Cloud computing & communications
Just as travel agents have been replaced by the internet, NewCloud is putting traditional information technology vendors out of business by offering cloud solutions that are more affordable and accessible. NewCloud Networks’ international ultra-low latency network of cloud computing platforms, with 12 locations, uses best of breed technology from Cisco, NetApp and VMware. Other strengths, including white glove service, reasonable pricing and innovative designs, allow the company to compete successfully with the likes of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud.
Internally, its processes, policies and procedures (PPP) are a constantly evolving aspect of its business. “We strive to get better every day, and we are making investments in automation to improve PPP, which will lead to increased productivity, efficiency and cost savings for our company.”
Montrose | Since 2017 | Coworking spaces management
Proximity Space took the time to discover the core needs of a coworking space, then designed the software and hardware to address them. The membership software that manages the daily operations of a coworking space is seamlessly paired with the door access controllers that Proximity Space both designs and manufactures. This complete in-house solution, the first of its kind for the industry, now is in its fifth generation.
Proximity Space used no traditional marketing plan or dollars to grow the company from beta software to 115 customers in four countries, and it is currently posting month-over-month increases of as much as 27 percent.
“Our approach is pretty simple: Families first, then customers, then investors,” co-founder Josh Freed says. “We believe as long as the families of our founders and employees are taken care of, the other two will be just fine.”
Denver | Since 2006 | Online suite marketplace
The sports industry is often slow to adopt new technologies, which created on opening for SuiteHop to lead the way in making luxury suites discoverable and available online. Its roadmap includes innovations such as a group purchasing product, data as a service offerings and tools to help teams and venues better manage their suite inventories.
As nearly every professional team in North America has built or done a significant remodel of their venues over the past 25 years, long-term luxury suite contracts were leveraged for construction financing. As those venues age and long-term contracts are more difficult to sell, supply is outstripping demand at a growing rate. As the first mover in creating the marketplace that is built for suites, SuiteHop is radically reshaping how suites are bought and sold.
The company supports more than 20 nonprofits with in-kind donations of luxury suites to use in auctions and as rewards for volunteers. Staff is encouraged to use the unlimited PTO policy for philanthropic endeavors, and SuiteHop has volunteers at Junior Achievement, Junior League, American Heart Association, Minds Matter and other local organizations.