Colorado Companies to Watch 2022: The Fixers
Colorado's most promising 2nd-stage repair, maintenance and cyber security companies.
Since 2009, the Colorado Companies to Watch program has sought to recognize second-stage enterprises from around the state. These companies often fly under the radar of awards programs of this type, yet they play an enormous role in fueling Colorado’s economy.
From an economic-development perspective, the importance of recognizing second-stage companies — those beyond the startup stage but still developing — is obvious: As these companies grow, not only do they employ an increasing number of people, which benefits their local economies and quality of life; they also create a need for outside services, and thus opportunity for other businesses, from restaurants to accounting firms to pet boarders, to flourish. The ripple effect on the economy is sizable, to say the least.
This year, more than 1,100 companies from industries ranging from biosciences to fitness to food and beverage submitted nominations. A judging panel made up of business and economic-development leaders throughout the state whittled those candidates down to the finalists, and finally to this year’s select cast of 47 Colorado Companies to Watch winners.
Read on to learn more about our favorite Colorado Fixers.
Altitude Control Technology (ACT) has revolutionized altitude simulation and the prevention of altitude sickness. Its primary business is developing altitude-adjustment systems for high-altitude homes and altitude simulation systems for research.
ACT pioneered the use of ceramic sensors, barometric pressure compensation and advanced altitude simulation algorithms. It continues to pave the way as a leader in scientific instruments and their application to better health in homes.
Based in Edwards, 14 miles west of Vail, the enterprise is well-situated for the industry space it occupies. The company engineered the world’s first oxygen-controlled altitude simulation system. The technology it has developed is the most advanced solution for medical research and mountain homes.
Founded in 2020, the company had 10 employees at year-end 2021 and expected to add another two this year. Those additions figure to be well-qualified. “We have the industry-leading, safest, most effective product and the largest, most experienced workforce,” President and CEO William Sinclair says.
One trend that bodes well for the company’s future, Sinclair says, is that an increasing number of people want to stay living at altitude instead of retiring to lower-altitude places. So far, his market observations have paid off. The company increased revenues nearly sixfold from 2020 to 2021 and projects year-over-year revenue growth of 43% this year.
Colorado Computer Support (CCS) has overcome some gut-punches in the past three years that would have overwhelmed lesser firms. In 2019, the IT and cybersecurity company lost its largest client, which was responsible for 50% of CCS’s business. Shortly thereafter, the pandemic hit, and clients canceled their capital projects, a major blow to the Colorado Springs firm’s revenue stream.
And yet, CCS bounced back, partnering with 16 new clients toward the end of 2020 and closing out 2021 eight new clients. The firm is on track to post a year-over-year revenue increase of 45% in 2022, following last year’s 22% revenue increase. One key to CCS’s resurgence was its resolve to focus on larger clients; much of the company’s new business is with clients with more than 100 employees.
“Cybersecurity threats have exploded,” CEO Blake Schwank says. “This has an impact on our clients in several areas, most notably in compliance. Industries are now demanding that layers of cybersecurity are in place. Additionally, cyber insurance policies have very specific requirements that are difficult to meet without assistance from an outside IT vendor that specializes in cybersecurity.”
CCS enables clients to meet those demands so they can go about their business.
“We enable businesses to staff an entire IT department at a fraction of the cost, allowing our clients to scale despite current staffing challenges,” Schwank says. “CCS takes care of the entire process — hiring, training, and managing our IT staff and support, freeing our clients to focus on running and growing their core operations.”
Justin Whitehead founded Digital Silence in 2018 with one goal in mind: to do cybersecurity consulting right.
The boutique firm provides a comprehensive set of cybersecurity consulting services including penetration testing, framework-based risk assessments, ransomware reviews, incident response, digital forensics and virtual CISO consulting.
“Even with the headwinds of 2020 COVID, we have been able to have dramatic growth over the past four years,” says Whitehead, the firm’s CEO. “Our focus on delivery excellence and technical talent is what sets us apart from our competitors.”
The industries Digital Silence serves include entertainment, financial services, tech companies and health care. The company’s growth has been spurred by factors that include both an increase in cybersecurity attacks and an increase in compliance requirements from state and federal government.
Since 2018 when the firm started out with two employees, Digital Silence has grown to a workforce of 12 full-time equivalent employees and expects to add up to four employees this year. Revenues increased 75% from 2020 to 2021 and are projected to grow another 68% year-over-year in 2022.
HomePride is a specialty remodeler that focuses on bathroom remodeling and walk-in bath installation. CEO Matthew Colligan knew there was a huge market for these services that had yet to be tapped when he founded the company in 2018.
“People are remodeling as they cannot afford to move,” Colligan says. “People love Colorado, and if they would like to update their home it is a less expensive option to stay in the home they love and give it an update vs. trying to sell and move into a home that is smaller and requiring the same upgrades as the home they are already in.”
So, what sets HomePride apart from other remodelers? One of the keys has been its ability to generate leads and turn those into customers. From 2020 to 2021, the company’s revenues jumped from $6.6 million to $16.7 million, and the company projects a nearly twofold increase, to $33 million, this year.
Meanwhile, HomePride nearly doubled its number of employees from 2020 to 2021 and projects another 42% increase in its workforce for 2022.
“We are opening new locations and have created a lead-generation strategy and recruitment strategy that has allowed us to capitalize on the Colorado real estate market conditions,” Colligan says.
Of course, lead-generation strategies wouldn’t matter if HomePride didn’t also deliver. The Centennial-based remodeler does that.
“We focus on installing a bathroom in as little as a day or two,” Colligan says.
Lion Home Service is setting a new standard of excellence in the residential services industry.
The company provides prompt service, quality fixes and a reliable response its customers can trust. The company understands that problems don’t always occur during normal business hours, so its call center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Lion guarantees all of its repair work and if a manufacturer refuses to honor its warranty, the company will make the necessary repairs at no charge to the customer.
“Barton Palmer, the company’s owner and general manager, plans for the future so Lion Home Service continues to grow and develop more efficient ways to operate,” says Donja Medina, the company’s marketing manager.
“Leadership and vision are our biggest strengths,” Medina says. “A major focus over the past year has been growing leaders and investing in training. We are constantly working on recruiting the best employees and optimizing procedures.”
TNT Home Services provides residential and commercial plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical services for customers along the Front Range.
The veteran-owned company operates on the three pillars that guide the U.S. Air Force: integrity first; service before self; and excellence in all we do.
TNT’s up-front, flat-rate pricing means customers are not charged by the house. The company provides free estimates for jobs like remodels, re-pipes and tankless water heaters.
The company employs people who have served in the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy who exemplify the company’s commitment to honesty and integrity. It offers veterans, first responders, active-duty military and their families 10$ off its services in appreciation of their service.
Unlike most home service companies, TNT does not operate 24/7. The company has a family-first focus, meaning it wants its technicians home for dinner with their families every night. It also strives not to send them out on weekends — also not typical in the home services industry.
“We know that if we take care of our employees that they will take care of our clients, and they will in turn take care of us,” TNT President Laura Thornton says.