Colorado Companies to Watch 2022: The Techies
Here's our list of Colorado's most promising 2nd-stage tech companies and enterprises.
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 Tech companies.
AppIt Ventures is a woman-owned custom software development company specializing in custom app development.
“The world of custom software is ever-evolving,” CEO Amanda Moriuchi says. “Every year, more and more companies of all sizes are moving toward developing custom and cloud-based solutions to better serve the needs of both their organization and their customers. This trend toward new app development is largely due to a massive shift in user behavior and user experience.”
As an example, Moriuchi points to mobile phones, which in a few short years have become a part of people’s everyday lives. “Creating a world-class user experience is something that top companies strive for to further engage their employees and users on a more frequent basis,” she says.
The Denver-based firm had 62 employees at the end of 2021 and is expected to add another eight this year. Software is the product, but it’s the people who make it happen at AppIt Ventures.
“Our top strength is our people,” Moriuchi says. “There are thousands of vendors that build custom software, but the key differentiator between AppIt Ventures and other developers is that we have a strong company culture. We are deeply committed to our values of diversity and inclusion, discipline and quality.”
AppIt’s revenues increased 37% year-over-year from 2019 to 2020 and another 4% last year amid the pandemic. The company expects a big jump in 2022, as it projects a year-over-year revenue increase of nearly 50%.
“We are gaining traction with enterprise clients this year and are growing rapidly and on track to have our best year yet,” Moriuchi says.
Darwin Biosciences specializes in the development of saliva-based diagnostics for the early detection of infectious disease. Founded in 2020, the company’s vision is to empower decision-making through diagnostics that are accessible to anyone.
Currently in development is its platform technology that reads molecules in saliva to detect if a person has contracted an infectious disease before the onset of symptoms. Designed to be fully portable, it will enable regular screening by untrained personnel in the field, or the comfort of one’s home.
Darwin Biosciences currently has the exclusive rights to three patents licensed from the University of Colorado Boulder. “Together, they provide protection in developing our platform technology that will enable the hand-held detection of nucleic acids from non-invasive biospecimens,” says Dr. Nicholas Meyerson, CEO of Darwin Biosciences.
Meyerson touts Darwin’s access to world-class scientific research from CU-Boulder and a rapidly growing team that has proven capable of executing on product development milestones.
The company quickly began generating revenue in 2020 by developing and deploying a saliva-based COVID testing service. For 2022, the company is projecting revenue growth of at least 20%.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about rapid change in the infectious disease diagnostics industry, with a heightened interest in bringing diagnostics out of the laboratory and empowering individuals with rapid and accurate results.
“Additionally, there is a growing need to prepare for the next pandemic,” Meyerson says. “Darwin Biosciences is perfectly poised to address these market needs with our platform technology, which is portable, rapid and intended to be used and interpreted by anyone. And because our device is agnostic to the pathogen being detected, it will be broadly applicable to the detection of pathogens beyond the current pandemic.”
Iron-IQ is a cloud-native platform that allows clients to remotely monitor and control any device from anywhere in the world.
With an expertise in oil and gas, Iron-IQ has built its flagship product, Patch-IQ, to make field-level data accessible to other modern oil and gas software products. This enables the digital transformation required for companies to meet environmental, production and ROI goals. With Patch-IQ, data can be fed in real-time between Iron-IQ’s systems the moment it comes in from the field – allowing clients to keep track of tank levels, potential leaks, thresholds, video feeds and more to ensure operations are running smoothly.
The traction the business is gaining is evident in the company’s growth. In 2021, the firm doubled revenues from the previous year and is on track to repeat that growth this year. The company also projects a 33% increase in its workforce this year compared to last.
As the oil and gas industry has evolved, Iron-IQ has adapted to fill emerging needs. “The biggest change is the need for high frequency, normalized data from the field that interacts with other modern software solutions,” Iron-IQ Executive Chairman Matt Showalter says, citing an increased focus industrywide on the environment and operational efficiency.
“Our strength lies in the team of oil and gas, SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) and software experts,” Showalter continues. “In order to fulfill the needs of oil and gas operators, it requires deep domain expertise in all three. Also, our founding team has a track record of building successful companies in Colorado.”
Iterate.ai helps companies build production-ready, low-code applications up to 17 times faster than traditional programming.
The company, which ranks No. 407 on the Deloitte Technology Fast 500, does not employ salespeople and has no marketing expenditures. Most of its business is initiated by word-of-mouth recommendations by existing customers.
“We build software, so we don’t own many physical assets — just some personal computers,” Iterate.ai co-founder and CEO Jon Nordmark says. “We own IP — patents, custom-written code, etcetera.”
Iterate.ai built two patented software platforms — Interplay and Signals — that enhance digital transformation and innovation initiatives for the Enterprise.
Interplay is an intelligent, low-code middleware platform that is also used for rapid digital prototyping.
Interplay is supported by Signals, which helps executives evaluate concepts. It monitors 15.7 million startups and hundreds of emerging trends.
“As organizations have embraced low-code strategies to leverage the most cutting-edge and competitively advantageous technologies, our maturing business has grown from small service retainers to now include seven-figure software licenses from global enterprises,” Nordmark said at the time the company was named to the Deloitte list. “Iterate has been at the forefront of enabling customers with low-code access to many of the most innovative technologies.”
Revaluate creates artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms with machine learning that help mortgage companies and real estate agencies identify people who are likely to move within the next six months.
Marketers in the software, real estate and mortgage industries use the targeted data to increase the efficiency of their campaigns.
Each Revaluate customer has a plan customized to the number of contacts in their database. The company builds profiles for its clients’ leads, prospects and former clients, measuring and scoring each prospect nightly, looking for data that indicates they may be more or less likely to move.
When the score is above 80, Revaluate notifies the user that via text message, email, its dashboard or the client’s customer relationships management system that the prospect is Very Likely to Move.
“Rather than buying new leads every month, mortgage and real estate brands are beginning to work their existing databases, reducing churn and improving the bottom line,” Revaluate CEO Chris Drayer said.
The technology works best for companies that have 2,000 contacts or more in their databases, although it does have benefits for those with less than that. Revaluate can also help its clients build their lists.