Colorado Companies to Watch 2019: The Organizers
Get your ducks in a row with these seven firms
Jeff Porter founded Handbid after running his fifth annual fundraiser for the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association of Colorado — an organization he and his family created when daughter Abby was diagnosed with the rare genetic disorder. The Handbid app brings order to the often chaotic world of charity auctions and fundraising, allowing bidders to use their phones or other devices to bid on items and providing a seamless way for organizations to manage items, check-in and check-out.
During its seven years in business, Handbid has helped more than 700 charities run more than 3,500 auctions and raise more than $200 million for their causes.
“We feel good about that,” CEO Porter says. “Instead of celebrating Handbid revenue milestones, we celebrate total funds raised for our charity clients. We love what we do and go above and beyond the terms of the contract to do it.”
The company has maintained a 40 percent annual growth rate and a stellar retention rate. And Handbid customers have a habit of coming to work for the company, where employees enjoy flexible work hours and unlimited personal time off.
“Handbid is a family,” Porter says. “We consistently challenge each other while operating on a basis of mutual respect and trust.”
Both a woman- and minority-owned business, Hermes Worldwide provides chauffeured transportation solutions to clientele in a wide array of industries and markets. The company prides itself on its global reach and its focus on group events. Its full-service meeting and event-planning division, Agile Events, allows Hermes to manage any element of client events.
Other innovations include an integrated online booking engine, vehicle tracking through a mobile app, complimentary in-vehicle WiFi, and mobile device charging ports. Hermes Worldwide’s group division pioneered an integrated app to allow meeting planners the ability to see a live manifest.
Hermes Worldwide’s community giving focuses on youth education and groups; the company donates services and auction items to support their causes. In-house, the company culture encourages employees to share their ideas and take risks.
Lots of hotels have those cute little lobby shops, but figuring out how to make the most of them wasn’t always top-of-mind for management. Enter Impulsify, retail experts who provide the technology, data and services to create the best guest experience with the least impact to hotel operations.
“For the first time ever, brands have total transparency into their retail costs, profit, volumes and guest preferences when it comes to retail purchases made in their hotels,” co-founder and CEO Janine Williams says. “The impact has been a complete change in perception across the industry of what a grab-and-go retail outlet should look like, what it should sell, how much it should earn and just how profitable their stores can be when properly planned and managed.”
Impulsify has recently expanded its portfolio with 800 new hotels, and the company is branching out into solutions for small lobby bars, bistros and coffee shops. Its retail design and technology have also begun to move into luxury apartment buildings that want convenient grab-and-go for residents.
One of the company’s core values is "crazy giving – we give so much away that our CFO thinks we are crazy,” Williams says. The company actively supports International Hope Builders, an Arvada-based humanitarian construction company. Impulsify sends employees to third-world countries such as Honduras to help build homes and schools. It also sponsors girls who can’t attend those schools because of the costs of uniforms and other fees.
Infinity Laboratories, an outsource contract testing to pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, invests in the latest, greatest equipment to innovate and keep its competitive edge. The company plans to fuel its next phase of growth through the use of an artificial intelligence-supported data analytics platform.
“We can analyze and provide in-depth interpretation of our customers’ complex data results that are then displayed on a simplified dashboard,” CEO Daniel Henderson says. “Empowering our customers with more content-rich data improves their success, which in turn, facilitates our own.”
Infinity employees enjoy a balance of challenging work and regular celebrations, including a “legendary” year-end party.
“We provide our staff with difficult problems to overcome but give them extensive resources,” Henderson says. “We allow them to learn from their mistakes but balance everything with accountability and continual improvement.”
At Mersive, they believe the workplace should be meaningful, connected and enjoyable for everyone. Their products create the most productive meeting experience by enabling group interaction that transforms meeting spaces into collaboration hubs.
“Innovation is the heart and soul of Mersive,” CEO Rob Balgley says.
“Mersive has been able to gain market share quickly by innovating, listening to customer feedback, and then acting on the customer recommendations to push our product development even further forward.”
The company, which has more than 6,000 customers, has created an entirely new market category for wireless content sharing and collaboration and is innovating further to turn its product into a meeting-space platform.
Mersive employees enjoy stocked kitchens, monthly happy hours, quarterly adventure days and a dog-friendly office, and Mersive takes great pride in a company culture that encourages a no-ego, data-driven, trustworthy, collaborative community. Its Product Boot Camp promotes product knowledge, innovation and ideas across the company. Monthly CTO Cocktail Hours provide mentorship and visibility into the inner workings of the company.
Each month, founder and CTO Chris Jaynes meets off-site with multiple employees from across the organization for a frank discussion about the business.
Chris finds this one-on-one interaction with employees vital to maintaining the organization’s culture of respectfulness, transparency and trust,” Balgley says.
Mersive offers employees paid volunteer time, accrued at a rate of four hours per month, to participate in group volunteer activities such as anti-hunger nonprofit Metro Caring.
Founded with the core belief that solutions for local government should be automated and nimble, MUNIRevs has delivered more than $1 billion in revenue to municipalities — which didn’t have to lift a finger.
Built to help automate revenue collection, MUNIRevs has helped its 50,000 clients eliminate 95 percent of their paper. In addition, its support team boasts an average response time of less than 40 minutes.
Many of MUNIRevs employees first started working for the company as accounting students at Western Slope colleges and moved to full-time positions after graduation. The company has remote employees in some positions, allowing it to hire for accounting skills and passion to help businesses and government, regardless of location.
CEO Erin Neer teaches classes to business owners and cities, and the company has invested in a pilot program, the Home Rule Portal, to demonstrate to the state and the Colorado Department of Revenue that technology can preserve cities’ home rule authority while simplifying Colorado tax filing for businesses.
Scientific Aviation says it makes the world a better place “from the sky down,” a mission that began with CEO and lead scientist Stephen Conley. As a Ph.D. student in Atmospheric Science at the University of California-Davis, Conley needed to collect data for his research, but no commercial companies could do what he wanted. So Conley developed a new system for measuring horizontal winds from aircraft, which has since been adopted on NOAA and NASA aircraft.
When the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility in Porter Ranch, California, suffered the largest natural gas leak in U.S. history in 2015, Scientific Aviation was hired to fly over and measure the emissions. The company’s ability to provide immediate and accurate emissions numbers on the high-profile project made it a recognizable name among both regulators and the industry for methane emissions measurements.
The company has begun tailoring services to the oil and gas industry, adding both a major contract with Conoco Phillips and pursuing expansion into the European market at the request of the United Nations and other environmental research organizations.
The company fosters an active lifestyle for its employees by providing season ski passes and weekly team ski outings, fitness trackers and incentives for steps and name-brand company jackets.
An active supporter of scientific research and science education, the company’s new innovative research program, SAFIRE (Scientific Aviation Funding for Innovative Research Experiments), offers up to 100 free flight hours to test new research ideas that would generally be considered too risky for typical scientific funding agencies.
This article is part of the 2019 Colorado Companies to Watch. Read more about the other winners:
THE FIXERS | THE TECHIES | THE MAKERS & SUPPLIERS | THE HELPERS | THE COMMUNICATORS & EDUCATORS | THE FOODIES