Colorado Companies to Watch 2020: The Fixers
If it isn't broke don't fix it, and if it is call these companies
CaliberMRI, formerly Qalibre MD, was born from collaboration between the founding company (High Precision Devices) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST was tasked by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to help advance medical Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) from a qualitative means of evaluating tissue health to a quantitative imaging modality. NIST contracted the company as a commercialization partner to make quantitative MRI (qMRI) available throughout the health-care industry.
The company was selected by the National Cancer Institute to develop qMRI technology for a new level of quality assurance for MRI. Through this award, the company is working with leading researchers in an extensive clinical trial called I-SPY2, focused on the diagnosis and neoadjuvant (before surgery) treatment of breast cancers.
The benefits of qMRI include cost reduction and improved patient outcome. CaliberMRI looks for opportunities to explain the principles and benefits of qMRI through frequent professional presentations, one-on-one interchange and other instances of educational outreach, including consumer-facing communications such as radio interviews. The company is developing website resources such as research journal articles and blog posts to educate the public and serve as an essential resource to the qMRI community.
FloWater started in Silicon Valley but relocated to Denver because of the quality of Denver’s workforce and central location, which makes it easy to distribute its products nationally.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated FloWater’s plans to expand beyond B2B and introduce its technology for home installation to provide consumers with advanced water purification. A suite of home water purification products is expected to be introduced this year, significantly increasing FloWater’s market size and potential impact on safe drinking water and eliminating plastic waste.
“The innovative concept is to transform any potable drinking water right from the tap and deliver safer, better-tasting water that businesses and consumers prefer and choose instead of water in single-use plastic bottles,” CEO Rich Razgaitis says.
Since the company’s launch in 2013, FloWater’s Refill Stations have saved more than 300 million plastic water bottles from entering the environment. The company also has donated eight FloWater Refill Stations to public areas around Flint, Michigan, which made headlines when a change in the city’s water source exposed more than 100,000 residents to elevated lead levels.
“From a local school to the police department, locations fitted with FloWater finally allowed Flint residents to drink from the source water without fear,” Razgaitis says.
Kind Home Solutions
Kind Home Solutions considers innovation the company’s commitment to continually improving, and the company has created a culture that focuses on finding solutions to problems.
“In order to accomplish this we have encouraged all of our team members to share things that annoy them or hinders their ability to perform their job in the best way possible,” Kind Home Solutions owner Michael Sutton says. “Those questions have created the platform for innovation and change within our company and within each department of Kind Home Solutions.”
For example, Kind Home Solutions created a photo-sharing system that enables it to clearly define the work it will perform before starting a project. It allows its office staff to have eyes in the field and provides a content creating tool for its marketing team. It also helps to built trust with the company’s clients and can be used as a training platform for new hires.
“The true innovation wasn’t the tool itself because all companies have access to it, but how we have integrated it within our business and used it to leverage ourselves against our competition,” Sutton says.
When it started out in 2008 as Lightning Hybrids, Lightning Systems’ product was a hydraulic hybrid system for trucks and buses, but in 2017, the company pivoted to focus on battery electric vehicles (BEV).
While hydraulic hybrids were able to reduce emissions of diesel and gasoline engines, the improvement was hard to quantify, the vehicles were noisy to operate and batteries had finally become viable for heavy-duty vehicles.
“Upon recognizing the future of the sustainable commercial vehicles market was fully zero emission, leadership made the decision to re-task the company away from hydraulic hybrids and focus 100% on BEVs,” co-founder and CEO Tim Reeser says. “This has proven insightful as the hydraulic hybrid market has largely dissipated and demand for BEVs is rapidly growing.”
Last year, Lightning Systems expanded its product offerings beyond electric vehicles to include the chargers needed to support electric fleets. The company added a full line of charging stations to its product offerings and developed a mobile battery charging system, paving the way for the launch of a new division called Lightning Energy that is dedicated to offering the full gamut of charging products, infrastructure and software services.
From 2018 to 2019, Lightning Systems saw revenue growth of more than 200%, and projections for 2020 year-over-year growth are more than 400% despite having to adjust for the impact of COVID-19 on the business.
Dispensing prescriptions is a complex business. There are state and federal regulations, pharmacy and medical billing issues, and controlled substance reporting requirements. MDScripts offers a variety of online tools and serves as a one-stop shop for clinical medication management. “Our challenge, and where we excel, is by making otherwise complicated technology easy for non-technical clinic staff and physicians,” says Gary Mounce, president. “Whereas many of our competitors have spent years attempting to roll out products, our unique advantage is our proven ability to rapidly deploy and scale while maintaining platform integrity.”
One important focus is stopping prescription opioid abuse. In 2010, MDScripts launched a private prescription monitoring tool used by independent pharmacies and law enforcement, and is currently working on similar tools used by pharmaceutical wholesalers to continue the progress against the scourge of opioid addiction.
The company launched in Florida in 2009, and over the past four years has migrated the majority of operations, including finance, programming and senior management to the Boulder office. Even before COVID-19, employees have been free to work from wherever they like and at whatever times they choose. “We have a Google office just around the corner from our Boulder headquarters, and since we don’t have an indoor climbing wall, we need to be generous in both our pay and benefits,” Mounce says.
Here’s a little history: The child-resistant cap on drug bottles was invented in 1967. Today, that push-down-and-turn concept does not exactly deter people from pilfering opioids or amphetamines from someone in their own household, and it often doesn’t stop children from opening up something that can poison them. Meanwhile the opioid epidemic is an ongoing problem in the U.S., and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids reports that 73% of teens cite ease of access in family medicine cabinets as their reason for abusing prescription drugs.
To solve this, Sean Serell, an M.D. in Fort Collins, developed the Safe Rx Locking Pill Bottle. Dr. Serell, an anesthesiologist, did not have the resources to commercialize the product, so in 2015 he and Milton Cohen began working together to get the Safe Rx Locking Pill Bottle in retail. By 2019 Cohen had gained distribution in Walmart. The product uses a four-digit combination that the user sets. The patented innovation is also available for pharmacies to dispense dangerous narcotics.
Safe Rx works with organizations such as the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, and also Medication Take-Back events to raise awareness of the opioid epidemic and the effect on families, and often gives away Locking Pill Bottles to attendees at these community events.
SonderMind is dedicated to making mental health more accessible. The behavioral health marketplace enables consumers to find the right therapists and helps therapists provide care without worrying about administrative and billing issues.
SonderMind has correlation matching software that takes into account many variables to help achieve the ideal therapeutic outcomes for consumers and therapists. The company has contracted agreements with all of the largest health-care insurance payers and makes sure that a client is connected to an in-network therapist. Using algorithms to consider client clinical needs and symptoms, therapist expertise, location, schedule and other important variables, the platform delivers the best possible outcomes in the shortest time. SonderMind’s Guaranteed Pay allows therapists to receive payment within 24 hours following their in-person therapy session.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, SonderMind expedited the launch of its telehealth platform to ensure clients and providers could still connect. With SonderMind Video Telehealth, clients can see a therapist in the network who takes their insurance, from the comfort and safety of their own home. In April the company, which currently serves Colorado, Texas and Arizona, announced it had received Series B financing, and plans to expand to other markets. The company has participated in Suicide Awareness activities and worked with organizations that serve specific populations like first responders, veterans, LGBTQ+ communities and more.
This article is part of the 2020 Colorado Companies to Watch. Read more about the other winners:
THE MAKERS & SUPPLIERS | THE TECHIES | THE HELPERS | THE COMMUNICATORS & EDUCATORS | THE FOODIES | THE ORGANIZERS