On the road with CTA: Day 2
Takeaways as statewide travel circuit lands CTA in Grand Junction
The second day on the Colorado Technology Association’s first statewide Tech Tour took the team of inquisitive Front Rangers from Telluride to Grand Junction.
Several themes and collaborative conversations worth noting emerged from the tour’s first stop, which included a visit to the Telluride Venture Accelerator and a tech-centric happy hour.
According to Tomer Alpert, Telluride-based CEO and co-founder of Felt – a whimsical letter-writing app – starting a technology-driven business in a rural community can be done. The caveat: His engineering talent is at least partially based out of state, which lends itself to questions and case studies around remote work opportunities and location neutrality.
Another startup in attendance was Voltaire, which raised its first round of financing with the assistance of TVA last year. The early-stage company provides a cloud-based service with social content and applies its proprietary algorithms, heuristics and big data predictive analytics to uncover juror biases, preference and behaviors.
“Colorado is such a diverse state, with great innovation happening in every corner,” says Andrew Cole, program manager for Go Code Colorado, a project by the Secretary of State’s Office. “At the same time, each community around the state has opportunities for improvement as well. This tour is a great opportunity for industry and government to get out and hear about those successes and opportunities so that we can build on what works and address issues that are holding us back. Face-to-face interactions are key in this effort.”
Later, the team headed to Grand Junction to meet with The Business Incubator Center, a nonprofit whose mission is to support the growth, stabilization and long-term success of business enterprises in Mesa County and the surrounding region. The location totals 46 acres, with 35,000 square feet of mixed-use space available for lease to tenant clients.
Despite the lack of a strong digital community per se, Executive Director John Maraschin says the incubator houses a maker space, a 3D printing lab, a small commercial kitchen for food companies to test recipes, and other services and areas for a multitude of industries. The organization, opened in 1987, also offers free business coaching, no- or low-cost classes, and events for small business.