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News & Press: Colorado Technology Industry

Denver’s Demogala a debutante ball for startups

Tuesday, October 18, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Wendy Nkomo
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Denver’s Demogala a debutante ball for startups

Denver Business Journal by Greg Avery, Reporter

Date: Friday, October 14, 2011, 6:44pm MDT
Greg Avery
Reporter -Denver Business Journal
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That buzz you heard coming from theSheraton Denver Downtownon Friday wasn’t from the construction outside on the 16th Street Mall.

It was from the tech companies inside showing off what they’re building.

The annual Demogala gathering, one of the major events organized by the Colorado Technology Association, highlighted more than 20 startups from Colorado and a new product from a well-known local brand.

"The quality of companies may be the best I’ve seen, and there’s a sense of excitement around the industry you feel here,” saidMike Stemple, a veteran tech founder and organizer the Founder Institute startup boot camp in Denver. "A lot deal get done here, too, so this is huge.”

Stemple presented his newest company, Mosoro, at the Demogala.

Other presenting companies — like Boulder’s SendGrid, an automated email that handles billions of emails — were more established.

MapQuest, the 15-year-old Denver company that pioneered online driving directions, showed off its new mqVibe service.

The website, which will debut as a mobile app as well, rates the attractions — businesses, restaurants, parks and other attractions — in more than 50,000 neighborhood hotspots around the country using a combination of data from driver directions and user ratings.

MapQuest, based in Denver, needs to continue to innovate, even with 4 million daily users and having been the first way to find destinations online, said Christian Dwyer, general manager of theAOL-owned company.

"You might say ‘problems solved,’ but I’d say no. We solved that problem 15 years ago,” he said. "It’s not just about getting from point A to point B; it’s about helping people figure out where they should go.”

Sharif Youssef, founder of iGivefirst.com, showed off his company’s donation "button” that media companies, blogs and other publishers can put on their websites allowing people to make donations to a cause with a click — much like a Facebook like button, only to raise money for charities.

Denver-based iGivefirst.com has 11 people working on the technology, three of which are full-time employees.

iGivefirst.com’s product is not yet in the market, so unveiling it felt good, Youssef said.

"It’s great to see the community get together, and it’s great to get in front of the industry and venture capitalists in an of informal setting,” he said.

Greg Avery covers tech, telecom, aerospace and bioscience for the Denver Business Journal and writes for the "Boosters, Bits & Bioscience" blog.

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