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News & Press: Colorado Technology Industry

TechStars grads among Demogala notables

Wednesday, November 2, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Catharine Lurie
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TechStars grads among Demogala notables

By Beth Potter, Reporter with Boulder County Business Report

DENVER - Say you want to know more about how folks at the Food Network failed the "50 wings in 30 minutes challenge" at the West End Tavern in Boulder.

Or say you heard that scenes from the 2007 movie "Catch & Release" were filmed in Boulder, and you want to know where star Jennifer Garner liked to hang out in town.

A mobile phone application from Boulder's TagWhat might be just the ticket to find you such information in Boulder, or in any city in the country, said Dave Elchoness, co-founder of the company.

TagWhat and another 10 Boulder Valley-based companies were at the Colorado Technology Association's 7th Annual Demogala Showcase and Innovation Conference Oct. 19 at the Sheraton Denver Downtown in Denver. The free-wheeling, one-day event is designed to bring new companies together with potential funding partners and help deals get made.

TagWhat currently is bootstrapping its operations with money from friends and family, Elchoness said. But the company recently signed a deal with The Associated Press to make sure news stories pop up about places a user types into the mobile application.

"We're able to take Web content and deliver it to the places around you," Elchoness said.

Also at the event, Jim Franklin told the Boulder County Business Report that SendGrid Inc., an online email infrastructure company, is growing quickly. It may go public within the next two years. Franklin was hired as the company's chief executive officer in March. SendGrid has grown so quickly in recent months that it now has 10 Web programmers in Romania and other workers in places like the Philippines and Poland, Franklin said. The company has raised $5.75 million so far from venture capital investors.

The growth has come rapidly from things like more users taking advantage of online "daily deal" sites and dating sites, sending hundreds of thousands more messages online than ever before, Franklin said. Social networking sites such as Facebook have 100 million registered users now, Franklin pointed out.

"We're in a sweet spot right now," he said.

Finally, the marriage of video games and video clips from movies and elsewhere were at the heart of pitches from FlixMaster founders Erika Trautman, chief operating officer, and Cameron McCaddon, chief executive officer. The Boulder company is a TechStars graduate, a program for new high-tech companies looking for capital and advice. SendGrid also is a TechStars graduate.

The Flixmaster credo is "choose your own adventure," which could be used in a variety of applications - from operating online video contests to creating family Christmas newsletter videos, the founders said.

McCaddon has a video game background, while Trautman comes from video storytelling.

Whether it was Dan Fox, creative director at Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Boulder showing off what "dancing Jello" looks like, or Brian Grainger, client relations manager of nVoq in Boulder showing off the company's speech translation software, the conference had several offbeat moments.

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