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News & Press: Colorado Technology Industry

Startups face paradox

Wednesday, November 2, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Catharine Lurie
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Startups face paradox

By Beth Potter, Reporter with Boulder County Business Report

DENVER - Colorado startups are facing a paradox - entrepreneurs are flocking to the state, while potential investors and venture capital firms are mystifyingly staying away.

That was the verdict of a panel of three area venture capital firm managers who discussed the state of their industry Friday at the Colorado Technology Association 2011 Demogala.

"The state of venture capital in Colorado sucks," said Seth Levine, manager at the Foundry Group, a Boulder-based venture capital firm. "The state of the startup market has never been more robust."

About 93 percent of the money invested in Colorado startups and tech firms comes from outside the state, Levine said, a much higher proportion than in years past.

As the state, especially Boulder, has become known as a great place to launch companies, venture capital firms based on the coasts still seem reluctant "to open outposts" in Colorado, Levine said.

Chris Marks of the Tango Group, a private investment company based in Boulder, also was a member of the venture capital panel.

Earlier in the day, two Boulder startups unveiled demonstrations of their products.

Go Spot Check is a Boulder TechStars 2011 graduate. It is trying to develop applications that let brands verify that retailers are properly displaying merchandise on store shelves. The company relies on crowdsourcing to enable consumers to do the verifying while they are shopping.

Go Spot Check unveiled the app shoppers can use to verify items are being displayed correctly. Users will receive money from brands for completing mission. The apps will be available on the Apple App Store in two weeks, Go Spot Check founder Matt Talbot said.

Robert Reich demonstrated the app store his company, Openspace, is developing. Openspace allows users to buy apps that work across platforms such as computers, tablets or smartphones. Users only would have to buy an app once but would be able to use it on all their devices.

Openspace will make the app buying experience easier by allowing consumers to buy from curated channels that are tailored to users' interests, Reich said.

Reich is founder of the Boulder Denver New Tech Meetup and OneRiot Inc.

- Michael Davidson

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