3 Colorado Tech Startups Who Are Leading The Colorado Growth Charge

Posted on August 8, 2019 by BWBacon. Tagged: Featured Companies, For Clients

Colorado, in particular, the front range metro area, is well on its way to becoming a top competitor in global technology. Tech companies are booming in our region thanks to factors like continued investment in startups, our amazing culture and the cost of living compared to other tech giant cities, like San Francisco.

In fact, Denver was ranked the 1st best place for business and careers by Forbes as well as the 2nd best city for job seekers in 2017 by NerdWallet. There are a lot of reasons to be proud to be a Denver and/or Colorado tech company right now.

All this success isn’t just reflecting the SF giants relocating to our abundant grounds. Quite the contrary. There are plenty of tech beasts that were founded right here. They have awesome origin stories and continue to thrive, inspiring more and more people to start their business in our neck of the woods.

In this post, we’ve pulled together a few inspiring tech companies that started in Denver and continue to thrive.

Inspiring Colorado Tech Startups that Continue to Make an Impact

SendGrid (Boulder/Denver)

  • Date founded: 2009
  • Founders:
  • Story:
    • After graduating from the TechStars program, the co-founders of SendGrid developed an industry-disrupting, cloud-based email service to solve the challenges of reliably delivering emails on behalf of growing companies. Saldana, Jenkins, and Lopez were sick of application emails not getting delivered, so they built an app to solve that exact problem. Today, SendGrid is responsible for sending billions of emails for some of the best and brightest companies in the world.
    • SendGrid went public and then was acquired by Twilo, for a deal that’s worth nearly $3B. Together, the companies will be managing 140,000 active customer accounts covering some 600 billion interactions on an annualized basis.
  • Funding rounds: Total - $80.4M
    • 2010: Series A - $5M
    • 2012: Series B - $21.6M
    • 2014: Series C - $20M
    • 2016: Series D - $33M
    • 2017: IPO - $131M
  • Notable wins:
    • The organization is one of the most successful Denver tech companies and is the first company out of TechStars to go public and the second IPO of a company backed by Dave McClure's 500 Startups accelerator seed fund.
    • As of 2018, it had 74,000 customers, including Spotify, Uber, Airbnb, and Staples, and sends more than 36 billion emails a month on behalf of their clients.
    • One of their largest clients is AirBnB. Every email a customer receives from the home-sharing service is from SendGrid — from the account activation to a password reset, a message notification or most often a booking receipt, etc. They help ensure that there are no delays in email deliveries because it’s essential for the company's success.

Cherwell (Colorado Springs)

  • Date founded: 2004
  • Founders:
    1. Vance Brown
    2. Arlen S. Feldman
    3. Timothy G. Pfeifer
  • Story:
    1. Brown, Feldman, and Pfeifer envisioned building a company that listened carefully to customers and empowered them with technology to achieve their goals faster and more effectively. This initial vision eventually led to an intuitive, flexible software platform to automate service experiences across the enterprise.
    2. After their founding in 2004, they successfully launched Cherwell® Service Management software in 2007, which helps enable IT departments to easily automate routine tasks, enhance response times and free up valuable time.
  • Funding rounds: Total - $234.2M
    1. 2012: Venture Round - $25M
    2. 2016: Venture Round - $8.2M
    3. 2018: Private Equity - $172M
    4. 2019: Grant - $3.7M
  • Notable wins:
    1. Two years after its software launch, 100% of customers said they would recommend Cherwell.
    2. In November 2012, Cherwell received a $25M investment from Insight Venture Partners in order to accelerate their rapid growth. The investment was highly unusual for the industry because Insight Venture was only granted common stock in the company and did not receive control over day to day operations.
    3. In January 2013, the Service Desk Institute accredited Cherwell Service Management as the "first service desk software solution in the world to be compliant with its international service desk metrics and reporting standard.”
    4. In February 2017, Cherwell secured a $50M investment from KKR, a global investment firm through its Next Generation Technology Fund. And as of April 2018, it raised more than $172M from KKR, making them a majority owner.

Wunder Capital (Boulder)

  • Date founded: 2013
  • Founders:
    1. Bryan Birsic
  • Story:
    1. Its core mission is “addressing the greatest crisis of our generation by accelerating the proliferation of solar energy. Specifically, we’re developing software to make the renewable energy industry more efficient and we’re deploying hundreds of millions of dollars to finance the development of large scale solar energy projects across the United States.”
    2. Wunder Capital helps develop, manage and fund solar energy projects through its online investment portal, supporting businesses, nonprofits and community solar projects with the financing they need and empowering investors to put their money behind initiatives they believe in.
    3. A mission-driven company, Wunder gives accredited investors (for a minimum investment of $1,000) the opportunity to invest in loans for commercial enterprises — like small businesses, warehouses, and schools — to help them switch to solar power. Returns are generated as the businesses pay back the loans (plus interest) for the technology. The money is then deposited directly into investors' accounts.
    4. They also provide advice and expertise to companies looking to switch to solar power and matches solar installers with projects.
  • Funding rounds: Total - 116.8M
    1. 2014: Convertible Note - $100K
    2. 2016: Series A - $3.6M
    3. 2018: Debt Financing - $112M
  • Notable Wins:
    1. They secured investments from Cyrus Capital and Techstars Ventures.
    2. In 2014, Wunder won the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sunshot Challenge, as well as COSEIA’s 2015 Summit Award.
    3. In 2017, the company helped grow its solar pipeline to $1.8 billion, financed more than 185 large-scale solar energy projects and deployed solar installations in more than 15 states. Currently, Wunder is on track to continue their growth even more.
    4. The funding has enabled the company to bring on several new members to its team, move to a new space in the downtown Denver area and continue its investment in new technologies and investment opportunities.

Long story short, keep charging forward, chase possibility and embrace the opportunities here in the Colorado tech scene, there are plenty! Every day our tech scene gets stronger and the support structures become more robust. Tech in Colorado is here to stay.

If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!

Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.

If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!