Firms in Boulder win venture capital offer
Ten company founders each pitched ideas to a panel of five industry experts in the "Shark Tank"-style event conducted by the i4c Campaign LLC at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver. Three companies were offered money.
Galvanize, a Denver-based venture capital group, is offering the $50,000 equity investments to Pangea, Simple Energy and third-place winner Dabble, a startup based in Denver, said Chelsea Komlo, a Galvanize spokeswoman. Galvanize put on the event, called The i4c Campaign, to invest in early-stage companies that focus on social or environmental problems.
Galvanize also is offering the winning companies free rent for one year in an office in Denver, legal and financial consulting and general mentor help.
Joshua Scott Onysko, founder of Pangea Organics, incorporated as Pangea Naturals Inc., said he will take the money, but will not leave Boulder. Simple Energy officials could not be reached.
Onysko pitched a "social selling" idea in which Pangea would create a separate division to distribute organic skin-care products directly to consumers through home parties. Pangea Organics products are sold in 2,000 retail locations, including Whole Foods Markets (Nasdaq: WFM), Onysko said.
"People will be able to get a discount on the home products," Onysko said. "The (home parties) will be focused more around stories and passion for the brand."
Onysko said his 12-person company will remain in Boulder. Products are made at manufacturing sites in Denver, California and New Mexico.
Simple Energy co-founder Yoav Lurie pitched his company's game software. Utility company customers play games online to save energy and beat other customers, he said. The overall goal is to get more utility customers to change their behavior and save more energy.
The company has 13 employees, but plans to have 35 by the end of the year, Lurie said at the event. It's a graduate of the TechStars startup company incubator program in Boulder.
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