Business Digest - January 17th, 2014
Denver-based Etkin Johnson Group changed its name to Etkin Johnson Real Estate Partners. The name change coincides with the promotions of Ryan Good and Aaron Johnson to partner status. It also is part of a rebranding to align with the company’s growth strategies.
The unemployment rates in Boulder and Broomfield counties decreased for the fifth month in a row in November as Colorado recorded its lowest unemployment rate since December 2008. Broomfield County’s unemployment rate was 5.5 percent, down more than a full percentage point from 6.6 percent in the same month a year ago and down from 5.7 percent in October. The county had 30,249 people employed in November and 1,755 who were seeking work. Boulder County’s November rate was 4.7 percent, with 173,980 people employed and 8,538 seeking work. That rate was down from 4.9 percent in October and 5.5 percent in November 2012.
Boulder Cycle Sport, with locations at 4580 Broadway and 629 S. Broadway in Boulder, has become a mountain bike dealer for Golden-based Yeti Cycles.
Next Wine LLC, a wine-distribution company launched last summer by Boulder master sommelier Richard Betts and Brad Miller, is raising another round of equity financing to help accommodate continued growth of the company. A recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing shows that Next Wine can raise up to $1 million in the current round, with $15,000 being the minimum investment.
As part of a multistate settlement, New York-based UBS Financial Services Inc. must pay $66,314 to Colorado authorities to settle charges that unlicensed sales assistants conducted stock trades in Colorado. The amount includes a $50,000 fine UBS Financial Services is paying in each of the 50 states. It also includes back licensing fees to pay for sales assistants outside of Colorado who did transactions here even though they weren’t licensed here.
Venture capital firm Bullet Time Ventures plans to raise $150 million in the new Bullet Time Ventures 2014 LP fund, according to a Regulation D filing made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. David Cohen, who founded Bullet Time Ventures in 2009, previously raised $28 million in the Bullet Time Ventures II fund. Cohen also is a founder of the TechStars startup business incubator. Bullet Time Ventures mostly provides seed money to startup companies affiliated with TechStars.
The FLEX regional public transportation route connecting Longmont with the Larimer County cities of Berthoud, Loveland and Fort Collins will continue service through 2014 and beyond. The four cities and Boulder County announced that funding for this service has been extended through contributions from each community partner. FLEX, operated by Transfort, the city of Fort Collins’ transportation system, has for three years been connecting Fort Collins and its neighboring communities with Longmont, where connections can be made to Regional Transportation District service into the Boulder and Denver metro areas.
The tasting room at Left Hand Brewing Co., 1265 Boston Ave. in Longmont, went smoke free Jan. 2 for the first time in the brewery’s 20 years of operation.
The city of Boulder installed an electrical vehicle charging station on the first floor of the parking garage at 1500 Pearl St. Charging is free; normal garage fees apply. Parking in the space in limited to four hours.
Louisville-based RGS Energy, the commercial and utility division of Louisville-based Real Goods Solar Inc. (Nasdaq: RSOL), has partnered with a project financing company to co-develop seven solar projects totaling 4.5 megawatts in Vermont. Financial terms of the transaction between RGS Energy and Waterbury, Vermont-based Green Lantern Capital were not disclosed. RGS Energy will design, install, monitor and maintain the solar-power systems. The company expects to begin construction by summer and complete the project by November. The company also is partnering with BlueWave Capital, a developer of solar energy projects in Massachusetts, are to deploy four new solar farms in Massachusetts. RGS Energy will design, install, monitor and maintain the four systems totaling 3.5 megawatts. The company expects to begin construction in March and to be completed in June.
Boulder-based Main Street Power Co. Inc. partnered with MS Solar Solutions Corp., a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley, to finance a 2.5-megawatt project on a brownfield site in Stow, Massachusetts. The 12-acre site was otherwise unusable for development or farming because of contaminated groundwater. Main Street will own and operate the 8,769-panel solar array, which is expected to generate enough power to offset the use of 300 typical American homes. A local utility, Hudson Light and Power Department signed a 25-year power purchase agreement to buy all of the array’s output.
Broomfield-based Corgenix Medical Corp. (OTC BB: CONX.OB), in collaboration with Randix Laboratories in the United Kingdom, filed the first premarket notification with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the TxBCardio immunoturbidometric assay. The filing is based on TxBCardio’s substantial equivalence to the Corgenix AspirinWorks ELISA assay, a simple FDA-cleared urine test to determine aspirin’s effect on apparently healthy individuals.
Louisville-based Boulder Creek Builders announced an ongoing partnership with Aurora-based Brent’s Place, a local nonprofit organization that provides an environment where children being treated for life-threatening cancer can still be kids. Boulder Creek will kick off a Lifefull Giving Campaign” to help provide financial and community support for Brent’s Place through various events and other fundraising efforts.
Sierra Nevada Corp. announced that a landing gear malfunction during a Dream Chaser spacecraft test flight was mechanical in nature and not design-related. The Dream Chaser, a seven-passenger orbital vehicle built in Louisville before being shipped to California in May for testing, performed a mostly successful flight in its first autonomous free-flight approach-and-landing test Oct. 26 at Edwards Air Force Base. But despite the vehicle’s systems properly issuing commands for the landing gear to deploy, the left gear did not deploy in time, causing Dream Chaser to skid off the runway and sustain some damage to its outer protective coating and shell. Mark Sirangelo, head of SNC Space Systems, said the landing gear used on the test flight is not the same one that will be used in the operational orbital vehicles. He added that SNC expects to fly the test vehicle again at Edwards Air Force Base this year with additional capability, although a date has not been established.
The city of Boulder reported a 6.3 percent increase in sales- and use-tax revenue from October transactions. Collections in November, representing October sales, were $8,590,192, up from $8,079,535 a year ago. Construction use-tax revenue was up 85.2 percent for October over the same month in 2012. Construction use-tax revenue was $876,749 in October 2013, up from $473,523 in October 2012. In the first 10 months of 2013, construction use-tax revenue was up 45.4 percent over the same period last year. The retail sales-tax component increased 6.52 percent in October. Retail sales-tax collections were $6,591,707 for October, compared with $6,188,194 collected for the same period a year ago. Retail sales-tax revenue remains 5.09 percent ahead of last year on a year-to-date basis at $65,625,188 for the first 10 months of the year. For the year to date, overall sales- and use-tax revenue is up 7.3 percent. The city has collected $83,049,428 for the first 10 months of the year, compared with $77,431,356 collected for the same period last year.
The city of Longmont reported an 11 percent increase year over year in sales- and use-tax revenue from transactions in October. Sales-tax collections in November, representing sales in October, were $4,405,207 up from $3,968,591 for the same period a year ago. Sales-tax collections increased by 13.7 percent over the same time period a year ago. Use-tax collections decreased by 1.4 percent. Lodgers’ tax collections for the period were up 45.1 percent, or $35,903 for the month, compared with $24,7433 for the same month a year ago.
Broomfield-based MWH Global’s United Kingdom construction arm, MWH Treatment, received a $77.9 million contract with Birmingham BioPower Ltd. to design, build and maintain a 10.3-megawatt biomass gasification facility in the Tyseley district of the British city of Birmingham. Annually, according to MWH, the plant will divert up to 67,000 tons of recycled wood from landfills, save about 107,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions and produce enough electricity to supply the equivalent of more than 17,000 homes. The project will create more than 100 construction jobs and 19 full-time jobs in the area once completed.
Boulder-based Spectralink Corp, a provider of wireless solutions for the workplace, partnered with Vertical Communications, which will be a direct reseller of Spectralink Wi-Fi and DECT products, as well as a developer of custom applications for Spectralink’s purpose-built handsets.
Boulder-based NeoMedia Technologies Inc. (OTC BB: NEOM), a global mobile barcode management company, will become exclusive provider of quick-response code services for Wendy’s restaurants’ promotional activities. Wendy’s will use NeoMedia’s NeoSphere product.
Ajubeo LLC, a provider of virtual data centers and cloud infrastructure as a service, announced its plans to partner with another Boulder-based company, Zayo Group LLC, to provide fiber infrastructure services as Ajubeo rolls out its national cloud hub expansion. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Ajubeo has plans for hubs in southern California and Florida in preparation for expansion to Asia Pacific and South American markets. The deal with Zayo, which has a presence in 300 markets in the United States, will enable Ajubeo to execute on-demand deployment of new cloud hub locations.
RGS Energy, the commercial and utility division of Louisville-based Real Goods Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: RSOL), partnered with a project financing company to co-develop seven solar projects totaling 4.5 megawatts in Vermont. Financial terms of the transaction between RGS Energy and Waterbury, Vermont-based Green Lantern Capital were unavailable. RGS Energy will design, install, monitor and maintain the solar-power systems. The company said in a press statement that it expects to begin construction by summer and complete it by November.
The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade awarded grants to five clean-tech companies. The grants, capped at $250,000, went to Sundolier Inc. and Solid Power Inc. in Boulder, Lightning Hybrids LLC in Loveland, Prieto Battery Inc. in Fort Collins and Steelhead Composites LLC in Golden. This is the first round of grants authorized by House Bill 13-1001, the Advanced Industries Acceleration Act, which became law in May.
The Longmont Museum received a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a federal agency which supports advances in knowledge and access to the nation’s cultural heritage. The matching grant requires the museum to raise a total of $600,000, which will be matched by $200,000 from NEH, to complete the capital campaign to expand the Longmont Museum The recent donation from the Lyle H. Cone estate and other gifts received in 2013 contribute toward the grant match. The Museum has raised $4.3 million of the $4.45 million needed to complete the project.
MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
Seagate Technology plc, a manufacturer of computer hard drives and the largest private-sector employer in Longmont, is acquiring British company Xyratex Ltd. for $374 million in an all-cash transaction. Cupertino, California-based Seagate (Nasdaq: STX) will acquire all outstanding shares of Xyratex Ltd. (Nasdaq: XRTX), based in Havant, Hampshire, United Kingdom, in a transaction valued at $13.25 per share plus approximately $80 million in cash on Xyratex’s balance sheet as of Aug. 31. The stock purchase represents a premium of about 27 percent per share over Xyratex’s stock price at the close of trading on Friday, Dec. 20. Seagate will operate Xyratex as a stand-alone entity.
Kevin and Jenny Natapow have sold Momentum, a fair-trade retail shop on Pearl Street in Boulder, to Lois and Paul Culler of Fairfax, Virginia for an undisclosed amount. The Natapows opened Momentum at 1625 Pearl St. in June 2007. The fair-trade business model ensures producers of products receive a living wage, provides healthy and safe working conditions, and engages in environmentally sustainable practices. The Cullers also own six Fair Trade Winds stores across the country; each is family operated and committed to fair trade. The stores are members of Green America and the Fair Trade Federation.
Boulder Community Hospital in partnership with New Vision has launched a behavioral health service at its Foothills campus in east Boulder to treat adults suffering from acute withdrawal due to alcohol and/or substance abuse. Hospital physicians will admit patients to Foothills for an anticipated three-day hospitalization. After inpatient stabilization, patients will be referred to appropriate community-based treatment for their alcohol/drug issues. New Vision provides its services to more than 40 hospitals in 18 states. Dr. Jonathan Sprague is the program’s medical director.
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