Mountain Ventures Town Successes: Companies, Initiatives, Funders

Structure: each town was asked to mention a few companies, initiatives, and funders from their community that are a good example of how to get things done from a mountain town. 

The towns: Telluride, Mammoth, Teton Range, Truckee, South Lake Tahoe, Ketchum, Vail, Aspen, Breckenridge, Gunnison Crested Butte, Durango, Big Sky/Bozeman, Bend, and Whistler. 

Telluride, CO

Companies

Felt App 

TelSki

Western Rise

Telluride Brewing Co

Voltaire

stalkit

Wagner Custom Skis

Initiatives

Mountainfilm

Pinhead Institute

Telluride TV

Proximity Space Coworking

Telluride Foundation

Entrepreneurs Meetup

Mentor network

Funders

Telluride Venture Fund

Telluride Angels

Foundations

Mammoth, CA

Companies

Mt Whitney Coffee

Mountain Lab

Mammoth Brewing

Ridge Merino

June Lake Brewing

Initiatives

Broadband

Recreational Technology (RecTech)

Funders

Mammoth Mountain

Town/Public Financing

Teton Range, WY

Companies

Croakies

STIO

Yellowberry

Melvin Brewing

TMBR

Square One

Initiatives

Pitch Day

Trustee Program

Partnerships: 

Central Wyoming College > Startup intensive

Coworking space

Chance meetings

Angel mentor group

Funders

Angels

Community foundation

Corporate sponsors

Individual trustees

USDA > rural business development grants

Truckee, CA

Companies

Big Truck

Coalition snow

Fifty fifty brewing

Clear capital

Trail Runner

New Leaders

Initiatives

Housing Study

Maker space

Arts and culture

Alpenglow Mountain Festival

Bid 2% tax

Tahoe Silicon Mountain

Funders

Town of Truckee

Community Foundation

Truckee Tomorrow

SBC RCF

South Lake Tahoe, CA

Companies

Outdoor Gear Lab

Fatco

Zephyr Association

Eagle Project

Initiatives

SBC/SBDC

Internships

Code 4 America

Maker/Artist Alliance

Funders

Sierra Angels

Ketchum, ID

Companies

First Lite

Big Life Magazine

Sawtooth Brewery

Aur Proxima

Initiatives

Ketchum Innovation Center

SVB of Angels

Funders

Ketchum URA

USDA Grants

City of Ketchum

Vail, CO

Companies

Vail Centre

Crazy Mountain Brew

Moe's BBQ

High Country Kombucha

Liberty Ski

Initiatives

Base Camp/8150

VCBA Innovation Series

Ideas 2 Action/CU

Funders

Private Donors

Local Governments 

Community Foundations/Organizations 

Resort Partners

Aspen, CO

Companies

Aspen Brewing Co.

Forum Phi

Obermayer

Encoding.com

BLK MKT (Roam)

Initiatives

Create mentorship program

Aspen Entrepreneurs

Aspen Next Gen

Community Foundation

City of Wellbeing

Funders

Jerry Murdoch

Arjun Gupta

Candice Olson

George Stranahan

Shareet Suki

Breckenridge, CO

Companies

RMU

Breck Distillery

Broken Compass

Unity

Initiatives

Elevate + Evo3

Startup Weekend

Biz Bootcamp

Full Stack

Kids Coding

Funders

Summit Foundation

Breck

Rockies Venture Club

VCs

Gunnison Crested Butte, CO

Companies

Romp 

Cold Smoke

Montanya Brewing

Initiatives

ICE Lab:

Co. Lab

Incubator

Accelerator

Maker Lab

Test Kitchen

Funders

Individual Angels

Fed $ (EDA)

SBDC Funds

Durango, CO

Companies

Mercury/Vantiv

SKA Brewing

Zukes

GitPrime

Stone Age

Cross Fire

Rocky Mountain Chocolate

Initiatives

SCAPE

SWIC

La Plata Economic Development Association

Go Code

Entrepreneurs of the Southwest

SW Women's Leadership Conference

Wild Women's Project

Funders

Angels

Regional Economic Development

SCAPE

Animas Venture Group

Big Sky/Bozeman, MT

Companies

SIMMS

Sitka

Mystery Ranch

Right Now

Initiatives

MSU Innovation Center

Prospera Business Center

Launchpad (MSU Incubator)

Funders

Yellowstone Club

Bend, OR

Companies

HydroFlask

G5

Bend Research

Kialoa

Cairn

Gerry Lopez

Ruffwear

Metolius

Breweries

Initiatives

Founders Pad

Bend Outdoor Worx

Oregon Outdoor Alliance

KIA Cluster Groups

Bend 2030

Opportunity Knocks

EDCO

Funders

BVC

Cascade Angels

Venture Funds

Venture Out Festival

Private Business Oregon

Whistler, B.C., Canada

Companies

Zero Ceiling

Gibbons Life

Origin DesignCost Mountain Brewery

Whistler Blackcomb

Initiatives

Community Foundation of Whistler

Whistler Housing Authority

Residence Housing Task Force

Funders

WB Foundation

Empowered Startups

 

Every town has their success stories, but from one town to the next we don't always know who they are. Let's change that. This page has an initial set of success stories from mountain towns across the US, each offered by town residents in attendance at the Mountain Ventures Summit: The Future of Work on Feb 2–4, 2017.

Announcing TVA's 2017 Cohort!

We're excited to announce the eight companies that have been accepted into Telluride Venture Accelerators's 2017 program! This is the 5th year of the program, and building on the success of the past four years, we're especially excited to introduce our largest, most international, and latest stage group of companies yet.

The teams will be on-site in Telluride starting the first week of March and culminating on June 30th with a Demo Day and community showcase. Throughout the program, the teams will have access to our network of almost one hundred mentors and they will get to work directly with some well known experts in their fields to dive deep into many aspects of their business. See a high level overview of the curriculum that the teams will be experiencing here

Without further ado, please join us in welcoming the entrepreneurs joining TVA's 2017 cohort!

Thimble.io - Thimble teaches beginners a basic understanding of building electronics through a monthly kit with carefully curated and easy to follow instructions. These kits that allow you to create, learn and explore by combining hands on hardware and sometimes a little software accompanied by video tutorials. Examples of some of our first projects include a wifi-robot, LED cube, robotic arm, alarm clock, weather station, quadcopter, etc. Every month it's a new project! Oscar and David will be joining us from New York!

SnowCookie - Smart doesn’t begin to cover it. Snowcookie is a mind-altering ski system. Snap it to your gear to get realtime feedback on your technique and eye-opening measurements of your runs. If that’s not enough - Snowcookie will tell you when your muscles need a break (before your bones will), and connect you to the skiing community. Whether you’re after a performance booster, skill sharpener or fun amplifier — Snow cookie has your covered. Martin and Marcin join us from Poland.

Frank. - Frank is a web-based programmatic media buying platform to help small and medium size enterprises launch cross-channel online advertising campaigns with lower cost and faster delivery. We combine artificial intelligence technology with simple user interface to bring complex technology to mass markets. Thanks to our platform, companies can now save money and time on doing online advertising campaigns.  It only takes 5 minutes to launch the campaign and the rest (media planning & buying, campaign real-time optimization, reporting) is done by technology. Karla, Henry, Jan, and Ivar join us from Estonia.

ShedWool - ShedWool empowers companies of all sizes to schedule their staffs online, in the cloud, for free. Managers can control labor, monitor compliance, communicate with their staff through our messaging platform, and review and approve (or deny) shift swaps, time off requests, and much more from their smartphones, tablets, laptops or desktops without any of the cost previously associated with this service. Cory joins us from Chicago, IL. 

RxCBD - RxCBD creates, manufactures, and markets industrial hemp CBD-infused products for pets and their people. We sell online to all 50 states and also through retail locations and veterinarian practices. Debbie joins us from Ridgeway, CO.

Bramble Outdoors - Bramble creates essential outdoor gear that helps protect our wild places. Each of our products is rooted in an iconic American landscape, and a portion of every sale goes to protect that region. Trevor joins us from San Francisco, CA.

RightClick.io - Our vision at RightClick.io is to transform the way you look at the web designing industry. We are trying to help users utilize their time better. By saving them from the tedium of manually handling and building a website, we free up their time to spend more on what they do best. We have developed an AI-powered chatbot that is truly different than other website builders (AI or human)  you’ve worked with before. RC bot efficiently combines the conversational intelligence and social etiquette of a website designer with high levels of accuracy expected from a machine. Haseeb will be joining us from Los Angeles, CA with the rest of his team from Pakistan. 

VanJet - Most everyone has heard of the #vanlife movement now, and well, VanJet takes it to the next level! We take Mercedes Metris vans and convert them into hotel rooms on wheels. These vans serve as a customers rental car and accommodations while they travel. All Vanjets are also equipped with GPS trackers and remote unlocking functionality. The mobile apps allow for adding credit cards as well as driver information like insurance and drivers license information. Anyone can buy a Vanjet and rent it out via the platform to earn extra income. Clint will be joining us from San Francisco, CA. 

We'll be welcoming the teams in March with an open community event on March 8th in town. We will also be hosting a series of workshops and speakers throughout the program that will be open to the community! Follow our Facebook page to keep track of TVA events and opportunities to get involved! 

Here's what we're up to this week: Startup Weekend Telluride

This weekend, we’re hosting Startup Weekend Telluride, and we couldn't be more excited.

Startup Weekend is a 3-day meals-included exercise of forming a business + growth plan.

 It doesn't matter your background, if you're a student, if you're a FT500 exec, or if you have an idea or not. The Startup Weekend model has proven itself literally thousands of times around the world as one of the most powerful tools for building entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Each person contributes their unique background to each team, working together to finalize their idea and plan.

We've got 5 folks from the Techstars team driving out from Boulder, two co-founders of Startup Weekend (Clint and Marc), 10 students from Ft. Lewis, 5 students from Durango plus a bunch of local folks like Basit, Tristan, Jim, Alley, Norbert, Tom, Thea, Aaron Silverman, Len, Jack, Mark Rikkers, Ryan, Jack, Dennis, etc.

Entrepreneurship, like any sport, requires practice and training...

Grab someone you'd enjoy working on a weekend project with and come roll up your sleeves and let's build something together! 

Click here for more info and to get tickets.

Mentor Spotlight: Q+A with Len Metheny

Len Metheny is a key part of Telluride's mentor network. Get to know the man behind the name in this mentor interview. 

How did you come to Telluride?
What started out as a one month stay in the summer 6 years ago turned into an entire summer, which turned into a year.  

Six years later our kids are in school and and we are quite settled and happy with mountain-town life.


Describe your work background.
I left my corporate job when I was 24 to start my entrepreneurial journey.  

My first company was creating multi-media marketing presentations for college admissions offices that they would put on CD-ROM and mail to thousands of prospective students.  

That business turned into an Internet-based admissions and enrollment service in the mid 90’s called ApplyYourself.  

We raised venture capital, grew the business to serve over 700 college admission offices and I sold that business to a subsidiary of the Daily Mail in London in 2007.  

I have been involved with Internet technology start-up businesses ever since either as a founder, investor, advisor or for-hire exec.


Which industries are your strengths?
I can add most value to Internet tech businesses because of my 15+ years developing and running my own SaaS business. 

At the same time, one thing I’ve learned mentoring the many companies that have come through TVA is that there are many common threads to starting, developing and growing a business no matter the industry.    


What attracted you to participate with TVA?
I love the energy and stimulation that comes from working with young, energetic entrepreneurs.  

I have had several wonderful mentors throughout my career and now that I’m in a position to provide that kind of help, it’s important to share my lessons and experience to pay it forward.


How long have you participated with TVA?
I have been involved with TVA since its inception, seeing it get better and better each and every year.


Tell me about a highlight of your experience with TVA.
I have many highlights but to sum it up, they are almost all centered around seeing entrepreneurs get their first checks from investors.  

There is just something about those first checks that becomes so validating, and creates such hope and opportunity for the future.


What are you excited about for the coming year?
There have been some major changes going into this year with Thea Chase taking over regional activity and Marc Nager heading up the Accelerator.  

Anytime people take on new roles, there is so much opportunity.  Fresh look, outside ideas and new networks.  

I think the region as a whole is going to benefit greatly from these new opportunities.


What do you see for TVA in the next five years?
There is no shortage of accelerator programs these days, but what I really like about TVA is the unique positioning that it has.  

As millennials continue to learn that places like Telluride are viable alternatives to the traditional urban startup hubs, I think the brand will just get stronger and continue to attract even more top-notch companies.  


What are your personal goals in your involvement with TVA?
Simply to help facilitate the continued success of the program. 


What should new TVA teams ask you for help with?
It’s one thing to conceive a product idea; it is an entirely different thing to grow a company.  

That’s where I try to add value for startups.  

Whether it’s determining the market fit, how to capitalize a company, or how to find and hire the best talent, I (and all the mentors) am here to help entrepreneurs get started down a successful path to grow their companies.


People might be wary to bring their business to a small town like Telluride. What would you say to them?
If you are the kind of person that gets energy from the outdoors, then there is no better place to fuel your entrepreneurial spirit.  

There is a strong entrepreneurial element to this community with access to incredibly experienced and connected people. 


How does Telluride compare with other startup scenes you have experienced or been a part of?
Obviously we are smaller than those that I have been part of in the past (London, Washington DC, Bay Area) but not that is not necessarily a bad thing. 

In those larger urban environments, startups relied on other startups for help.  Here, you have an entire community behind you as an entrepreneur.  

The level and breadth of experience that the people have of Telluride is amazing.  This is not your normal mountain town, for sure.  

 

The Southwest Innovation Corridor

The Southwest Innovation Corridor (SWIC), A Telluride Foundation initiative, is ramping up to catalyze momentum in rural southwest Colorado to build the innovation-based economy.  Funded through an i6 challenge grant from the Economic Development Commission, an Advanced Industries infrastructure grant from the State of Colorado and a family foundation, SWIC primarily works in the 8 county area from Delta to Cortez, the Utah border to Ouray.  Leveraging the success of the Telluride Venture Accelerator, SWIC is building on the vast mentor network and active investor community in order to jump start the eco-systems in the larger region to support the launch and growth of innovation-based companies.  SWIC seeks to inspire ideas, encourage networking and collaboration and support creation and growth of companies. 

Early projects include teasing out ideas by delivering entrepreneurship curriculum to senior engineering students at Ft. Lewis College, encouraging networking through the start of the Entrepreneurs of the Southwest meetup group and Startup Weekend Telluride in December, support for regional co-working facilities and development of the SWIC Innovation Internship program launching in spring 2018.  For more info on SWIC -- program description or contact Thea Chase, Director thea@tellurideva.com