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New Springs center a catalyst for startups

The opening of the Catalyst Center in Colorado Springs last month raised some eyebrows in the startup community across the state, although by most measures Boulder still remains the envy of most of the nation in this regard. The Springs campus, a string of three buildings near downtown, is anchored by the remodeled Sante Fe […]

State builds on image as high-tech hub

The days when Colorado was considered solely an energy economy are long gone. Now, the state is nationally known as a high-tech hub, with Boulder, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and the Denver metro area all hosting high-tech industry clusters. The top high-tech industries in the state are aerospace, aviation, beverage production, bioscience, broadcasting and telecommunications, […]

Telecom firms thrive in a Rocky Mountain high

Level 3 Communications started out small, spinning off from an Omaha, Neb.-based construction company in 1998. Back then, it was installing fiber optics for other telecommunication companies. Today, it is an $8 billion global telecom company, serving 60 countries worldwide. It has 10 million fiber miles and 50,000 global customers — and is just one […]

Electronics firm: EE Times to stay straight as an Arrow

When a Fortune 150 company has been around for more than 80 years, you can bet it has seen its share of major product changes, along with raising a few eyebrows along the way. So it appeared to be last month with Arrow Electronics Inc., when it announced the signing of an agreement to acquire […]

Inside job

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Ever since the Internet blossomed in the 1990s, cybersecurity was built on the idea that computers could be protected by a digital quarantine. Now, as hackers routinely overwhelm such defenses, experts say cybersecurity is beyond due an overhaul. Their message: Neutralize attackers once they’re inside networks rather than fixating on […]

To combat fraud, Visa wants to track your smartphone

NEW YORK (AP) — Those days of calling your bank to let them know that, yes, you really are in Thailand, and yes, you really did use your credit card to buy $200 in sarongs, may be coming to an end. The payment processing company Visa will roll out a new feature this spring that […]

To find gas leaks, CSU team Googles ’em

FORT COLLINS – For Colorado State University biology professor Joe von Fischer, work is a gas. Methane gas, to be exact. For the third year, Fischer and his CSU team are studying data fed to them from devices they developed through grants from the Environmental Defense Fund to measure how much methane is leaking from […]

Ahead of the White House

Since President Obama outlined a plan in November to spur broadband competition while safeguarding “net neutrality” – helping ensure that no one company can act as a gatekeeper to digital content and the speed at which it’s delivered – many communities across the country have begun considering whether and how to meet the challenge. In […]

Colorado’s fledgling digital health industry luring new cash

Colorado’s more than 100 digital-health companies ranked sixth nationwide for attracting venture capital in 2014, and projections indicate the trend will continue as investors become more familiar with what these companies can do. Venture funding for digital health-care companies is expected to double in the United States over the next three years, luring investors with […]

Holding pattern

The drone industry in Colorado is temporarily banned from American skies as it awaits clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration to take to the skies. The economic impact to the state could reach $232 million within a couple of years once the FAA submits regulations and they are approved, according to a report released by […]

Cellular legacies

As the global market around umbilical cord blood stem cell treatments reaches well into the billions of dollars annually, the University of Colorado has taken a pioneering step of sorts by expanding its own cord blood banking services into the private realm. ClinImmune Labs, a company owned by CU and housed at the school’s Anschutz […]

Manufacturing Renaissance

LONGMONT – Until two years ago, Front Range Community College had no machinist shops to teach students the skills needed to work in cutting-edge high tech factories. Another casualty of America’s decline in manufacturing, the school’s last machine shop in Fort Collins closed in 2008 due to a lack of jobs – and a lack […]

Colorado’s tech industry drives state’s economy

It would be difficult to overstate the importance of the technology sector to the Colorado economy. From aerospace companies in Jefferson County to Internet firms along the Boulder Flatirons, from clean-tech companies in Northern Colorado to software developers in LoDo, technology-based companies have found a welcome home in the Centennial State. All told, tech accounts […]

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Technology News

  • Lindemann steps down as CEO at JustRight Surgical

    LOUISVILLE — JustRight Surgical LLC, a pediatric medical-device company in Louisville, has hired Robert Kine to replace Russ Lindemann as chief executive. Lindemann, a company cofounder, is retiring but will remain on the company’s board of directors. Kline has more than 25 years of experience in the health-care and life-science industries. Most recently, he was president and CEO of ViroCyt Inc., a biotech tools company that was acquired by Sartorius AG in July 2016. Previously, Kline was the founder, president and CEO of Medivance Inc., which developed  therapeutic hypothermia treatment for critically ill patients. Medivance was acquired by CR Bard in 2011 for $260 million, and Kline was named Entrepreneur of the Year for the Mountain/Desert Region by Ernst and Young. “JustRight Surgical is gaining momentum in the marketplace and due to personal considerations, I felt it was an ideal time to reduce my involvement with the company to my board responsibilities,” Lindemann said in a prepared statement. JustRight’s surgical instruments enable less-invasive surgical techniques in small patients, ultimately reducing scarring, pain and hospital stays. All of JustRight’s products are designed and manufactured in the United States.  

  • Test for remote air-traffic control system set to begin at NoCo airport

    LOVELAND — The Federal Aviation Administration has selected Canada-based Searidge Technologies to install, test and certify a remote air-traffic control system at the Northern Colorado Regional Airport in Loveland. This is the first step toward implementing a test site for next generation air-traffic control technology designed to improve efficiency and safety. The project will integrate video and radar to provide a view of the airport surface and Class D airspace to air-traffic controllers working in a remote facility. Class D airspace ranges from the ground to an altitude of 2,500 feet with a radius of about 4.5 miles. The FAA, Northern Colorado Regional Airport and the Colorado Division of Aeronautics are collaborating on the project. Jason Licon, director of the Northern Colorado Regional Airport, said for this test, cameras and sensors will be located throughout the airport’s grounds and feed into a facility set up in the airport’s terminal. The airport currently does not have a control tower. Moving forward, a permanent “remote tower” will be less expensive to build, operate and staff than a traditional air-traffic control tower, according to a statement issued by the Colorado Department of Transportation. The project is being funded with $8.8 million from the Colorado Division of Aeronautics and approved by the Colorado Aeronautical Board. The Colorado Division of Aeronautics is supported solely by aviation fuel sales tax and excise taxes. Searidge Technologies, headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, specializes in airport surface management using technology. It was the first company to have an operational video surveillance system in an air-traffic control tower, and now has video-based airport surface-management technology implemented at 30 airports located in 16 countries. The Northern Colorado Regional Airport was chosen as the test facility for this project based on several factors including the availability of commercial air service, traffic volume and the wide mix of aircraft types operating at the airport. Timeline for the project: Site survey: summer 2017. Install equipment: fall/winter 2017. Site acceptance test: winter 2017. Passive testing: spring/summer 2018. Active testing: fall 2018 – spring 2019. Initial operating capability: fall/winter 2019.  

  • Internet of Things brings opportunity, significant security challenges

    LONGMONT — The Internet of Things is a fact of the 21st century, as more and more devices and sensors become connected to the cloud to collect data for people to analyze and learn from. But one of the greatest concerns a device such as a wearable presents is who actually has access to the data. It’s not just the owner of the device. In fact, for each wearable, about 10 to 12 cloud companies are involved in the storage and transfer of data, panelists shared at a Longmont Startup Week event on cyber security. Protecting that data is a major concern to Marty Skolnick, a panelist and account manager at Siemens Industry Inc., which is building the connected home development Sterling Ranch. “To me, it’s all about the ownership of the data,” he said. “That’s where the greatest risk is. We need a solution. Whether it’s privatizing and commoditizing that information or forming some secure alliances so your information is not freely sold from corporation to corporation. If IoT can solve that, then we’re good. After all, we’re going to have some 30 billion connected devices in the next three years.” An issue with wearables can be their ease of being hacked, said Don Bailey, a researcher and founder of Lab Mouse Security. Most mobile-phone softwares, such as Apple’s iOS, are extremely hack-resistant. But a cheap wearable can be an easy backdoor to getting into a phone and accessing data, calls, texts and any other sort of communication or personal information stored on it. The way to combat this is to have some sort of best practices amongst the industry. That likely won’t come from the federal government, which has challenges enforcing regulations when it comes to data and has difficulty keeping up with the speed of IoT’s real-world problems. Where it could come from is an alliance of industry experts across IoT, cloud services and wireless communication that can come up with unified best practices. The problem now, Don Bailey said, is that most experts are operating in silos to decide best practices and not working together. “What we need for IoT is the government to say to everyone in IoT that they need to play together or not play at all,” he said. Although the security challenges that face IoT can be difficult, IoT pioneer and futurist Matt Bailey urged startups working in the field not to let the roadblocks deter them. “If you’re involved in IoT, stick with it,” he said. “You’re doing IoT because you have a passion to solve a particular problem. Stick with it, keep learning, talking and sharing to bring your proposition forward.”  

  • Dallas-based Triumph Bancorp continues acquisition run in Colorado

    BRIGHTON — Triumph Bancorp Inc. (Nasdaq: TBK) announced Thursday that it plans to acquire Valley Bancorp Inc., parent of Valley Bank & Trust, headquartered in Brighton, making it the Dallas-based bank’s third acquisition in Colorado within the last 16 months. Last month, Triumph Bancorp entered into an agreement to acquire nine branches from Independent Bank Group Inc., the McKinney, Texas-based holding company for Independent Bank. The nine branches are in Evans, Firestone, Johnstown, Longmont, Milliken, Akron, Otis, Sterling and Yuma. In March 2016, Triumph Bancorp Inc. said it was acquiring ColoEast Bankshares Inc., parent company of Lamar-based Colorado East Bank & Trust in a deal worth $70 million in cash that included Colorado East Bank & Trust’s 18 branches, including operations in Dacono, LaSalle, Mead and Severance. Financial terms of the Valley Bancorp deal were not disclosed. Valley Bancorp had $314 million in total assets as of June 30. Its community banking subsidiary, Valley Bank & Trust, is an independent bank owned by the O’Dell family, with branches in Brighton, Dacono, Westminster, Denver, Hudson, and Strasburg. Valley Bank & Trust will be merged into TBK Bank, SSB, and operate under the TBK Bank brand. “When we met with Triumph, I knew right away that this was the perfect fit,” James J. O’Dell, chairman of Valley Bancorp, said in a prepared statement. “Our cultures of values, service and philanthropy are in line with each other. I am excited about the possibilities that lie ahead.” The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by shareholders. The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2017.

  • NCRA

    The Northern Colorado Regional Airport in Loveland is the site for the Colorado Remote Tower System Project. Courtesy CDOT/Shahn Sederberg.

  • Vail Resorts seeks to eliminate environmental impact

    BROOMFIELD — Vail Resorts Inc. (NYSE: MTN) has announced an ambitious plan to reduce the environmental impact of its operations to zero by 2030. The Denver Post reports that Vail plans to “eliminate emissions, deliver zero waste to landfills and offset its overall impact to forests and habitat in the next 13 years.” Announcement of the initiative — dubbed “Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint” — came at a Vail Resorts employee meeting July 25.

  • United to begin nonstop service between Denver, London

    United Airlines will launch nonstop service between Denver and London in March. The Denver Post reports that United will launch the seasonal service using its Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, heightening competition for the Denver/London route. British Airways has offered nonstop service since 1998, using London Heathrow airport. Norwegian Airlines announced in April that it would launch service between Denver and London Gatwick. Norwegian Airlines earlier this month announced that it would begin nonstop service between Denver and Paris. United’s seasonal London service will run daily from March 24 to Oct. 26, 2018.

  • Centennial manufacturer to lay off 100 workers

    CENTENNIAL — A Centennial manufacturer is laying off 100 workers after the company’s acquisition by WestRock Co., an Atlanta-based company. BusinessDen reports that Multi Packaging Solutions, which manufactures credit, debit and identification cards, announced the cuts in a WARN notice filed with the state July 25. The company, which operates 19 other manufacturing facilities in the United States and 34 internationally, said the Centennial facility “will permanently cease operations except for a very small part of the business.”  

  • VolkBell brand dissolved, stakes acquired by separate firms

    LONGMONT and FORT COLLINS — The two insurance-benefits companies that operated under the VolkBell brand in Northern Colorado have been acquired — in whole or in part — by separate insurance-benefits companies. Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed. Salt Lake City-based GBS Benefits Inc., a full-service employee-benefits firm and a member of the Leavitt Group, has taken a 65 percent equity stake in Volk & Associates, an insurance and human resources consulting firm based in Longmont, and AssuredPartners Inc., in Lake Mary, Fla., acquired Front Range Insurance Group LLC in Fort Collins, the companies announced separately on Tuesday. Volk and Associates, founded by Clair Volk 30 years ago, had been part of a partnership with John Bell and Steve Smith of Front Range Insurance Group LLC that operated under the VolkBell brand for 12 years prior to the acquisitions. Volk still maintains a minority ownership stake in Volk & Associates that will continue to operate in Longmont with its 16 employees as Volk GBS. “We are excited to be joining the GBS Benefits Inc. and Leavitt Group team,” Volk said in a prepared statement. The Leavitt Group is the 10th-largest privately held insurance brokerage in the nation. It offers insurance-market access, specialty products and a wide-range of insurance programs, including  property and casualty insurance, risk management and employee-benefits solutions. “Several months ago, we began looking for a partner that could help us better serve our clients,” Volk said. “GBS and Leavitt will not only provide additional expertise, but also assist with more resources to control health-care spend, improve employee communications and simplify the overall management of our clients’ benefit programs.” Bell said in a phone interview Wednesday that his group initially considered affiliating with the Leavitt Group as well. “After we got into it, going with Leavitt was a good fit for Clair, and going with AsssuredPartners was a better fit for us,” Bell said. AssuredPartners provides business and commercial insurance, employee-benefits insurance and personal-insurance brokerage services. Front Range Insurance Group and its 28-member staff in Fort Collins will operate under the name Front Range Insurance Group going forward and will remain under the leadership of principals Bell, Smith, Sue Roberts and David Wooldridge. Bell said after AssuredPartners acquired FRIG, he and other principals acquired an undisclosed equity stake in AssuredPartners. “This is an exciting opportunity to join a dynamic regional and national organization that reflects the same values that made us successful,” Bell said in a prepared statement. “Our clients will continue to work with the consultants and service teams they know and trust. “AssuredPartners allows us to further enhance our client focus and services on a local basis while at the same time incorporating our operations into a national platform. Our clients will benefit from the increased support, resources, markets and tools now available to us.” AssuredPartners Inc. acquires and invests in insurance-brokerage businesses across the United States and in London. From its founding in March 2011, AssuredPartners has grown to more than $870 million in annualized revenue […]

  • Entrepreneurs in Longmont bullish on city as state’s next startup hub

    LONGMONT — Boulder, Denver and Fort Collins are usually the names mentioned when out-of-state entrepreneurs talk about the places in Colorado that impress them. But there’s another Front Range city whose entrepreneurs think it has a role to play as the Centennial State’s next great tech and startup hub. Longmont is widely seen as having the utility infrastructure, talent pool, quality of life and — perhaps most importantly — cheaper cost of living to lure up-and-coming companies, and the Longmont community is using its Startup Week as a springboard to gain some recognition. “There’s something special budding in Longmont, and I wanted to experience it,” said Scott Resnick, a keynote speaker and founding member of StartingBlock Madison, who came from Wisconsin to see Longmont’s startup ecosystem. Resnick said he realized Longmont was more than a town with startups when he attended a health-tech panel and a smart cities panel that could have been held in Boston, Silicon Valley or New York without missing a beat. “It blew me away,” he said. “For a community this size, there’s something special in the ingredients it has.” Indeed, Longmont does have elements that set it apart from other cities in the region. In 2014, the city started project NextLight, making it Colorado’s first gigabit city with ultra-high speed Internet available to every home and business. In 2017, PC magazine named Longmont the city with the fastest Internet service in the country — outperforming Kansas City, Mo., and Austin. Other benefits are its low-cost utilities and access to talent. Situated between University of Colorado and Colorado State University (and a short drive from the University of Northern Colorado), there’s plenty to draw from when it comes to hiring talent. The St. Vrain Valley School District was named one of the Top 100 future-ready schools in the country, under the Obama administration’s Office of Educational Technology in the Department of Education. Longmont also has the second-highest number of patents per capita in Colorado. “There are so many pieces that come together to start and grow a business,” said Janine Ledingham, director of local business and startup community development at the Longmont Economic Development Partnership. There are many that have taken advantage of what Longmont has to offer for entrepreneurs. Katie Hedrick, CEO of Colorado Tech Shop, a company that can provide the design, prototyping, engineering and manufacturing of products for other small businesses, said the city’s small size and ability to connect with other local companies is a big draw for her. While the city’s small size is a benefit, many in Longmont wouldn’t mind seeing it grow. The city is already seeing attention from outside companies. Ron Thomas, founder and executive director of the maker space TinkerMill, knows of four member companies that moved to Longmont because of the access to the maker space and community it has. “I don’t see this being a secret for long,” Resnick said. To be sure, there can be risks of growth, particularly if it leads to higher […]