2013 was year of big changes and advances in Colorado's innovation landscape

By: Steve Friday December 27, 2013 Tags: BizHub, Built in Colorado, COIN Summit, CTA APEX Challenge, Denver Startup Week, Galvanize, Innovation Pavilion, Rach.io, Startup Phenomenon, Steve Porter

As 2013 draws to a close, I thought I'd take a moment to reflect on the advances in technology, innovation and entrepreneurship seen in Colorado this year.

Colorado's growing reputation as an innovation hub was enhanced through a number of events and milestones in 2013, all covered by InnovatioNews.

While there was lots going on in the first part of the year - including passage by the Legislature of the Advanced Industries Accelerator Act aimed at helping the state's advanced industries better compete on the world stage -- the action heated up in the second half of 2013 starting with Gov. John Hickenlooper proclaiming Aug. 26-30 "Innovation Week."

During the week, the second two-day Colorado Innovation Network (COIN) Summit was held in Denver, with hundreds of attendees sharing their innovation and entrepreneurship experiences.

The summit included funding pitches by Colorado startup companies, with Denver-based Rach.io, developer of a mobile app for landscape maintenance, taking the top prize of $50,000.

Rach.io continued its winning streak in September when it won the first place prize of $15,000 during Colorado Technology Association's APEX Challenge.

Also in September, Denver Startup Week marked its second year with more than 125 events and 5,000 people registered - more than doubling that of the inaugural year in 2012.

September also saw the re-launch of Built in Denver to Built in Colorado to reflect a statewide emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship.

Three of Colorado's high-profile startup incubators marked some milestones in 2013, with Rocky Mountain Innosphere in Fort Collins opening an office at CREED in Golden to expand its cleantech programs beyond Northern Colorado.

Denver-based Galvanize marked its first-year anniversary in 2013, while Centennial-based Innovation Pavilion will mark its second anniversary with a party on Jan. 9.

The University of Northern Colorado launched BizHub in October to help commercialize UNC research and help startups get off the launch pad.

In November, a new event called Startup Phenomenon was held in Boulder aimed at helping Colorado's rapidly growing startup community better understand what it takes to succeed.

And it was a year that saw increasing opportunities for startups to pitch their ideas to investors.

Monfort College at UNC announced its fifth annual Entrepreneurial Challenge will be held again in 2014 with $50,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs.

In September, Blue Ocean Enterprises, a division of Fort Collins-based OtterBox, announced a nationwide pitch competition that will have $250,000 in cash and prizes at stake. CSU is collaborating with Blue Ocean to create the first-ever event.

And Colorado State University this month announced its new Venture Accelerator class for 2014, with the 13 student-based companies vying for $20,000 and a chance to compete in May 2014 during the new Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge.

As 2013 ends, InnovatioNews begins its third year of covering innovation, technology and entrepreneurship in Colorado.

InnovatioNews is a unique startup company covering our fellow startups, and we hope you will spread the word about what we do: Publicize the amazing things Colorado's startup businesses and its established innovators are doing to develop cool new products and services, create great jobs and futures for our residents and make our state a shining example of innovation in America and the world.

We sincerely thank our readers, supporters and sponsors and wish you all success in 2014, and we look forward to continuing and expanding our coverage of Colorado innovation in the new year.

About the Author: Steve