Friday December 12, 2014 0 comments
By Steve Porter
FORT COLLINS - Three Colorado State University Venture Accelerator companies received their first funding Thursday under the program that aims to give student-led startups a chance to develop viable businesses.
Eight companies taking part in the program this year at CSU pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges at the CSU Powerhouse campus in downtown Fort Collins.
Quadshox, a company that intends to revolutionize manual wheelchair suspension, took the top prize of $2,000 following the pitch presentations.
Second place and $1,000 went to Change Composites, a company that plans to produce the safest, most environmentally friendly bicycle helmet on the market.
Third place winner of $500 was Purenfusion, a health food company committed to bring basic, real nutrition back into people's diets through its Dotz organic cube supplements.
All three companies will also receive $2,500 in legal assistance from the Denver firm Lewis Roca Rothgerber.
The Venture Accelerator program is part of the CSU Institute for Entrepreneurship in the College of Business and is now in its third year.
Christine Chin, Institute interim director, said the program has so far served 63 students in eight colleges across the CSU campus.
During that time, $886,000 has been awarded in prize money, seed funding, investment and debt financing.
Chin said of the 36 companies that have gone through the program, 33 are still moving forward.
Other companies presenting Thursday were:
- BAUS Tech, a drone service provider
- Bill Buddy, a company offering a multi-tenant bill payment system
- Axios Impact Investments, a for-profit social enterprise connecting impact investors to developing world technologies
- Desta Tours LLC, a social enterprise startup striving to connect adventure tourists with cultural experiences
- Game Centrics, a company seeking to align company and employee goals through games
Matt Hoeven, a Fort Collins businessman and panel judge, said picking the three top companies was not easy because all were worthy.
"It was exciting and very surprising and I expect to see some very viable businesses coming out of this," he said.
All eight companies will continue to receive mentoring, coaching and guidance through the school year, culminating in the $20,000 CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Collegiate Challenge set for May during the second annual Fort Collins Startup Week.
Winners of that competition will be eligible to take part in the $250,000 Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge, which will be held May 26-30 and is open to applicants from across the nation.