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Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Southwest Colorado

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Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Southwest Colorado

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Thea Chase, Director of the Telluride Venture Accelerator, discussed the work of accelerator to cultivate innovation, entrepreneurship, regional connectivity, and commercialization of research. This presentation occurred during the session "Regional Innovation Strategies" at Create, Challenge, Change: Economic Development Conference for the Denver Region in August 2016.

Thea Chase, Director of the Telluride Venture Accelerator, discussed the work of accelerator to cultivate innovation, entrepreneurship, regional connectivity, and commercialization of research. This presentation occurred during the session "Regional Innovation Strategies" at Create, Challenge, Change: Economic Development Conference for the Denver Region in August 2016.

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Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Southwest Colorado

  1. 1. Fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in southwest Colorado
  2. 2. The mission of the Southwest Innovation Corridor (SWIC) is to bring together loosely connected efforts in entrepreneurism and commercialization to create a purposeful strategy for moving ideas from consideration and development to fundable companies, creating jobs and sustained economic activity in a geographically disbursed rural area.
  3. 3. The Area • 8 counties • 10, 418 sq. miles • 164k population • Low per capita income • Out migration due to decline in resource extraction
  4. 4. Entrepreneurial and Innovation Eco-system Assets Accelerators Co-working Government Community Foundation
  5. 5. Fort Lewis College (FLC) – located in Durango, FLC is a public, liberal arts college serving 3,789 students. FLC provides a tuition-free education for qualified Native Americans and awards approximately 16% of baccalaureate degrees earned by Native American students in the nation. In 2008, FLC was designated as one of six Native American- serving, non-tribal colleges by the U.S. Department of Education. Concentration of native American peoples – La Plata county – 6/9%; Montezuma county -12.6% of population Southern Ute Indian reservation – 1059 square miles
  6. 6. What we will leverage • Mentor group – TVA, SCAPE • Investor community – TVF, Telluride Angels • Proven delivery system – Accelerators and Govt prgs • Partnerships • Ft Lewis College momentum – 4 new hires in Engineering; FLC’s new $34 million engineering and computer science center, including a robotics lab, as well as its strong faculty expertise in engineering, computer science, and business 6
  7. 7. Model Specifics – Program Identify and Cultivate Seeds of Innovation: • Regional meet-ups such as Startup Weekend and Pelotons. • Fort Lewis College internships and innovation competitions for students and faculty. • Regional industry cluster roundtables and mashups. • Proof of Concept fund supports prototyping, intellectual property protection, and market research. Pre-acceleration bootcamp. • Innovation Think Tank explores technologies and potential commercialization path.
  8. 8. 8 Entrepreneurship: • Educational programs, workshops and consultation provided by Regions 9 & 10 SBDCs. • TVA and SCAPE – accelerator programs providing curriculum, mentorship and investment. • NextLaw labs – incubator for early stage bringing legal-based technologies to market. • Regional Mentor Network web-based platform to connect and engage regional mentors. Model Specifics – Program
  9. 9. 9 Regional Connectivity: • SWIC.me; Telluride.me – web-based platforms to connect entrepreneurs and businesses to resources and events, enabling collaboration and information sharing. • Regional mentor cultivation, networking events, education, database, and programs. • Regional investor cultivation, networking events, education and programs. • Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Playbook for resort communities. • Workshop on best practices for creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem in resort communities. Model Specifics – Program
  10. 10. Model Specifics - Program Commercialization of Research: • Telluride Venture Fund - providing investment funding for early stage companies. • SWIC proof of concept fund – Starting with Fort Lewis College and connectors for pilot studies; in year three will expand to regional proof of concept center. • Investor events – competitions, Demo Days, and introductions. • Soft Landing Program to facilitate the location of innovation companies in the region.
  11. 11. Case Study – TravelRecon TVA 2015 Snapshot • Tech travel company focusing on creating jobs for vets • Raised $680k in first round, is now $300k committed in $600k bridge, is looking at Series A in 2017 • HQ Telluride, operations in Montrose • 12-15 FTE 75% in Colorado Opportunities • Cost of Living – Montrose is affordable • Warrior Resource Center • Local City and Economic Development organization benefits – fiber, signage, help with hiring Challenges • VC stigma • Attracting tech and high end executive talent
  12. 12. Case Study – Element Pet Nutrition TVA 2016 Snapshot • Pet food and treat manufacturer • Started in 2015, $100k 1st year, joined TVA to expand nationally • HQ Ridgway, CO • 3 FTE expanding to 5 FTE and additional partner by year end • Currently raising $350k round Opportunities • Close to sourcing • Close to initial market to prove demand • Established commercial kitchen in region, could expand within area • Access to quality kitchen help Challenges • Shipping to customers outside area • Attracting high end executive talent
  13. 13. Case Study – Impyrium SCAPE 2015 Snapshot • Controllers for industrial drones – a true six degree of freedom controller that leverages the tech that Impyrium has proven in the industrial market • Over $250,000 in sales since formed in September of 2015 • 3 full time employees, one contractor, 2 interns • 2 patents pending Opportunities • Ready to Scale – complete buildout of facilities • SCRUM model in place • Supplier relationships established Challenges • Need global outreach • Attracting talented engineers
  14. 14. Impact Capital invested in TVA companies • ~ $13m for 22 companies in seed capital in just over 4 years • 2 companies with revenues in excess of $1m in 2015 • 3 companies have raised in excess of $1m • Highest is $2.4m • 2 companies completed Series A • 2 companies embarking on Series A in 2016 • Average money raised /company of active TVA graduate companies: $584,000 Jobs created • ~ 82 FT, 11 PT • ~ 79% in Colorado • ~ 43% in west slope region
  15. 15. Impact Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs • Public and Private Sector Partnership ~Non Profit SCAPE administers program and local Angel Investors provide seed funding • Companies recognized nationally • 2 companies recruited to move to Silicon Valley chose to stay in Southwest Colorado Impact in Region 9 of Colorado • ~ 15 companies launched • ~ Over $3,000,000 capital raised • ~ 40 local jobs created • ~ 7 interns • ~ Leveraging curriculum at Fort Lewis College
  16. 16. What we are excited about • Integrating entrepreneurship into Engineering school at FLC. • Innovation competition and internships • University innovators bootcamp • Proof of Concept activity • Working with Ute mountain tribe – significant asset base and successful business operations • Industry mash-ups • Technology think-tanks 16
  17. 17. Measuring Success Seeds of Innovation • Source and quantity of ideas Entrepreneurship • #s of participants and demographics • Effectiveness of programs Regional Connectivity • Digital platforms dashboard • Mentors • Collaboration Commercialization • Company performance - $$s, jobs, etc.
  18. 18. 18 Economic Impact Short-term (during grant period) Long-term (after grant period) Justification POC participants 60 25/yr. Estimate of students attending informational workshops and submitting project for competition Internship 11 3-5/yr. Based on expressed interest from Ft. Lewis and budget Cluster Mash-ups 45 15/yr. One mash-up per year with 15 people attending, alternating regions Think Tank 60 20/yr. Annual event to be coordinated with Innovation competition at Ft. Lewis and Demo Days. Regional meet-ups 300 100/yr. Currently meet-up held monthly in Telluride and 1 start-up weekend per year regionally. This is expected to expand. Company creation from activity 15 5/yr. 2 companies from new SWIC activities and 3 from meet-ups and start-up weekend. Jobs created as a result of companies supported through SWIC 30 10/yr. Company tracking Anticipated Project Impacts
  19. 19. Fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in southwest Colorado Thea Chase, Regional Director Innovation & Entrepreneurship Telluride Foundation thea@tellurideva.com

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