Startup Colorado’s Founder Coopetition is back with 15 rural startups participating in its September cohort. This 4-week program offers a unique blend of cooperation and competition designed to fuel the growth of early-stage businesses in rural areas. Startup Colorado will be running an additional two cohorts and is accepting applications on a rolling basis.
Now, let’s meet the founders:
BUTTNSKI - KELLY MAZANTI, SILVERTHORNE, CO
Buttnski makes stylish and functional apparel for humans who love to play outside in the mountains. As a women-owned and operated business in Summit County, Colorado, they know firsthand what it takes to live year-round in a harsh environment. This ultimate mountain playground serves as their inspiration and testing ground for everything they make.
LITTLE BIRD COMMISSARY KITCHEN, ANNE PASQUALE, GYMPSUM, CO
Little Bird Commissary Kitchen and Incubator isn’t just a kitchen; they’re the launchpad for culinary dreams. Located in Gypsum, this shared-use commercial kitchen provides a vibrant space where chefs, bakers, and food entrepreneurs spread their wings and create mouthwatering creations. They offer top-notch facilities, a supportive community, host pop-up events and cooking classes and provide all the tools you need to turn small businesses food passions into a thriving business.
GRAND VALLEY AVIATION - J. ERIC GRUMLING, BATTLEMENT MESA, CO
Grand Valley Aviation, LLC is changing the way cable broadband industry meets FCC requirements for preventing interference, using small uncrewed aerial vehicles (aka drones). They leverage established aerial mapping techniques to precisely locate damaged cable hardware that causes interference to communications for first responders, air traffic controllers and your cell phone.
BOULDER LEARNING INC. - JOHN RAMO, M.ED., CARBONDALE, CO
Boulder Learning was formed from the merger of Ramos’ company, Digital Directions, and Boulder Language Technologies. Combined, the two companies received over $20M in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education, National Science Foundation and others. Boulder Learning is now working to monetize the intellectual property from this funding by focusing on developing products using speech recognition, AI, and digital adaptive pedagogy.
ORNATE BLENDS - NATHAN SHAFER, WIGGINS, CO
Ornate Blends is a wellness company specializing in botanical and fungi based solutions. Ornate Blends is headquartered on Shafer’s farm, Ornate Acres, in Wiggins. Shafer plans to develop the farm as they grow, incorporating sustainable systems of agriculture that allow them to vertically integrate their resources and branch out into other industry sectors.
SPINDRIFT SANDBOARDS - AMY RANEY, BLANCA, CO
SpinDrift Sandboards specializes in the design, development, and distribution of high-performance sandboards. Their mission is to revolutionize the sandboarding industry by providing enthusiasts and beginners with cutting-edge equipment that delivers an unparalleled experience on sand dunes worldwide. As they expand operations—encompassing rental, retail, and manufacturing—they aim to solidify their position as a leader in the sandboarding industry, delivering unforgettable experiences to visitors while championing sustainability and innovation.
GEEKPACK - JULIA TAYLOR, DURANGO, CO
GeekPack® is on a mission to change the face of tech by bringing new voices into the conversation. Through an e-learning platform, they create unlikely success stories by defying the constraints of traditional higher education and equipping women and other underrepresented communities with in-demand, transferable digital skills to thrive in a rapidly changing world.
COSALON - ELLE MAJORS, SALIDA, CO
COSALON bridges the gap between talented stylists and premier salons, offering a dynamic platform to rent chairs on-demand. They empower individual stylists to find and book the perfect workspace, while salons maximize their revenue by listing unused chairs. It’s the future of salon collaboration, streamlining success for both stylists and salon owners.
HIGH COUNTRY WORKSHOPS - ERIC PHILLIPS, CRESTED BUTTE, CO
High Country Workshops is a photography guiding and workshop company based in Crested Butte, Colorado, looking to redefine how this growing industry, safely and responsibly, helps clients get their dream shot. They intend to set a new industry standard by partnering and training local guides who create new environmental stewards through incredible experiences in the high country.
Palisade Coffee Company is all about fresh unique coffee experiences. They’re on the journey to discover incredible coffee and honor the legacy of a town built on its orchards and vineyards. Find them in-person for delicious single-origin cold brew or try their pour-over packs for unforgettable coffee anywhere you go!
B1 ENERGY - JOHN ARMSTRONG, SALIDA, CO
B1 Energy has developed an innovative new approach to creating sustainable waste systems in rural communities. Their integrated, advanced recycling and renewable energy facility with mobile recycling capability is changing the way we recycle, and create sustainable communities/circular economics; all while providing clean energy. Their solution is not only attainable and low-cost, but fast to deploy and necessary in taking immediate action against climate change to protect our environment/communities.
MODSTREET - ROGER ZALNERAITIS, DURANGO, CO
MODSTREET was founded to help small businesses survive the pandemic. They manufacture steel-fabricated, modular parklets and fencing to help transform downtown spaces. MODSTREET is now pivoting to become an innovative manufacturing firm that delivers creative new product solutions to smaller communities throughout the US that larger companies overlook.
TOWN HALL - ROBIN HALL, STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO
Town Hall Outdoor Co makes sustainable outdoor apparel for adventurous kids and their families. They want every kid to Love Outside, for the health of themselves, the planet and their communities. They believe in People+Planet+Place—and Town Hall’s ‘place’ is Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where getting your gear dirty is a badge of honor and community is everything.
CARBONKICKER - CHRIS VALLIER, SALIDA, CO
CarbonKicker endeavors to become the most efficient carbon reduction tool available. Through rewards, and premium accounts, CarbonKicker aims to achieve mass adoption, and thus mass carbon reduction. The revenue model is focused on neo-banking.
OVER IT. RAFT COVERS - KEVIN KABLER, SALIDA, CO
Over It. Raft Covers manufactures and sells patented raft covers. Their raft covers are primarily available D2C on their website, but they are currently building a reseller network. Over It. Raft Covers will soon launch a new product—an inflatable, foldable swim deck.