Carbondale’s Coventure hosts second venture capital pitch night Friday |

Carbondale’s Coventure hosts second venture capital pitch night Friday

Thomas Phippen
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Coworkers and Coventure members Elinor Fish and Megan Vanzandt with Run Wild Retreats have a work-related meeting at the Coventure work space in downtown Carbondale on Tuesday afternoon.
Chelsea Self/Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Six local companies will vie for capital investment in Carbondale on Friday in an event organizers compare to the popular reality-TV entrepreneurial competition “Shark Tank.”

For Missouri Heights-based business Boulder Learning, having the chance to compete for venture capital funding just a few miles away is a relief.

Boulder Learning is taking grant-funded research and building it into education software to assist teachers, having acquired a Front Range-based software developer.

But co-founder and president John Ramo wants Carbondale to be the headquarters.

“It’s great, because what we want to do is build our administrative functions out of Carbondale,” Ramo said in an interview.

The second annual Mountain Pitch Summit, organized by nonprofit business incubator and co-working space Coventure, will be different from the inaugural event last year by Coventure’s predecessor, GlenX.

“Last year, the focus was on community businesses, mostly in Carbondale. We wanted to tell a story that we could help local businesses grow,” said Mike Lowe, executive director for Coventure.

The event last spring raised $1.25 million for five local companies: Marble Distilling, The Way Home restaurant, aerospace manufacturer Perin Industries, agri-tourism destination Cedar Ridge Ranch and solar company P4P.

For this year’s event, “we set out to identify six companies that were in industries that could develop into businesses that could be game-changers for local economies,” Lowe said. The businesses are already well on their way to becoming anchor businesses for the region, Lowe said.

The six businesses presenting, most of which are from the Roaring Fork Valley, include AppOmni, which makes a cloud-based security software; Atelier, an augmented reality app for home decoration and interior design; education software creator Boulder Learning; iPhone accessory manufacturer iOmounts; Proximity, a co-working management software system; and P4P, which designs tensile solar panel structures.

Since the first pitch night in April 2018, the business acceleration programs started within GlenX have been re-branded, and dramatically expanded, as Coventure.

Coventure’s goal is to turn Carbondale and the greater Roaring Fork Valley into a hub of business networking, training, and investing to build a diverse economic base for the region.

Small-town economies are experiencing three particular challenges, as identified by the Office of Economic Development: Industry diversification, smart growth and talent retention.

Coventure occupies several floors of the Spruce Building in downtown Carbondale, offering co-working space available to anyone to rent by the day, week or month.

The pitch event kicks off at the Third Street Center at 3:30 p.m. Friday with a panel discussion on angel investing and venture capital, followed by dinner and drinks from local restaurants, and a keynote address by Marc Nager of the Greater Colorado Venture Fund, which is also one of the investment groups that will evaluate the pitches.

The other investor groups are Telluride Venture Fund, Four Points Funding and Rockies Venture Club.

The main pitch event with the six presenting companies will start at 7 p.m., followed by a networking after party. The event is opened to the public, with a $10 suggested donation at the door.

The online reservations for the event are filling up, Lowe said.

“We’re worried that we won’t have enough chairs. I guess that’s a good problem to have,” Lowe said.