Archive for April, 2007


TechStars names Boulder teams

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Ten technology startups will converge this summer in Boulder as TechStars teams, the Boulder County Business Report is reporting on its Web site today.
Many of the new teams aren’t yet incorporated as companies, BCBR reports, and some don’t even have names or Web sites. TechStars also has launched its own blog to track what’s going on with the new startup teams. TechStars founders David G. Cohen, Brad Feld, Jared Polis and David Brown are funding each team with up to $15,000 in exchange for 5 percent equity. Teams are scheduled to start arriving in Boulder early this summer.
Teams include:
Tru.Vu, Boulder. Developing a new-media monitoring service (RSS feeds, e-mail, search results, etc.) aimed at the small- to medium-size business market.
No Sleep Media, Denver. It’s BriteKite is a social alert service where users create topics of interest and let others subscribe to those topics. Messages are sent out and
delivered via mobile, IM, e-mail or RSS., Los Angeles. Developing a social networking Web site that helps users interact through text messaging.
LinkoLingo, Philadelphia. Creating a next-generation online language learning platform.
Intense Debate, Jacksonville, Fla., St. Louis and Sweden. Provides tools to manage online debates and track participant reputations.
Digital Soap, St. Louis. Developing socialthing!, a social networking site.
Jamine, New York. Builds social media tools for the college crowd.
Localcents. Developing villij, a community building Web site based on different locations.
Curio. An event registration and social networking system for trade shows and conferences.
Search to Phone. Enables local searches occurring on the Web to be broadcast via voice to qualified merchants on a per-lead model.

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The guv came to Boulder last night, and his environmental friendly speech drew welcome applause from the local business community at the Boulder Chamber’s annual dinner. Toss in promises to improve the state’s transportation, education, economic development, technology sector and health care, and he charted a pretty big course for his new administration.

Gov. Bill Ritter said he’s starting a "greening of government," with new state facilities going for LEED environmental certification — not an easy task, he may soon find. The state, he said, needs to lead by example. He’s also added an adviser on climate change, and he put in kudos for all of the climate change research being conducted in Boulder.

Solar, wind power, ethanol production all got the governor’s thumbs up, but he also insisted his administration is not "forsaking" Colorado’s traditional energy businesses. "But we will not have an Oil and Gas Commission run by the industry," he added.

Ritter made note of the American Electronic Association’s report that Colorado recently slipped to No. 3 from its former No. 1 ranking in its concentration of high-tech workers. More "technology transfer" is one way to help the sector — again a pretty good thing to say with the night’s events held at the offices of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

Emphasizing that education is critical to economic development and the state’s business environment, Ritter promised to attack the dropout rate in high schools. "We will reduce the dropout rate by 50 percent over the next 10 years," he promised. Ritter announced he’s forming a P Through 20 Council to look a hard look at education systems from pre-school to post-graduate work.

In a 45-minute speech filled with hopeful promises of a first-term governor, it was pretty easy for the new Democratic chief to get lots of applause in what is a very Democratic town, even throughout the business community. But he joked that he thought it wasn’t wise to take time for questions from the audience. "This is the smartest city in the world according to Forbes," he said. "I’m not going to take questions."

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Kentucky Derby favorites & rolled oysters

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Three weeks before the Kentucky Derby, the buzz in Louisville is, of course, who are the Derby favorites. Street Sense, Nobiz Like Showbiz and Scatt Daddy seem to be leading the race writers’ picks, but the strong Arkansas Derby performance by the 2-year-old Curlin could move it into a contender pick. Since I’m one for picking horses by names rather than odds, Great Hunter could top my picks list.

Just one day into a week-long vacation here in my sunny hometown Louisville .. well, it did rain steadily yesterday, I’ve already managed to eat at two small restaurants loved by locals and giving me a good reason to make sure I have Tums in my pocket at all times. That’s a good thing.
For lunch, we headed to Flabby’s Schnitzelburg, in the heart of the city’s Germantown neighborhood. While locals rave about their Famous Crust Chicken, Allison chose the bratwurst sandwich and sauerkraut, while I tried the meatloaf sandwich covered in brown gravy. You can easily fill up with a sandwich and drink for 2 for under $10 here, and soak in the small tavern atmosphere that includes the Flabby’s wind chime hanging at the bar — four beer cans on a wire.

Avoiding the fried stuff for lunch, I popped an antiacid pill and decided we woud head to one of my longtime favorite places for their specialty, the oyster roll. That’s right, we’re in Kentucky, but Mazzoni’s Cafe, which has operated in Louisville since 1884, is famous for its Eastern Shore hand-rolled oyster. Each roll has three raw oysters rolled in pastinga (a batter-like mixture), then deep fried. The oysters steam and burst, giving the breading an oyster flavor from their juices. I went for a bowl of the homemade white bean soup with my roll, while Allison tried the chili, which — Louisville-style — has spaghetti in it. Dad had the fish sandwich with onion rings, while mom also ordered the oyster roll. Some sweet ice tea, and we all were a happy bunch.

Mazaoni’s has a full menu of finger foods, pasta, sandwiches and dinner platters, with sides like corn pudding, mac and cheese, fresh kale and fresh cole slaw. I’m getting hungry again just writing this.

One more bit of Louisville news, which my sister Elaine informed me “everyone knows that,” is that the recently confirmed father of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby is a Louisvillian. Seems Kentucky native Larry Birkhead already is lining up million-dollar deals for exclusive interviews and photo shoots, all a good thing since he owes quite a tab to settle up with his ex-lawyer Debra Opri.

More Louisville news to come, as hopefully the sun comes out and we get out for some golf, but not before breakfast tomorrow with my friend’s pass to the back stretch of Churchill Downs.

Categories : Food and Drink
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It looks like Solekai Systems Corp., a digital video engineering company needing more space, could be the first company to successfully navigate Boulder’s new business incentive program. We’ve been keeping a close watch at the Boulder County Business Report on the program, and broke this as our top story.

Solekai Systems Corp. is seeking a rebate of fees and construction-use taxes incurred as part of its move from 1601 Pearl St. to 2440 14th St. in downtown Boulder.

The company is moving to handle growth, Ken Furie, vice president and general manager of Solekai’s Boulder Engineering Center, told BCBR. The digital video engineering consulting company is headquartered in San Diego and opened the Boulder satellite in August 2005.

I ran into Liz Hanson, who oversees the incentive program, and she said after the story appeared, there was a jump in calls from businesses asking more about the incentives program. A full description of the Boulder incentive program is online.

The program runs for one year, then city council will evaluate its results. Needless to say, Boulder is a latecomer to the idea of actually helping businesses stay in the city, but under the new economic vitality program, a lot of talk has finally resulted in some real action.

Keep an eye on how this all goes, but I will predict once the city adds up why keeping high-paying jobs in the city rather than letting even more of them head off to neighboring office parks around the county, the program will become a regular part of the way the city does business.

Read the full story on Solekai’s incentive application at BCBR archives, which are now completely free.

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Also watch at My next interview will be with the founders of Me.dium.

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