Congrats to Simple Energy

I’ve known the founders of Simple Energy, Yoav Lurie & Justin Segall since 2011, when they accepted my offer to go through the Techstars program in Boulder.  Back then, they were driven, focused, intelligent, and passionate about changing the face of the energy industry.  I was hooked.  Over the years, I stayed in touch with the founders, watching them evolve from a startup to a well-run company whose customer base features some of the country’s largest energy utility companies.  They had raised a bunch of capital from investors like us (Techstars), Vision Ridge, and Westley Group.

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An entrepreneur loving on strangers

A friend of mine (and a Techstars company), Jackie Ros from Revolar, emailed me a few days ago with a fantastic offer.  Revolar makes a personal security device – it’s like a little button that you can ‘wear’, and if you feel unsafe, it will call for help on your behalf.

Jackie’s email said “My Muslim friends are telling me they are having their hijabs ripped off, one was told to hang herself with it because it is no longer allowed here. My Latino friends are being yelled at to stop speaking in Spanish and told to go back where they came from. One of my female friends on Facebook was told to “shut up (b word I won’t type)” because she is a woman and “our country has spoken.”

To combat this hate, Jackie & Revolar are offering the Revolar device for $59 – which is normally $99, to anyone that currently feels unsafe.  If you feel like you’re at risk because of the election, Revolar wants to get it’s device in your hands to help keep you safe.  Enter discount code #givefirst in the shopping cart, and if you’re REALLY broke and can’t afford the $59, and you really are in danger, please email and she’ll find a way to get you a device.

Thanks Jackie for loving on people that need it right now.



NewCo Boulder: Open House Tour of Innovative Companies in Boulder

Forget those business conferences with long speeches and boring panel discussions. On Nov 18 (new date!), Boulder’s most innovative businesses will open their doors to the public to celebrate Boulder companies who drive the networked economy. NewCo Boulder is a city-wide event that takes you right into the corporate offices of 35 of the most innovative and successful companies around Boulder, offering attendees a tour rather than a company description packet.

At NewCo, attendees will sign up for a free pass to visit any of the participating organizations, from software companies, to restaurants, to non-profits and more. During the event attendees will check out the offices of the some of the most interesting and inventive companies around the city and take part in an interactive presentation about what each organization is doing to make an impact on the global landscape.

I am proud to serve on the Board of Advisors along side Kimbal Musk, Jane Miller, Brad Feld, Seth Levine, Larry Gold, Walter Knapp, and Sean Maher. Boulder’s NewCo team, Rich Maloy and Tim O’Shea, have pulled together an impressive group of organizations across a wide range of industries in the community.

It’s an opportunity to see what Boulder businesses are doing and where it actually takes place: offices, breweries, bakeries etc.  Attendees can learn from their strategies and executions, gain some insights from their successes, maybe even drop off a business card or resume. The event is open to everyone and it’s free for the Boulder community.

For more information on NewCo Boulder including the companies participating, please visit:

Have questions about NewCo Boulder 2014? Contact Rich Maloy, Engage Colorado:

My favorite new research tool – Crunchinator


I’m always looking for a great tool to help me do research into what’s happening in the market.  My latest favorite tool, which launched on Tuesday, is called Crunchinator which takes CrunchBase data and lets you slice and dice it in almost any way you want.

Brought to you by entrepreneur and friend Eric Marcoullier, it’s a great way to narrow down your research time.  Thanks Eric for creating this great tool!

Boulder Startup Food Drive

If you’re a startup in Colorado, you’ve got to get in on this.  Our friends at PivotDesk are organizing the first ever Boulder Startup Food Drive.  Startups around can drop off their non-perishables by 11/8 at the Techstars Boulder office.  PivotDesk will deliver those items to Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA) to help families in need this holiday season.  So go ahead and donate that SPAM… (you know, the canned kind, not the digital kind).

Help spread the word…


Getting Colorado back on its feet

If you’re an entrepreneur or a startup, and want to help get Colorado back on it’s feet after the flood last week, consider donating to EFCO, the Entrepreneur’s Foundation of Colorado.

Many have already joined in, including Foundry Group, GoodApril (recent Techstars grad acquired by Intuit), the Defrag Conference, Silicon Valley Bank, Galvanize, Uber, Techstars, and more.

As a startup, you’re largely supported by your community.  Now’s the time to return the support.

If you’re interested in contributing, donate here, choose “Flood Relief” and dedicate to EFCO, so we can track the impact.


Hanging at Big Boulder Conference

Today I was lucky enough to moderate a panel called Blogs, Comments, Forums and Rich Social Data Gestures for Big Boulder Conference, an event of epic quality organized by Gnip.  I was joined by Mark O’Sullivan from Vanilla Forums, Mike Preuss from Formspring, Ro Gupta of Disqus, and Martin Remy from Automattic.

One of the great things about being a moderator is that you learn a ton about the topic on which you’re moderating.  I learned a lot about community and the value in giving people various ways to express themselves.  Some people like the long blog format – while others just prefer to comment on blogs.  Forums work for many, where there isn’t one dominant voice, rather a chorus of voices that make up a collective interest area.  Some (like me) focus on the 140 character updates via Twitter.  And some people go for the extremely lightweight interactions such as likes and smiley faces to engage in their comunity.  But regardless of your personal communication style, the platforms that exist today have allowed people with similar interests across massive geographic expanses come together. Mark was telling me about a Koren pop artist forum that likes to create user-generated stories about those pop artists, but that many of the users were in the US.  Martin mentioned that the Turks are some of the most vocal in social media. I learned that a share on Facebook goes about twice as far as a share on Twitter, and that people who login with their Facebook accounts are MUCH less likely to be spammers.  And finally that building a business exclusively on Twitter or Facebook can be extremely dangerous – one new feature rollout could literally kill your company.  And that the social data generated by all these services is massively valuable and monatized by companies like Gnip.

At the end of the day, I realized how lucky I am to be a part of a great community both online here and offline in Boulder.  And it was great to meet my fellow panelists and be a part of Big Boulder Conference.

You can read Gnip’s summary of the talk here.

Good at naming stuff? Want to win $500?

One of the TechStars Boulder 2012 portfolio companies, Palmling, is going through a re-branding exercise, and they need your help!

First off, Palmling is an awesome service that I wish I had years ago.  They provide access to language translators, from any phone, at any time.  Say you’re sick in Thailand and desperately need Immodium (this happened to me!), but how the hell do you say “I’m having major bowel issues and desperately need something to help!” to a pharmacist?  Now, it’s easy.  You whip out your phone, you call a number, you put the call on speakerphone, and you get a live translator that will help you communicate with the pharmacist.  BRILLIANT!  They’re literally breaking down the language barriers in every single corner of the world (that has a phone or cell signal…)

Anyway, we all agree that the Palmling name sucks (sorry Ryan & Kunal, but it does!).  So they need a new name!  Submit your name idea here, and if that name ultimately gets chosen, you’ll win $500.  Sweet!

Go yee and name.