Telluride Venture Accelerator: 2014 Winners

Telluride Venture Accelerator: 2014 Winners


Thea Chase, director, Telluride Venture Accelerator

Thea Chase, director, Telluride Venture Accelerator

Six Companies Selected for 2014 Accelerator Class

 Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA), an initiative of the Telluride Foundation, is pleased to announce the six winners slated to participate in the five-month Accelerator program in 2014. Winners were selected from a very competitive field which featured applicants from throughout the U.S. and worldwide.

  • LifeDojo is the online health & life skills education platform. Schools, Nonprofits, Hospitals and Corporations rely on LifeDojo not just to teach, but to improve the health and life outcomes of the people they work with. Every lesson is science-packed, whiteboard-animated, and taught by world-class experts. CEO & Founder Chris Cutter. Website:
  • makeena is a location-aware mobile and web platform that allows shoppers to make healthy choices for themselves and for the environment while saving money, providing natural and sustainable brands with data analytics and highly-engaged shoppers. CEO & Founder Karen Frame. Website:
  • PureFun is the first mass brand of USDA Organic certified hair care for kids (ages 3-9), that is affordable, with a simple ingredient list, and breakthrough design to engage and excite kids. Co-Founders Jean Sim, Irena Todd.
  • PlanitMapper makes it easy to plan, map and share your next adventure using its unique layered maps and “smart” product recommendation system. These same innovations allow the company to deliver game-changing services to online retailers and the larger arena of online marketing. Co-Founders Haj Khalsa, Jonathan Repa, Pradip Hari. Website:
  • Awestruck Medical is a Telluride-based company developing and commercializing a device that reduces the discomfort and pain experienced by millions of dental patients undergoing routine procedures,thus improving the total care experience and increasing the dentist’s productivity by shortening procedure time. CEO & Co-Founder Karen Gaines DDS, other local Co-Founders Richard Fulton MD, Cameron Powell, and Mark Kozak.
  • Pläsays is a social networking application geared towards adventurers and the well-traveled that connects people based on demonstrated behavior. CEO & Founder Alex Grappo.

The accelerator program includes mentoring, business coaching, and incubation, as well as investment opportunities.  TVA winners will receive $30,000 to catalyze their business and will relocate to Telluride for five months. Once in the region, they will be provided shared office space at the Peaks Resort and access to mentors to cultivate and support their business endeavors, including successful entrepreneurs-in-residence and Telluride’s angel investment community. TVA uniquely targets businesses focused in the areas of outdoor recreation, tourism, natural products, health, energy, water, and education.

 “From 75 applications, TVA worked with a group of 50 reviewers to pick our final 6. Overall, we were very impressed with the applicant quality and have high expectations for our incoming companies. The companies will be hitting the ground running in February and no doubt will impress a lot of people in our community in the months to come,” said TVA co-founder and CEO, Jesse Johnson commented,

The Telluride Foundation initiated TVA in 2012 with the overarching goal of launching and growing new, high-growth businesses out of Telluride. TVA seeks to be a catalyst for the sustainable growth and diversification of the Telluride regional economy. TVA invests in innovative enterprises with the aim of building and strengthening the entrepreneurial community in the Telluride area to create a self-sustaining entrepreneurial ecosystem bringing innovation, jobs, ideas and a renewed dynamism to the region. TVA is a mentor-driven accelerator with over 60 mentors representing TVA-targeted industries and professional specialties and is a member of the Global Accelerator Network (GAN). Along with the Telluride Foundation, TVA is supported by individual donors, the Kaufman Foundation, the Johnson Family Foundation, the Colorado Economic Development Commission, and receives corporate support from The Peaks Resort, ASAP Accounting and Payroll, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP attorneys-at-law and Great Lakes Airlines. For more information on TVA, visit

About the Telluride Foundation:

The Telluride Foundation exists to create a stronger Telluride community through the promotion and support of philanthropy. It is a nonprofit, apolitical community foundation that provides year-round support for local organizations involved in arts, education, athletics, charitable causes, land conservation and other community-based efforts through technical assistance, education and grant making. As a grant maker, the Foundation awards grants to qualified applicants that serve the people living and working in the Telluride area for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life within the region. For more information on the Telluride Foundation, visit



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