Telluride Foundation: Telluride Venture Accelerator 7th Annual Demo Day

Telluride Foundation: Telluride Venture Accelerator 7th Annual Demo Day

At the Telluride Venture Accelerator’s 7th Annual Demo Day 4 start-ups made their pitch to the  Telluride community.

Telluride Foundaton's Jesse Johnson (left) & Paul Major (right)

Telluride Venture Accelerator’s co-founders Jesse Johnson (left) & Telluride Foundation’s Paul Major (right)

The spirit of innovation is synonymous with Telluride from Nikola Tesla and his application of alternating current (AC) electricity to today, when start-up companies advance new ideas that include re-inventing the home construction business and the exercise experience, all while participating in the Telluride Venture Accelerator.

An initiative of the Telluride Foundation, the Telluride Venture Accelerator’s 7th annual Demo Day took place July 2  before a packed house of local investors, community members, and fellow entrepreneurs.

TVA Demo Day 2019 was a platform for the four start-ups, which participated in the TVA “Investment” Boot Camp, June 24th to July 2nd. It is an opportunity to present the progress, achievements, and ambitions of these innovative companies. This year, all four ventures were Colorado-based, including one local company with two female founders and a minority founder.

The 2019 TVA companies included:

 Vigor Fitness is a premium fitness experience at a fraction of the price of other solutions. Vigor uses a mobile device to connect users with the $100 billion in existing fitness equipment purchased since 2006. The equipment includes treadmills, ellipticals, and rowing machines. Vigor is for all levels of fitness. The app tracks progress, provides quality programming, and ensures goals are reached.

Buderflys is looking to disrupt the $20 billion earbud industry by creating the world’s first perfect fitting earbud. Buderflys earbuds stay comfortable under pressure and flex and conform to you ear as it moves. To capitalize on their comfortability, Buderflys will target podcast, audio-book, and long-form content listeners.

Simple Homes: The $500 billion construction industry has not fundamentally changed in 100 years. Simple Homes looks to increase access to high-quality housing through tech-enabled design and Swedish-inspired off-site construction.

Naturita-located Camp V will redefine the glamping experience through experimental architecture, storytelling, art, design, community, and outdoor recreation. Camp V will provide an alternative to the crowds for the more than 5 million tourists that visit Moab every year. Camp V looks to infuse $2 million in the western Montrose community in the next 10 years.

To date, TVA has graduated 53 startup companies from its mentor-driven program. These companies have raised over $28 million in investment dollars and created more than 145 jobs. TVA’s goal is to diversify the Telluride regional economy by supporting entrepreneurship and the formation of new businesses. The new “bootcamp” model has driven a renewed focus on local impact – like the plastic alternatives bootcamp held in February. Upcoming bootcamps include Demystifying Entrepreneurship (October); Growth (December; Plastics (1Q 2020); and Investment (2Q 2020).

According to Ashley Nager, Programs Director of TVA: “TVA aims to support entrepreneurs that start and grow new businesses. New and growing businesses in Telluride and the region, create year-round jobs and a more diverse and sustainable economy.”

This year’s Demo Day keynote speaker was Chris Cutter, CEO of LifeDojo. Chris is founder and CEO of the award-winning employee health behavior change platform, as well as a TVA alumni company from 2015.

TVA is located at the shared work space “Telluride Works” on main street in Telluride. Currently 29 entrepreneurs operate at Telluride Works, including a product startup, tech startup, attorney, an event planner, and remote workers for large companies.

Local companies that are TVA alumni or are associated with TVA include: Side by Side, Western Rise, Infocus, Felt, Hoggle and Capture Vascular.

Side by Side, which is fast becoming a national phenomenon in the holistic pet food space, is currently negotiating deals with major national distribution channels, online and bricks-and-mortar. The mission of the company founded by local Marney Prince is no less than “changing the lives of pets everywhere simply by changing what’s in their bowls.”

Western Rise experienced 150% growth last year, expanding its team to nine and doubling its staff in Telluride.

Another regional success story is Gitprime, a Durango-based company that just sold for $170 million. Gitprime founders met in Telluride at the very first Startup Telluride gathering six years ago.

Lastly, Demo Day highlighted the just-launched Telluride Regional Loan Fund, which will provide working capital loans to support rural business startups, business growth, and job creation in our region. The first loan went to Family Market based in Naturita to help with repairs and upgrades to their building.

The Loan Fund is housed at the Telluride Foundation and is a partnership between Zoma Lab and First Southwest Community Fund, part of the Durango-based community First Southwest Bank.

TVA, more:

Telluride Venture Accelerator is an initiative of the Telluride Foundation and is supported by individual donors and sponsors including: Johnson Family Foundation, High Meadows Foundation, McMenamin Family Fund, Saul Zaentz Charitable Foundation, ASAP Accounting and Payroll, Colorado Impact Fund and Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration.

Telluride Foundation, more:

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

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.