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City highlights fast-growing firms as Denver Startup Week begins

2016 “Denver Gazelles” a diverse showcase of tech companies

Starting fast out of the gate for Denver Startup Week, the Denver Office of Economic Development (OED) today announced its annual additions to the roster of “Denver Gazelles,” the city’s list of the rapidly growing firms here with both proven success and excellent potential in raising money and creating jobs.

The 2016 class, all technology companies, are Blinker, Cloud Elements, Havenly, MindAptiv, Parkifi, and SendGrid. Collectively, the six represent $124 million raised through venture capital, private investment, and angel and seed investors.

“Selecting just a few firms to designate as Denver Gazelles was actually more challenging than ever this year,” said Paul Washington, OED executive director. “There is an astounding volume of venture capital flowing in Denver, so we had a strong field of candidates to review. In addition, we’re enjoying the growth of more companies here that started elsewhere but chose Denver as the place to take it to the next level in financing and employee size.”

The 2016 Gazelles will be celebrated on Wednesday, September 14 at noon at the Denver Startup Basecamp at 1515 Arapahoe, 1st Floor. More details and registration is available at the Denver Startup Week website.

Since 2012, OED has named an elite number of Denver Gazelles each year based on referrals and internal research among its business development staff and the venture capital/financial community. Criteria include exponential job growth and a CEO-level commitment to engagement in strengthening the Denver entrepreneurial climate. With today’s announcement, the roster of Gazelles includes 25 firms.

OED adopted the name “gazelle” from the observation that all honorees are demonstrating swift growth in job creation. Small firms such as these are expected to drive half of Denver’s workforce growth in the next dozen years.

Summary Profiles - 2016 Gazelles:
Blinker is a free mobile app that empowers people to buy and sell cars themselves more easily, quickly and safely. With image-recognition technology, Blinker allows users to snap a photo of their car to instantly learn every detail, including the estimated value, mileage and more, so they can list it for sale in seconds. Using a photo of their driver’s license, buyers can instantly get pre-approved for a car loan and owners can refinance their existing loan. $35 million in private investment has been raised to date. Co-founder and CEO Rod Buscher is a 30-year veteran of the auto industry, both at John Elway Dealership and also creating the 20-franchise Summit Automotive Partners which employed more than 1,000 and produced $800 million in sales. More at

Cloud Elements is a cloud application program interface (API) management and integration service that enables developers to publish, integrate, aggregate and manage applications through a unified platform. The firm’s toolkit enables developers to connect entire categories of cloud services or synchronize data between multiple cloud services such as Salesforce, Zendesk or Quickbooks. Cloud Elements is headquartered in Denver and has offices in San Francisco and Dallas to serve its customers worldwide. The firm has raised $13 million in venture capital to date. Mark Geene, CEO and co-founder, has more than 20 years of executive experience in sales and product management at IBM, Oracle, Tenfold Corporation, and Dorado Software. More at

Havenly is an online interior design service and home decorating discovery engine. A woman-founded enterprise that aspires to redefine the industry of home decoration and residential interior design through its innovative customer interface, Havenly offers personalized detailing built in to suit each individual customer. Users select from a range of interior design consultants, with tips and ideas for effortless and affordable decorator solutions--even for rental properties on a starter budget. Media coverage in Vogue, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, USA Today, and the New York Times helped CEO Lee Mayer guide Havenly to raise $13.2 million in venture capital. More at

MindAptiv develops innovative business and consumer platforms for customers to store and share their photos and video files more efficiently, simplify their digital transformation, allow distribution across bandwidth-constrained networks, and seamlessly experience them at the highest quality. Co-founders Ken Granville and Jake Kolb started MindAptiv in 2011. Five year later, the company has raised $5.8 million in angel investments, doubled its staff, and moved to the Denver Tech Center (DTC); the firm is preparing for the launch of its first consumer product, illumin8TM. More at

Parkifi employs mobile technology to offer a hassle-free, convenient way to park. With an address entered into a real-time parking map, Parkifi’s parking spot finder navigates users to open spaces at garages and surface lots. Parkifi currently has more than 1,000 sensors installed in various parking garages and surface lots across the nation. The homegrown firm is adding their innovative “clip” on parking meters that will enable automatic payment; once the sensors detect that a vehicle is parked at a Parkifi-enabled space, the firm’s mobile payment system will automatically charge the user for the time they are in the spot. Ryan Sullivan and Rishi Malik founded Parkfi in 2014; the firm has raised $9.5 million. More at

SendGrid is a cloud-based customer communication platform that drives engagement and business growth. A leader in email deliverability, SendGrid successfully delivers over 30 billion emails each month for Internet and mobile-based customers like Airbnb, Pandora, HubSpot, Spotify, Uber and FourSquare as well as more traditional enterprises like Intuit and Costco. The firm has attracted $47.5 million in venture capital and is planning an IPO. CEO Sameer Dholakia is a 20-year industry veteran who previously held executive roles at Citrix/VMLogix and Trilogy, where he helped the company grow from a start-up to a $300 million business. SendGrid is finishing the buildout of its new office space in downtown Denver, with 300 employees currently and plans to triple in staff size over the next two years. More at