Ten Companies to Face Off Next Week to Be Colorado’s “Startup Idol”

The ten finalists for the upcoming Apex Challenge have practiced their pitches in front of mirrors and friends. Now it’s time for them to take the stage in front of about 1,000 people to compete for cash prizes totaling $20,000.

The Apex Challenge is a pitch competition on Sept. 11 that’s part of the Colorado Technology Association’s Apex Conference. Organizers are billing the event as “half American Idol and half pitch contest.” Admission is included with an Apex Conference pass, and the CTA is offering a limited number of free tickets.

The winners will be determined by the audience and a panel of judges that include Brian Wallace, a managing director of Access Venture Partners, Catharine Merigold, a general partner at Vista Ventures, and former Denver Broncos placekicker David Treadwell.

Some of the finalists are have become successful regulars on the local and national pitch competition circuit.

Rach.io, a Denver-based company that develops intelligent irrigation systems, won the $50,000 top prize at last week’s “Glorious Failure” Challenge, which was part of the Colorado Innovation Network’s annual summit.

Nanoly Bioscience is developing a chemical that will allow vaccines to be shipped without refrigeration. It finished second in this year’s University of Colorado-Denver competition and won $5,000. It also won the $50,000 first place prize at the Duke University Startup Challenge, finished third and won $10,000 at the Dell Social Innovation Challenge, and won $15,000 at the Intel Global Challenge.

Brandfolder graduated from Techstars Boulder in August and recently won a competition at an event co-hosted by the Colorado Technology Association and the Society for Information Management’s Colorado chapter.

Here’s a full list of the finalists:

Active Junky, a Denver-based online shopping community that rewards and incentivizes users for their passion for gear and the outdoors.

Brandfolder, a Denver-based startup that develops software that helps ensure consistent brand representation by providing companies with a simple, visual brand asset sharing platform.

Intelivideo, a startup based in Denver, helps companies move from DVDs to the world of streaming and downloadable videos for any device.

MyRounding, based in Denver, has technology that hospitals and healthcare providers can use to improve management skills through “structured leadership rounding.” The idea adapts physician rounds to healthcare managers.

Nanoly is a Boulder-based biotech startup developing methods to preserve vaccines without refrigeration so that they can be delivered to remote parts of the world.

Rach.io, of Denver, has developed an Internet-connected smart sprinkler control system that lets users run their systems from mobile devices, conserve water, and set the ideal watering schedule.

SeedPaths, which is based in Denver, teaches young people how to develop software and helps them find jobs through its recruiters. The company is working with a charter school serving low-income students.

Splick-It, from Boulder, offers mobile and online ordering, payments, and loyalty applications for restaurants. The company currently powers more than 1,500 restaurants does more than $1.2 million in transactions every month with their branded mobile apps and online.

SupportLocal, of Denver, builds online communities that recommend and support local businesses.

TAGster, a Highlands Ranch-based startup, makes QR-based ID tags to identify lost objects, pets, and people and has developed software to help users find what’s been lost. It also has tags that allow first responders to access medical records and notify their emergency contacts.

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