Mile High Roundup: Local Tech Companies Raise Cash, Expand Overseas

Welcome to the Mile High Roundup, a look at some of the interesting things that have happened over the past two weeks in the tech scene in Boulder, Denver, and around Colorado.

In this edition, a Denver healthcare IT company raises $4.3 million, a whole bunch of companies from Boulder head overseas, and the state government tries to put all the data it collects to work.

Aventura gets $4.3M, CEO. Denver-based startup Aventura HQ closed a $4.3 million investment round and recently named a new CEO.

Aventura is in the healthcare IT industry, specifically in a field it calls “awareness computing.” What that means is Aventura software helps various IT systems work together, which the company says improves clinical workflow for medical providers and lets them securely use electronic medical records across devices.

Clarion Direct Investment, Excel Venture Management, HLM Venture Partners, and MemorialCare Innovation Fund were the investors. They all have backed Aventura in the past. SEC documents show the company has raised $17.1 million, including a $13 million Series A round in 2011.

The company also announced that John Gobron is its new CEO. Gobron had been the acting CEO since May, when Howard Diamond left the position.

Going global. You know the saying “go big or go home?” Well, in the past few weeks, a handful of Boulder, CO-based companies have said they have no intention of going home, as they announced international expansion plans.

—Local trend-setter Rally Software Development (NYSE: RALY) made the first move when it announced it has opened a new office in Singapore. Rally, which makes cloud-based software development and project management tools for software engineers who specialize in agile programming, already has offices in Canada, the Netherlands, and Germany. Last year it started a push into the Asia-Pacific region with an office in Melbourne, Australia.

Gnip joins Rally in expanding in Asia. Gnip has a new sales partnership with Hottolink, a Japanese social media analytics company. Hottolink will manage the sales and customer support process on behalf of Gnip.

Gnip compiles public posts from the Twitter firehose and sites including Tumblr, Facebook, Foursquare, and WordPress, repackages and enriches the content, and sells it to clients who rely on it to spot trends and monitor reputation. Gnip has partnered with Hottolink for about a year to serve Twitter data to the Japanese market. With about 10 percent of tweets written in Japanese, it’s important for Gnip to be big in Japan. (In other Gnip news, the company has released a new feature that lets users search for tweets from the past 30 days.)

SendGrid headed south, announcing it is in the midst of a tour to three of South America’s largest cities to promote its e-mail delivery platform. According to a release, the company’s reps are in Rio de Janeiro today, have already visited Sao Paulo, and are headed to Buenos Aires next week.

—Last but definitely not least, Techstars hosted its first demo day overseas on Sept. 27, with 10 startups in the London accelerator making pitches to potential investors. The event had a British vibe, with David Young (surely better known to you as the Right Honourable Baron Young of Graffham) attending the event. Joking aside, Young is a highly successful businessman, former cabinet minister, and adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron on business issues.

As of demo day, the startups had attracted more than £3.5 million—that’s $5.5 million—of investment or commitments, according to Techstars.

Date with Data. The state government is sitting on a vast pile of public data about businesses and economic activity in Colorado, and now it is hoping that local software companies might be able to turn it into products the government and businesses could find useful.

Why should startups be interested? Aside from being able to glean insights from the data that could be sold to customers, the state has set aside $100,000 in financial incentives and services for companies that make a program that the state would use.

The program is named the Colorado Innovation Challenge, and it is an initiative of the Secretary of State’s office. The program was launched during Denver Startup Week.

On Oct. 8, the office will host a workshop at the Colorado State University-Denver to collect ideas about what kind of uses the public data could be used for.

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