Colorado Tech Roundup: Gnip’s $134M Price Tag and a Satellite Launch

Xconomy Boulder/Denver — 

Here is a quick roundup of some news from Colorado startups, tech, and aerospace companies, featuring Gnip, a trio of Colorado’s aerospace leaders, and a few recent venture capital deals.

Colorado’s Satellite Lifts Off: Wednesday was a big day for Colorado’s aerospace industry, with the launch of DigitalGlobe’s latest satellite, the WorldView-3 remote sensing satellite. The Longmont, CO-based company (NYSE: DGI) is one of the world’s largest suppliers of satellite imagery, with clients like the U.S. government and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG).

DigitalGlobe says the satellite will deliver the clearest, most detailed images of the Earth available to anyone. From its altitude of more than 380 miles above the earth, the WorldView-3 will be able to spot images that are about one foot across. The company is hoping the satellite will allow it to extend its business into agriculture, mining, and the oil and gas industries.

The satellite and mission has links to several Colorado companies. Boulder-based Ball Aerospace & Technology (NYSE: BLL) built and tested the satellite at its plant in Boulder and also built an instrument for the spacecraft that will help DigitalGlobe correct images for atmospheric interference.

United Launch Alliance, which is based in Centennial, built the Atlas V rocket used to launch the three-ton spacecraft from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. ULA is a joint partnership between Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and Boeing (NYSE: BA).

Gnip’s $134M price tag: Back in April when Twitter bought Boulder-based social data and analytics startup Gnip, the companies declined to release the purchase price. The details have come out, however, in Twitter’s quarterly earnings release.

Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) disclosed that it paid $134.1 million for Gnip, with $107.3 million of that amount being paid in cash. Twitter also agreed to issue about 1 million shares of stock, which makes up the remainder of the amount. Given those numbers, the deal turned out to be a very good one for Gnip’s founders and employees, and provided a nice return for its investors, too. Gnip only raised $6.6 million during its life as an independent company. Its investors include the Foundry Group, which is based in Boulder, First Round Capital, and SoftTech VC.

Convercent’s new customers, growth: Denver-based software startup Convercent announced it recently has closed deals with several new big customers. Convercent makes cloud-based software that customers use to monitor corporate governance, risk, and compliance. The startup has raised $20.2 million from investors including SAP Ventures, Azure Capital, Rho Capital Partners, and Mantucket Capital.

The company said its new clients include Philip Morris International, consulting firm CH2M Hill, Under Armour, Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Juniper Networks, and Dolby Laboratories. Convercent’s total new client numbers jumped 136 percent during its latest quarter.

Fundraising news:

GridCraft raised a $2.2 million seed round led by Bullet Time Ventures. The startup, which is based in Boulder, is developing cloud-based software that simplifies data collection, analysis, and visualization. GridCraft was founded in 2013 and has released a beta version of its software, with a full release planned for this fall.

Bullet Time Ventures is the seed fund managed by Techstars co-founder and CEO David Cohen. Cohort Capital, Confluence Capital Partners, Drummond Road Capital, Galvanize Ventures, Impact Angel Group, Startup Studio Ventures, and angel investors also participated in the round.

BiOptix Diagnostics raised $1.2 million. The Boulder-based company makes devices that can detect molecular interactions. University of Colorado professor and Nobel Prize for Physics winner John “Jan” Hall developed the underlying technology the devices rely on.

BiOptix’s investors include Boulder Ventures, Remeditex, and Rusnano. The funds came from the company’s prior investors and will be used for commercialization and working capital.