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Denver cracks top 10 on ranking of tech talent

Denver moved up to No. 10 this year on CBRE’s Tech Talent Scorecard, the first time the city has ranked among the top 10 North American tech markets.

Tech labor concentration, or the percentage of total employment, is an influential factor in how “tech-centric” the market is and its growth potential. Denver has a tech talent labor pool of 99,760, or 6.2 percent of its total employment, placing it among the top 10 most-tech-concentrated markets and well above the national average of 3.5 percent.

Tech wage growth is another contributing factor to a city’s ability to attract and retain its tech talent. Denver’s average annual tech wage now tops $100,000, ranking 10th out of the 50 U.S. and Canadian markets studied and marking a a 15 percent increase in tech wage growth over the last five years.

“Tech continues to play an increasingly larger role in Denver’s ecosphere,” said Alex Hammerstein, senior vice president with CBRE’s Tech and Media Practice in Denver. “We see everything from startups to Fortune 500 tech companies opening and expanding their operations here, drawn to our educated workforce and supportive entrepreneurial culture. On the talent side, people choose Denver for our quality of life, relatively affordable cost of living and high-paying employment opportunities.”

The Tech Talent Scorecard is determined based on 13 metrics, including tech talent supply, growth, concentration, cost, completed tech degrees, industry outlook for job growth and market outlook for both office and apartment rent cost growth.

Denver stood out in the report in several other key areas:
  • Denver’s tech labor force grew 23.8 percent (adding 19,200 workers) over the past five years, among the fastest of large North American tech markets.
  • Denver produces a strong number of tech graduates but also continues to draw outside talent who are attracted to the tech job opportunities; Denver added more than 1,500 more tech jobs than tech graduates during the last five years.
  • The availability of tech jobs is helping to attract millennials — Denver saw a 6.8 percent increase in its millennial population change in the past five years, nearly double the U.S. average of 3.7 percent.

Regis joins Catalyst HTI

Regis University will join the health-tech innovation campus Catalyst HTI, slated to open in RiNo in 2018.

As a higher education partner, Regis' College of Computer & Information Science (CC&IS) will bring its expertise in health informatics, data science and cybersecurity to Catalyst HTI, collaborating with other health-tech industry leaders such as Hitachi Inc., the American Diabetes Association and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus to transform the digital health environment.

"Regis is proud to be a partner in this new kind of health-tech venture at Catalyst HTI," says CC&IS Dean Shari Plantz-Masters. "It signals we are involved in helping solve problems within our society, which dovetails so well with the Regis mission of educating and inspiring our future leaders to have a positive effect on the world."

Catalyst HTI is an industry integrator, bringing together relevant stakeholders in health-tech innovation -- from single-person startups and Fortune 500 companies to nonprofit organizations and healthcare providers -- to build a community in which collaboration and integration lead to accelerated innovation within the industry.

"We are thrilled to have Regis University as a member of our community," says Mike Biselli, president of Catalyst HTI. "Regis is a leader in cybersecurity and the protection of health-care information. The College of Computer & Information Science's ability to attract industry leaders to join its faculty will help us accelerate our health-care innovations."

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Boulder tech company to manage parking, commuter solutions at Union Station

Denver Union Station has hired a Boulder-based transportation technology company to help manage all third-party transportation at the bustling transit center. 

CommutiFi, developer of the BluCar mobile app, will manage the curbside along Wynkoop Street to improve efficiency and access for all Union Station guests.

"Denver Union Station has hired CommutiFi to redefine curbside management and usher in the latest technologies and services that are helping people get around," says Sean Timmons, vice president of asset and risk management at McWhinney, which is a member of the Union Station Alliance. "We want to be at the forefront in changing the transportation ecosystem in downtown Denver, and this partnership is a progressive first step in the right direction."

More than 14,000 people pass through Denver Union Station on the Regional Transportation District's regional bus, light-rail and commuter-rail services. Additionally, The Crawford Hotel and the property's nine restaurants and bars are busy destinations for Denver residents and travelers.

CommutiFi's software and management platform will integrate parking, ride sharing and first- and last-mile solutions for commuter. BluCar is now powering Union Station's valet services, which allows guests to experience ticketless valet parking and request vehicles back in advance. In the coming months, the CommutiFi platform will be expanded to include valet and ridesharing validations, a customized employee parking program for the building's more than 700 employees and an enterprise solution for nearby businesses. There also are plans to launch a shuttle service that will connect commuters to other parts of downtown.

"We are excited to showcase the CommutiFi platform and all of its multimodal capabilities at such highly trafficked and progressive destination," says Rich Schmelzer, CommutiFi's founder. "Union Station is the jewel of Denver, and we look forward to hosting other transit centers, campuses, business districts and mixed-use developments at this location who want to learn how to deliver a seamless, subsidized end-user experience to their customers."

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Xfinity delivers gigabit speeds to Coda in Cherry Creek

The recently completed Coda in Cherry Creek apartment building is the first property in Colorado to deliver gigabit speeds to residents through Xfinity's Advanced Communities Network (ACN).

Coda developer Zocalo Community Development has been committed to innovation in the multifamily industry since its founding in 2001, boasting a number of Denver-area first in apartment development, including in-building bicycle maintenance shops and electric vehicle charging stations.

"This investment in network infrastructure at Coda property is a notable differentiator for us in the Denver area," says Susan Maxwell, principal and COO of Zocalo. "Our building is registered for LEED Gold certification, making it one of the smarter and more sophisticated properties in the region. By offering gigabit speeds to our residents as an additional amenity through Xfinity Communities, we are providing the infrastructure needed to support smart home and environmental technology, which are two very important priorities in Colorado."

Located at First Avenue and Steele Street, the 12-story building features a mix of studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments averaging 902 square feet in size. Each unit has custom tile flooring, quartz countertops, an in-suite front-loading washer and dryer and keyless entry. Many units also offer private balconies and California closet designs in the master suites.

Community amenities include:
  • A rooftop swimming pool and community lounge, featuring a chef's kitchen and outdoor grills
  • Concierge services
  • Health and fitness center with space for meditation and yoga
  • Climate-controlled garage with spaces to accommodate all residents
  • An exclusive entrance for residents into The Kitchen, the highly-rated, farm-to-table restaurant opening on Coda's ground floor in 2017
"We're thrilled to be open and to be offering a truly boutique hotel-type lifestyle in one of Denver's most sought-after neighborhoods," Maxwell says.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Tech companies lease more space than other industries

High-tech companies accounted for the most leasing of any other industry in 2015, according to a recent report from CBRE Research.

Last year, high-tech companies accounted for 16.5 percent of the total square footage leased in metro Denver. Across the state, high-tech encompasses 15.5 million square feet.

"There is migration from submarket to submarket -- for example, downtown Denver is more tech-focused today than ever -- and between property types, with traditional office space still dominating but tech firms now occupying everything from co-working space to industrial/flex buildings," says Katie Murtaugh, research analyst and CBRE Denver. "The industry's evolution has led to unique submarket trends in terms of the type and maturity of high-tech companies that locate in specific areas and the format of the space they lease."

Of Colorado's 15.5 million square feet occupied by the high-tech industry, defined in the report as high-tech services and manufacturing, hardware companies were the largest occupiers of real estate at 6.5 million square feet. The next highest user is software publishing at 4.4 million square feet, followed by business services at 2.4 million square feet.

Subsector diversification varies by submarket. In downtown Denver, software business services and cloud make up a combined 70 percent of the high-tech footprint. Hardware, Colorado's largest overall subsector, has a significant presence in the northwest and Boulder submarkets at 7.7 percent and 33.6 percent, respectively but it's Fort Collins and Colorado Springs that see the lion's share at 88.6 percent and 76.8 percent, respectively.

"The diversification of Colorado's high-tech sector comes as a surprise to many people, Murtaugh says. "Subsectors like social media and e-commerce frequently receive a lot of fanfare, but it's our state's hardware, software publishing and business services tech companies that have the largest footprint. Overall, a diversified tech sector is a healthy sector and the best-positioned to weather any one subsector's storm."

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Content delivery network Fastly opens in LoDo

The San Francisco-based real-time content delivery network Fastly has opened is fifth office in Denver.

The 2,200-square-foot space at 1445 Market St. will house eight Denver-area employees in sales and product development. Fastly helps companies accelerate web content to end users. The company also has offices in San Francisco, New York, London and Tokyo.

"Fastly chose Denver as its latest location because of easy access to companies in the Midwest and mountain states," said Jonathan Candee, director of sales for Fastly's central region and leader of the Denver office. "The city's vibrant community of technology talent, market-leading tech companies and growth-focused venture-funded startups made Denver an easy choice."

Denver has been a key to Fastly's geographic strategy since October 2014, when the company opened a downtown Denver technical Point of Presence (PoP), which is wihtin walking distance of its new LoDo office.

"Our larger network reach and increased capacity will help allow current and future customers share our dedication to high-quality web experiences," says Artur Bergman, Fastly CEO. "Fastly thanks its customers for contributing to our rapid growth. We're honored to be supporting them along the way."

The Fastly content delivery network gives businesses complete control over how they serve content, access to real-time performance analytics and the ability to cache frequently changing content. The company powers popular online destinations, including Twitter, the Guardian, Fast Company, Pinterest and Shazam.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

$300,000 loan to help NextHealth expand

NextHealth Technologies has received a $300,000 small-business loan from the Denver Office of Economic Development to help fund its expansion.

NextHealth Technologies, a healthcare predictive analytics company, has leased office space at 1675 Larimer St. and plans to grow from 15 to 60 technical development jobs within three years.

"We were attracted to NextHealth on multiple levels," says Paul Washington, executive director of OED. "Their experienced executive team, particularly CEO Eric Grossman's success with TriZetto and other entrepreneurial ventures in this very competitive field, has a proven grack record. Their commitment to being in Denver and the exceptional quality of the technical jobs they're creating were also major factors that strongly fit our lending strategy."

NextHealth's mission is to improve outcomes and reduce costs by helping patients make more informed choices about their health. The company says its customers are seeing a 20 percent reduction in emergency room visits and costs within a targeted Medicaid population. NextHealth's platform incorporates advanced analytics, behavioral economics and consumer engagement techniques to predict risk and prescribe personalized member-level actions to improve outcomes.

"We are very proud and excited to partner with Denver to build a legacy of healthcare innovation and local job growth," Grossman says. "We're committed to create even more Denver-based tech jobs in this burgeoning healthcare environment."

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

$30,000 prize, professional services will be awarded to BizPlan Award winner

The Denver Office of Economic Development will honor the best and brightest ideas in small business again this year through the JumpStart BizPlan Awards.

The office will select three startup and early-stage companies as finalists who will pitch their concepts at a live event Sept. 28 during Denver Startup Week.

The top prize package includes $30,000 cash, legal counsel provided by Polsinelli and strategic marketing services from dovetail solutions. 

"Incredible innovations, products and services are sprouting from firms of all levels and across many industries throughout Denver," says Mayor Michael Hancock. "By spotlighting these rising stars, we hope to spur investment opportunities, open up access to new markets and ultimately help the finalists to attain their growth plans."

The BizPlan Awards are open to startups, as well as established businesses with up to 25 employees that have been in operation for up to five years. The businesses must reside or plan to reside in Denver. Applications will be accepted through Aug. 14, or until 150 entries have been received.

"The JumpStart BizPlan Award is an opportunity to publicly recognize and celebrate our strong culture of innovation," says Paul Washington, executive director of OED. "We’re challenging entrepreneurs to bring forth their best ideas, from which we can help grow jobs, expand the tax base and make Denver a better place to live, work and play."

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

WorldRemit establishes North American headquarters in Denver

Denver will be the North American headquarters of WorldRemit, a London-based financial services firm.

The firm has leased 11,126 square feet of office space at 600 17th St. in downtown Denver. It expects to open the office early next year with a staff of 100 anticipated by December 2015. The company projects its staff will grow to 218 employees within five years.

"Denver's position as a top city for business, startups and innovation continues to grow fervently thanks to leading firms like WorldRemit that choose to locate here," says Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. "We're extremely proud to welcome another top-notch financial tech firm, providing a growing base of primary jobs to fuel our economy."

WorldRemit offers an online money transfer service with a global reach of more than 110 countries and is currently expanding its services to include the United States. Last month, the company added 15 Latin American countries. Earlier this year, Accel Partners, an early backer of Facebook, Spotify and Dropbox, invested $40 million in WorldRemit.

"Denver offers the perfect combination of a highly skilled workforce, supportive local authority and idyllic location," says Ismail Ahmed, founder and CEO of WorldRemit. "The city is already gaining a reputation as a go-to destination for the burgeoning financial tech sector and stealing the thunder of New York and Silicon Valley."

The Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade has approved incentives totaling up to $3.4 million, including Job Growth Incentive Tax Credits and Colorado First job-training grant incentives. The Denver Office of Economic Development has pledged an additional $110,000 of incentives, including support from the city's Business Incentive Fund, business personal property tax credits and workforce development support.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Fast-growing NIMBL relocating to Art District on Santa Fe

Over the last six months, NIMBL has hired more than 50 full-time employees, forcing the software company to find larger space to accommodate its growth.

NIMBL expects to relocate next month from its current space in the Taxi complex in RiNo to a 13,000-square-foot warehouse over an old Phillips 66 gas station it’s retrofitting at 800 Kalamath St. in the heart of the Art District on Santa Fe.

"We’re overflowing in our current space," says Yosh Eisbart, NIMBL’s CEO. "I don’t even have a desk."

Designed by local architecture firm Studio H:T, the old gas station’s service bays will remain in place, and the convenience store portion of the building will be used as a conference room. The building also will include a yoga room, barista bar and gym.

"Studio H:T has done an amazing job of helping us create a very innovative, creative office space, which works really well within the existing footprint," Eisbart says.

Eisbart and Michael Pytel, the company’s CTO, founded NIMBL in 2009 to provide software services to companies running SAP. German multinational SAP is the world’s largest business software company, offering a wide range of enterprise software spanning resource planning to mobile.

"Our consultants focus on helping solve our clients’ SAP problems," says Eisbart. NIMBL clients include ExxonMobil and PepsiCo.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Commerce Kitchen moves to 5,600 sq ft space in West Wash Park

Rapid growth during the past few years prompted website developer and designer Commerce Kitchen to pull up stakes from its Curtis Park location and move to a 5,600-square-foot space in the West Washington Park neighborhood.

Five years ago, Commerce Kitchen had two employees working from rented space at 515 30th St. Today, the number of employees has grown to 15. The company expects to have 20 employees by the end of the year.

“We hired six people in the last six months,” says Spokeswoman Jamie Hollier. “But we don’t want to grow too fast. Our culture is very important to us.”

Located at 600 S. Broadway across from the Denver Design Center, 10-year-old Commerce Kitchen considers itself a company of Internet superheroes, with services including custom web development, design and Internet marketing.

“There seems to be a lot of rejuvenation starting to happen in the neighborhood,” Hollier says about West Wash Park.

Commerce Kitchen has installed new flooring, repaired walls and upgraded the lighting in the two-story firehouse that dates from the 1890s.

“People wanted us to put the pole back in, but it’s too dangerous,” Hollier says. “If you go down it the wrong way, you can really mess up your legs.”

Commerce Kitchen collaborates with a couple of other companies, including Lark IT and the recently launched Grit advertising agency, formed by former Karsh + Hagan executives Sean Topping and Holly Menges. Lark IT is subleasing space from Commerce Kitchen and Grit often sets up work space in the building.
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