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Agility Recovery moves HQ to metro Denver

Agility Recovery, a company that provides disaster recovery equipment and support within 48 hours of an event like a hurricane or flood, is moving its headquarters from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Westminster, to allow it to continue growing its business. With the move, the company will add to its local staff of more than 100 to meet the needs of its clients throughout North America. 

"In addition to the existing base of employees here in Denver, we plan to bring an additional 40-plus positions here," says Hyune Hand, Agility Recovery CEO. "This includes some that will relocate from the Charlotte office, and an additional 30-plus that will be new hires in this office."

The company has distribution and testing centers throughout North America, offering power generators, communications connectivity, office space and computers and other services to businesses, municipalities -- and more, that need to recover from an event. The company says it can help its clients reach functioning operations within two days of an event.

"The decision was made to better accommodate the growth of our organization while continuing to enhance access and service delivery to current and future customers," Hand explains. "By moving to Denver, we are better able to access the region's growing talent pool, while at the same time, becoming more centrally located in order to better serve our customer base. Physical recovery and support activities will continue to be facilitated from our various operations and distribution facilities across North America."

As the company grows its presence in Denver it will seek a variety of employees in different career tracks including sales, account management, finance, marketing, product development and more. "Leadership is seeking entrepreneurial leaders in key areas to facilitate the next evolution of an established, proven industry-leading firm with exponential growth potential," she says.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Trustpilot to open new office, add 40 jobs in Denver

Trustpilot, an online ratings and review company based in Denmark, opened an office in Denver on May 1. The company will hire at least 40 people to handle its customer growth in western U.S.

Trustpilot offers a TrustScore of businesses based on recent reviews of a company’s services or offerings. The company says it has more than 19 million consumer reviews from and that its online community is growing by 10,000 users a day. They have produced 120,000 businesses and is live in 27 companies.

"Since establishing a U.S. presence less than three years ago, Trustpilot has enjoyed a tremendous growth trajectory here, stemming from the increasing expectation for trust and transparency between businesses and their customers," explains Fred Mather, Trustpilot's general manager, Americas.

The company says it chose Denver over other cities "because of its growing technology industry, its reputation as a hub of innovation and strong local talent pool." Trustpilot plans on hiring everything from account executive to sales managers for the new Denver office. The new positions will expand the company’s workforce by roughly 20 percent.

The office will be based in the new WeWork space in LoDo and will be one of the first tenants in the space. The company says it plans to search for its own office space and to sign a permanent lease later this year.

Trustpilot says its hires in Denver will receive the same benefits it offers at all of its employees around the world. Among them: sit-stand desks, catered weekly lunches and breakfasts, extracurricular activities, paid family leave and generous paid time off.

The company lists open positions on its website.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.


Denver seeks public comment on four-year workforce plans

City officials is seeking comments on its workforce development services and program plans for the next four years. The plan is a draft for the city's state and federally funded workforce development services and programs and will help guide Denver as it strives to maintain a vibrant community with plenty of job and career opportunities.

The Denver Office of Economic Development said the report is designed to implement a "one-stop model that integrates WIOA [Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act] and [Temporary Assistance for Needy Families] TANF programs into a seamless service delivery system." It will help the city plan how it will prepare the workforce of today and tomorrow. That includes developing places like The Commons on Champa to help encourage entrepreneurship and innovation.

The plan will help the city and its citizenry identify career pathways and develop learning experiences that are business-driven, including transitional jobs, professional internships and on-the-job training, with a focus on developing apprenticeship programs in areas including IT and advanced manufacturing. It also will assist the city in developing a preferred training provider list that will offer clear and transparent information to prospective students about career pathways and preferred education and training programs for potential careers.

People, businesses and organizations may comment on the Denver WIOA 2016-2020 Area Plan through April 30. Public comments may be provided to Cindy Gaertner at cindy.gaertner@denvergov.org.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.


Denver OED helped create and retain more than 7,000 jobs in 2015

The Denver Office of Economic Development (OED) released its annual report showing it hand a hand in creating 4,164 new jobs and retaining 3,076 jobs in 2015.

"Denver's hardworking employers, employees and entrepreneurs enjoyed a year of recording-breaking progress on many economic fronts," says Mayor Michael Hancock. "Their tenacity, coupled with the city's efforts to sustain and grow a next-generation economy built on Denver's traditional strengths, has simultaneously attracted new ventures, new industries, and thousands of new residents." 

The jobs, as well as 628 affordable housing units, are proof of the effectiveness of the $304 million in strategic investments made last year. Those came in the form of incentives, tax credits, loans, and training assistance programs to help 89 firms expand in Denver in 2015.

Among the highlights were two incentive packages offered to major companies. One helped United Airlines consolidate its national flight training program to Stapleton. That will bring an additional 250 jobs to Denver while retaining roughly 400 positions. The other aided Costco's decision to open a business-services store in Denver. It will bring more than 100 sustaining wage jobs to the Athmar Park neighborhood.

Other major companies will continue to add jobs in Denver, according to the report. Just a handful will add thousands of jobs, they include FiveStars, KPMG, Comcast, Sunrun, Gusto, Transamerica, DaVita and Optiv.

"We've had an exciting run of new jobs from both startups and corporate locations, and at the same time posted major gains in the Mayor's ambitious 3x5 plan for affordable housing," asserts OED Executive Director Paul Washington. "It's critical that we continue to excel across a spectrum of public-investment strategies and tactics, so that the astounding growth momentum Denver has enjoyed can continue."

Denver's OED also took additional steps to help make the city more attractive for companies. Such steps include launching the Denver Manufacturing Map Tool and using OppSites to promote opportunities for companies. The manufacturing map details all manufacturing operations and support systems in Denver. OppSites also uses mapping and promotional data to showcase sites to developers, businesses and retailers across the U.S.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.


Colorado Aquaponics offering farming/fishery classes

For those looking to take their gardening skills to a whole new level there's aquaponics, a method of farming using aquaculture and hydroponics to grow both fish and food.

Sound confusing? It's a little more complicated than throwing seeds in the ground and watering them, but the mixed farming method significantly reduces water use and produces much more food in a small space. That's why Colorado Aquaponics is offering classes this spring to help people understand the benefits and opportunities such systems offer.

Basically, the fish waste in the system provide nutrients for the plants in the system., and the plants absorb the nutrients in the water and filter it for the fish.

The company is offering classes to help people understand and learn how to launch their own system in Denver from April 23-26 and again this fall from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1. The Denver-based company, which operates Flourish Farms at The GrowHaus, will also offer classes in California and Florida this year though partner Green Acre Aquaponics, says Flourish Farm Manager, Aquaponics Guru and Training Master Tawnya Sawyer.

"Colorado Aquaponics has offered workshops for home and hobby aquaponic enthusiasts since 2010," Sawyer says. "We have taught the Aquaponic Farming Course in Denver, Florida and California with our business partner, Green Acre Aquaponics, since 2012."

The four-day course costs $1,295, however it falls to $1,195 per person if multiple people from the same group join. In addition to the classes, students receive a detailed course workbook, design plans, and variety of online spreadsheets, log files and related resources, Sawyer adds. "Colorado Aquaponics offers support through consulting services, feasibility studies, site planning, business planning, crop rotations, vendor relationships and the like to help future farmers get up and running successfully," she says. 

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

State of Downtown Denver 2015 has plenty to praise

Last year, downtown Denver saw $1 billion in investments through completed projects. In 2015, that figure is expected to nearly double to $1.9 billion. That's just one key takeaway from the State of Downtown Denver 2015 event, hosted by the Downtown Denver Partnership (DDP) on March 24.

There was a host of data showing the recent successes of Denver and how the city is poised to keep growing -- for instance, residential population has grown 165 percent since 2010. "In order to ensure future success we need to understand what we did right to get us where we are today," explained DDP CEO Tami Door at the event.

"Last year, we welcomed 16 new companies in downtown. These companies, many of them having significant national and international brands, further endorse downtown Denver as a key business hubs," said Door, noting that many companies attributed their choices to Denver's premiere workforce, its mobility options for employees and the overall cool factor of the city center.

Door added that Denver is attracting significant amounts of Millennials, which is important to the city's future. "As we go forward two Baby Boomers will retire for each new employee entering the workforce," she explained. "This is not just a battle to get companies to move to our cities. this a battle to get the right type of workers here."

"We are quickly becoming recognized as a premier entrepreneurial hub," Door said. "Right now, we have 370 tech startups located in the core of downtown. These companies employ 3,000 individuals. That number is growing and is growing very fast."

Craftsy was one of those startups. Founder and CEO John Levisay explained that the company started in 2010 with four founders. "We're now over 260 employees and have 50 open jobs," he said. "It's been a great ride. When we were starting the company our primary investors told us we'd have to move the company to California, there wasn't enough talent here. We disagreed. We wanted to make this a Colorado company and we were committed to that and we still are."

In his comments Levisay attributed much of Denver's success in launching such companies to Denver's evolution into a commuter-friendly, city with ample access to travel options, among other things. For instance, 60 percent of Craftsy's employees take public transport, bike or walk to work, he said.

"Downtown Denver has done everything right in terms of urban planning, urban infill and residential for young employees," Levisay added. "Cost of commercial real estate and access to it is very reasonable. The engineering talent here is very strong."

Levisay also credited the success to Denver's unique "collective zeitgeist" that encompasses established companies in the region talking with startups. "Ten years from now, we'll be amazed as we get some startups that evolve into escape velocity and really achieve iconic stature."

Read the annual State of Downtown Denver report here.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

CLIMB helps Ivy League students intern with Denver companies

CLIMB (Colorado Leaders, Interns and Mentors in Business), a program developed and run on a volunteer basis by alumni of Ivy League schools, is celebrating its 10th year this fall. The internship program helps students from Yale, Middlebury, MIT, Stanford, Brown and Harvard get internships in Denver.

"We thought students should have more options than just California in terms of careers," says CLIMB President Micah Gurard-Levin, a volunteer for the program who works at Liberty Global. He was also an intern in the program in 2008. "We thought that bringing students to Denver would be a great way to showcase what Denver had to offer in terms of lifestyles and companies that are here."

"In 10 years, we've had about 15 students move here full time," Gurard-Levin says. He explains that some of the students in the program are first year student and not set on their career path, others may change their careers as they go forward in school.

"College students benefit from all sorts of career development opportunities to explore things they like or may end up not liking," adds Gurard-Levin, contending it's important for the students. "The second piece is helping companies in Colorado attract new talent to their companies and helping them expand beyond the relationships they already have with the some of the great schools that are here in Denver and in Colorado."

The program, which is now seeking companies to place interns with for summer 2015, according to Gurard-Levin. It has expanded with new companies and has even worked with startups operating out of Galvanize. "We realize the growth in the startup industry here in Denver and its a great fit. Grads and college students are really excited about entrepreneurialism and they want to be joining companies that have a great culture and are doing exciting things. We also work with large companies and nonprofits and medical and science research as well."

Interns in the CLIMB program stay in a dorm together. The $3,000 internships, including housing, are paid for by the sponsoring companies, according to Gurard-Levin. During their stay from May to August, they have a chance to be mentored, learn from guest speakers and go out and enjoy Colorado's outdoor activities like hiking and rafting.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Got an idea for a business? Register for Denver Startup Week

Denver Startup Week, which begins Sept. 15 and runs through Sept. 20, celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of Denver and Colorado by bringing together the public, private and nonprofits in the region to cross-pollinate ideas and teach people about starting a business. In its third year, the event is the largest free entrepreneurial event in the country, jam-packed with sessions, presentations by successful entrepreneurs, workshops, happy hours and more.

"We believe there should be no barrier to entry if you want to learn about starting a company," says Tami Door, President and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership and an organizing chair of the event. "That is why that core of no admission charges is at the core of this week -- everyone's invited."

Denver Startup Week launched in 2012. In 2013, it attracted more than 5,500 attendees, and 650 companies, showing the desire for such an event to connect the startup community and making it the largest such event in the nation. "Many of the segments of our community were operating in individual silos in more micro-communities. Our goal was to unite those communities and bring them all together," Door explains. To this end, the event has four tracks: business, design, tech and manufacturing.

"In Denver we have an amazing reputation for working extremely well across communities and across a wide array of stakeholders," Door adds. "We believe in the value of public-private partnerships and Denver startup week was founded on the premise that the public sector, the private sector and the nonprofit sector -- when they come together -- they're an extremely powerful platform."

There are over 125 events planned across downtown for the 2014 Denver Startup week. That's in addition to Basecamp at 1515 Arapahoe St., featuring keynote speakers and panelists. It will also include one-on-one mentoring sessions with local and national CEOs, founders, entrepreneurs and developers.

Entrepreneurs can register for the free event by clicking here.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Find local breweries and more with CraftedHere

Want to find the nearest or newest brewery or marijuana dispensary in Colorado? Check out Denver-based Craft Boom's recently launched app, CraftedHere.

The app is available on Apple and Android devices and the information also is available via craftedhere.us.

Craft Boom CEO Chase Doelling explains that the company launched the app about a month ago and are now starting to bring attention to it after a softer launch.

"What we're hoping to capitalize on now is cannabis tourism," Doelling says. "As people come in they're mainly focussed on trying cannabis because its legal. But there are all these breweries here and all this here and you can capture all the side markets. People might not know what's around the corner from them outside of just landing in downtown and wandering close to the center of the city."

Currently the app and site cover five categories of Colorado-friendly crafts: breweries, cannabis shops, coffee shops, distilleries and wineries. Doelling says the information is populated from state records and actual experiences. Information for each brewery includes information about their awards at the Great American Beer Festival. However, instead of customer reviews, the app uses badges to rate the sites.

Also, the map-based app can show users what's nearby. "So if you're in a brewery it will tell you what's the nearest coffee shop, the closest park and going down the list," Doelling says. In the future, the Craft Boom team could cover restaurants and other points of crafty interest, he adds.

At this point, the information is only available for Colorado and users can manually submit information about new breweries through email, but can't add them to the app or site. As the user base grows, Doelling hopes to expand it to more markets to the western U.S.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Backyard farmers get support from Denver's new cottage foods code

Denver's residents can now sell produce and goods thanks to the city's recently passed cottage foods code.

"This change will work to increase healthy food options for families and add new opportunities for supplemental earnings that can make a real difference in the economic and physical health of lower income residents," says Mayor Michael Hancock. "I want to recognize the Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council for recommending this policy change and I want to thank Councilmembers Robin Kniech, Susan Shepherd and Albus Brooks for leading the passage of this ordinance."

Under the text amendment, which went into effect July 18, residents in Denver can obtain a permit to sell their homegrown fruits, vegetables and herbs. They can also sell their chicken or duck eggs and unrefrigerated cottage foods like spices, teas, honey, jams, and certain baked goods. All products that they can sell are defined in the Colorado Cottage Food Act.

"The permit costs $20 and does not have to be renewed annually," says Andrea Burns of the Denver Department of Community Planning and Development. "It goes with the property so would only need to be replaced if the property changes ownership."

Under the new provision, residents will have to obtain a "home occupation" zoning permit, the city says. If a resident plans to sell cottage foods, they also have to complete a food safety course.   

"Denver has always been known as a city that appreciates farm-to-table and using fresh produce and locally sourced foods, but this new law creates a whole new level of urban farming that will allow the city to become one big farmer's market," says Visit Denver CEO Richard Scharf.

Scharf adds that many restaurants in and around Denver are already growing their own foods, like the Colorado Convention Center. The Blue Bear Farm is now growing 5,000 pounds of fresh fruits, vegetables and spices used in its kitchens.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

No items too large or small for Closetbox

A 1,000-square-foot apartment in Denver doesn't have enough space for two kayaks, skis, books, extra furniture, a mountain bike and road bike, skis, climbing gear and other outdoor goodies.

That's where Closetbox enters the picture. The company, which launched in early 2014, offers what it calls a concierge storage service that can accommodate people's needs -- no matter how large or small -- for storage.

"We are doing door-to-door delivery of storage," says Founder and CEO Markus J. Mollmann. "We are making storage convenient for busy folks living in an urban environment who live in smaller spaces."

Mollmann says they founded the company after he and wife had twins and started running out of space at home. He'd have to call friends to help move the items he couldn't handle himself. "There were two options before us: Hire a mover, which is $350 minimum for them to touch an item," he says. "We didn't want to go that route." The other option was self storage. "They'll give you a free truck and a free month which is fine but what we really needed was help moving so we incorporated both."

It follows that Closetbox offers storage based on customers' needs, according to Mollmann. That means a piece as small as a shoebox or a storage space like a 10-foot box. What's more, he says, the company makes storage as easy as printing up a label and ordering pick up and delivery of items at no extra charge.

Rates for the company's services start at as little as $15 a month and $2 per item. Or people can rent a storage space more like a conventional storage facility but still have the convenience of having the company pick up and drop off stored items within 24 hours.

In addition, rates are similar to those at self storage facilities in Denver, Mollmann says. The company's 100-square-foot units go for $143 a month. "Downtown, the most inexpensive storage facility in Denver is between $140 and $160 a month," he says. Such storage facilities also charge administration fees over $20 a month, push insurance and people have to secure their possessions with locks. Closetbox monitors the premises 24/7 and people can check on the status of their items anytime.

The service has grown quickly. "We're seeing two times growth month over month," says Mollman, adding that the company plans to expand.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Gociety creates social network for outdoor activities

Gociety, which recently launched out of Denver, has a simple motto: "Meet People. Get Outside. Be Awesome."

"What we do is we create a platform for people to link up have access to resources with the overall goal of everyone just getting outside as much as they can," explains Jason Antin, Gociety's Director of Partnerships.

The website allows people to register for free and create a profile on the site, explaining what activities they're interested in as well as their skill level. Members can then create an event using dropdown menus to select the sport and required skill level.

Event creators or leaders can either ask other people to participate based on their profiles and skill level or leave the event open to everyone in the community. It's not meant to make an event exclusive -- when an event requires specialized skills like knowledge of avalanche safety for backcountry skiing, it can put everyones' lives at greater risk to have beginners along.

"We want to provide options to them to do anything from a causal two-mile run around Wash Park to a rim-to-rim-to-rim trip to the Grand Canyon -- from very beginner to anything you can wrap your head around," Antin says.

Gociety's site had its hard launch in January 2014. By the end of April it already had a quickly growing user base, according to Antin.

"2014 is a big year of building community," he says, noting that mobile apps are forthcoming but not yet available. The plan is to roll out the next phase in 2015 and "continue to build up this platform to be your outdoor portfolio," he explains.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

FORETHOUGHT.net bringing gigabit speed to Denver

FORETHOUGHT.net is bringing gigabit per second speed Internet connections to Denver -- at last. The company recently installed fiber in an apartment building at 2330 Broadway, among the first apartments in Denver to offer fiber-based Internet service.

There aren't too many options for high-speed Internet for most Denver customers.The main choices for somewhat high-speed Internet are Comcast or CenturyLink. At about 50 megabits per second for Comcast and 40 Mb/s for CenturyLink, they're are a far cry from a screeching telephone modem topping out at 320 kilobits per second. While a telephone modem connection moves at a snail's pace, high-speed Internet walks, and FORETHOUGHT.net's gigabit fiber-optic options screams by in a rocket to Mars.

Even though there's far more bandwidth on Comcast's cable lines than old phone lines, there's still a lot of information -- cable TV, Internet and phone, going through the copper lines, which slows the transmission speed down. "That's the main advantage of having the fiber at the last mile,” says FORETHOUGHT.net Director of Business Development Patrick Mann. "Over a copper connection, that’s where things slow down. That direct fiber connection you're going to get that gigabit Internet and we do not throttle or put any limitations on the bandwidth or limits on the amount of downloads that our customers do on the Internet connection."

The foundation for the services offered by FORETHOUGHT.net were put in place in the 1990s, when dark fiber -- unused fiber optic cable -- was originally installed throughout parts of the region and state, Mann explains. He joined the company last December to expand its services to commercial buildings and multi-unit residences in Denver and throughout Colorado.

"It's a huge initiative for us to start driving the gigabit fiber into these large commercial buildings as well the multiple-home units giving the residents choice there as far as Internet service providers," Mann says. The set rates for the service are $70 a month for residents and $200 a month for commercial buildings -- Comcast's 50 Mb/s service has a base price of $50 a month.

Still, the new choice won’t be ubiquitous in Denver anytime soon. "Due to the buildout cost, we do have to do some pre-sales and gauge the interest as to how many customers we can get," Mann says, noting that it won’t be cost-effective for the company to come out and retrofit every home in a neighborhood anytime soon.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Cameras rolling for One Day in Denver on April 26

What do you want to say about Denver? What do you want people to know about Denver and what’s great or not so great here? That’s the focus of One Day in Denver, the local version of One Day on Earth's latest project, encouraging people to go out and film their cities and focus on the issues they think are important.

The project, which is taking place in 11 U.S. cities from New York to Los Angeles, will ultimately result in a three-part television series that will air on CPT 12 PBS locally, explains Kristin Nolan, the local producer for project. Nolan also produces the Starz Denver Film Festival and other projects in the city.

Nolan anticipates that roughly 200 films will be submitted locally. Some of them will be raw footage while others will be edited. Ultimately, they’ll become part of the larger project. "They'll be culled through and pieces to help highlight storylines will be pulled out and really speak to the overarching themes behind the event, which are: Where are we now? What do we appreciate? Why do we live in cities? What are some of the issues that we face living in cities? What are some resolutions to those issues that we’re looking at? All of those items will be highlighted in that series across the three parts."

"All of the participants, filmmakers, organizations, individuals are creating pages within our website and it's very much a social website, an interactive geotagged website where everyone can say:, 'Hey, here's who I am, here's what I do. Here's how you can engage with my work and here's what I’m bringing to the table for One Day in Denver." The site also features an interactive map with links to the other participating cities.



It's been a changing experience for Nolan. "I've sensed Denver in a way that I never have before and learned so very much about organizations and the passions and individuals," she says. "Other people can have that experience as they move through the map."

Videos must be filmed on April 26 and submitted by May 26. "If someone wants to do an edited piece I’d recommend one to four minutes," Nolan says. "Something dynamic that's digestible." Those uploading raw footage can upload more than one piece, but each is limited to 500 megabytes.

You can register to participate in the project here. Nolan is hosting an event April 17 at SPACE Gallery at 400 Santa Fe Dr. from 5:30-7:30 p.m. to discuss the project and answer questions.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Auckland Outdoors sets out to become the Airbnb of camping gear

Want to go camping for a weekend but don't have the gear or don't know where to go? Check out the recently launched Auckland Outdoors. The company offers competitively priced rentals ($8 a day for backpack, sleeping bag and tent) but it’s also designed as a peer-to-peer rental site, kind of like the Airbnb or Couchsurfing version of the outdoors. It's likely the first company to offer such services for camping.

So if you're traveling to Denver -- or live in Denver -- you can check out what’s available to rent, not just from Auckland Outdoors, but also from others who have registered to offer their gear, be it a camp stove, disc golf set, snowshoes or gaiters from the company's site Outdoors.io. Already about 150 people -- mainly from Denver but also San Francisco and other cities -- have signed up to either offer their gear or to rent gear from the company and others on the site, says Founder Rob Auston.

"Ultimately our mission is to make it easier for people to have outdoor experiences," Auston explains. "Who we’re really targeting is kind of that person that moved out here for the lifestyle…and they quickly find out that if I go spend $2,000 on a road bike I'm now limited to the other opportunities I can do because I can't afford to buy the gear."

He adds, "Sometimes not just about the cost, it's about the space. Living downtown in a 500-square-foot space. I just don’t have the space for all my gear."

The core of the site is now focused around the gear. But Auston observes that there are other important components to the outdoor experience. "There’s the community piece: 'Who can I do this with?' And the discovery piece, you know: 'Where can I go camping?' But right now our focus is just on the foundational piece, let's get that right and let's try and unlock all this gear that sits idle in people's closets most of the year,” he says. "We're starting to build some features around community and discovery aspects."

Auckland Outdoors, named after Auston’s experience in New Zealand, also has a bunch of the basic gear available for rental. "Eddie Bauer gave us $10,000 in camping gear. So we've got tents, sleeping bags, backpacks all ready for people to rent," he says. At this point all of that gear is still virgin -- after all, camping season in Colorado doesn't really get underway until May.

Whether you're a renter or a gear junky who wants to rent out gear when you’re not using it, you can register at the site for free. If you've got gear to rent, Auston says the process is pretty easy. "You can take a picture of whatever the gear is and put in the price you want and add a description," he explains. The gear owner can accept or reject requests and can set up a meeting place. Transactions are handled through Auckland Outdoors, which takes a 15 percent transaction fee.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.
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