Sprinkler startup Rachio wins COIN and APEX contests, to launch spring 2014

Rachio took home the grand prize of $50,000 in funding and $25,000 of in-kind services at the Colorado Innovation Network's "Glorious Failure: In Search of Success Innovation Challenge" in late August and the the Colorado Technology Association's APEX Challenge in September.

Based at Galvanize, Rachio was born out of Denver Startup Weekend in 2012, at which it won the pitch challenge. The three-day startup creation event preceded Denver Startup Week.

The initial vision behind Rachio was "stopping sprinklers from wasting water here in Colorado," says Chris Klein, Head of Product and Co-Founder.

Rachio's flagship technology is Iro, which Klein describes as "an amazingly simple, Internet-connected, smart sprinkler system."

The $199 wireless gadget will be available next year. "We have a goal of shipping out first product in spring 2014 and we're really targeting April," says Klein.

Users simply sync their Iro with their smartphone and then they can control their sprinklers via an online portal from anywhere. They can choose an optimal sprinkling schedule for their reason or tailor it to their own specific needs.

The schedule automatically changes with the season, adds Klein. "We start dialing it back as fall begins."

Rachio, which means "the spine" in Latin, is currently looking for a contract manufacturer. Klein hopes to keep it local. "We are doing everything we can to manufacture here in Colorado," he says.

Longer term, the company is "looking to expand our product line as well as the software to run on that product," he adds.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Eric Peterson with tips and leads for future stories at eric@confluence-denver.com.

Read more articles by Eric Peterson.

Eric is a Denver-based tech writer and guidebook wiz. Contact him here.
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