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Telluride Venture Accelerator: Telluride Venture Accelerator Launches Second Year


Contact: Jesse Johnson



Telluride Venture Accelerator Launches Second Year 

Up to Six Companies will be Selected for 2014 Accelerator Class 

TELLURIDE, Colo. – (Sept. 3, 2013) – The Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA) is now accepting applications for its second year. The annual competition seeks talented entrepreneurs with high-growth businesses focused in the areas of natural and organic products; health and healthy living; tourism; recreation; outdoor products; energy; water; and education.  Up to six companies will be chosen to receive $25,000 in seed funding, valuable free services from companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, and a five-month residential mentoring program in Telluride, Colorado. During the program, the entrepreneurs will be provided shared office space, access to more than 60 entrepreneurs and business leaders, and the opportunity for follow-on investment from the region’s venture capital funds and angel network. The application deadline is October 23, 2013.


“We are proud of the success of our first year and excited about attracting exceptional high-growth companies in year two with founders eager to engage and capitalize on this unique opportunity,” said Jesse Johnson, TVA Director and Telluride Foundation Board Member. 


TVA’s inaugural year concluded in July 2013. One hundred investors gathered and 100 more joined online to hear the four 2013 winning companies pitch their businesses for follow-on funding to grow their businesses.  The 2013 TVA companies raised significant investment from the Telluride and state and regional community of investors.  The companies include:

  • (, a Denver-based company, co-founded by Sarah Fazendin and Maisa Fernandez, aggregates boutique hotel inventory in Africa, Asia and Latin America and makes it available for real-time, online booking with a patented business-to-business platform; 
  • High Desert Farms (6350' Natural Foods, founded by Bill Manning, the Dolores, Colorado-based natural and organic foods company offers consumers organic and regionally-sourced dried fruit snacks; 
  • Hyperlite Mountain Gear (, based in Maine and founded by Mike St. Pierre, the company designs, manufactures, and sells innovative, ultralight outdoor gear; it sets itself apart from industry traditions with its minimalist and simple design approach. Hyperlite Mountain Gear products are sold online and at retailers internationally; and
  • Telluride Action Designs (Hoggle Goggle founded by Telluride local Lara Young, the company creates ski and outdoor accessories with function and aesthetics that fill a void in the outdoor industry. Their first product, the Hoggle, is a self-storage lens cover that lives on the goggle band, integrating goggle protection directly into the helmet. 


The success of TVA is being measured by its direct and indirect impacts that include: the formation of the new Telluride Venture Fund, an investment fund to provide seed funding for local, state and regional start-ups, the establishment of two businesses with international reach that will be based in Telluride; and hosting of the region’s first ‘Startup Weekend’ which attracted 30 regional entrepreneurs and resulted in the formation of a new local company. These outcomes directly attributed to TVA underscore the developing ecosystem of entrepreneurship in the southwestern Colorado region.


“TVA is revealing its potential as a catalyst for a self-sustaining entrepreneurial ecosystem that is  bringing innovation, jobs, ideas and a renewed dynamism to the region,” stated Johnson. 


TVA is an initiative of the Telluride Foundation and supported by individual donors, the Kauffman Foundation, the Colorado Economic Development Commission, as well as receives corporate support from The Peaks Resort, ASAP Accounting and Payroll, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP attorneys at law, Verde PR and Great Lakes Airlines. For more information on TVA, visit


The Telluride Foundation exists to create a stronger Telluride community through the promotion and support of philanthropy. It is a nonprofit, apolitical community foundation that provides year-round support for local organizations involved in arts, education, athletics, charitable causes, land conservation and other community-based efforts through technical assistance, education and grant making. As a grant maker, the Foundation awards grants to qualified applicants that serve the people living and working in the Telluride area for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life within the region. For more information on the Telluride Foundation, visit