Colorado Springs Venture Attractor awards $100,000 in Torch Grants

The Colorado Springs Venture Attractor, an initiative of the UCCS El Pomar Institute for Innovation and Commercialization (EPIIC), awarded two $50,000 Torch Grants to innovative local startups during its 2023 Spark The Springs Celebration. The event, held in Berger Hall on the UCCS campus, showcased the vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region and featured a keynote address from renowned local entrepreneur Vance Brown. 

Established in 2020 by Thomas Duening, the Venture Attractor’s mission is to position Colorado Springs as a global destination for ventures capable of leveraging the region’s natural industry clusters and economic amenities to scale and thrive. 

The Venture Attractor plays a pivotal role in catalyzing the local startup community through its developmental program, the Scale to $1 Million Boot-Up Camp. This four-month program equips ventures with the skills and strategies needed to thrive, culminating in the opportunity to pitch for a non-equity Torch Grant. 

This year’s Torch Grant recipients, both standout local startups, received $50,000 each: 

SendMyGear: A digital logistics (SAAS) platform revolutionizing adventure travel shipping. SendMyGear offers a one-stop solution for adventure travelers, providing shipping labels, instructions, supplies, and enhanced insurance options through a custom-built API. The platform presents exciting opportunities for rapid expansion into other industry segments. 

Altitude Movement: An obstacle-based movement training gym located in Colorado Springs, Altitude Movement is dedicated to building strength, coordination, confidence, and mental toughness. Their innovative approach helps individuals overcome an ever-changing assortment of challenges, preparing them to conquer any obstacle. 

Funding for Torch Grants is made possible through the generosity of donors and benefactors committed to advancing the region’s economic resilience through support for entrepreneurs and startups. Major donors for the 2023 Torch Grants include UCCS alumnus Jim Waldrop, local investment firm AllPro Capital, and the El Pomar Institute for Innovation and Commercialization (EPIIC). 

Supporters for the event included the UCCS College of Business, Integrity Bank, K.F.E Everywhere, and Goat Patch Brewing. 

In a testament to the success of past initiatives, the Venture Attractor highlighted three grant recipients from its 2022 Spark the Springs event—Salt Athletic, Defender Imports, and LeadFoot Racing. Collectively, these ventures have surpassed expectations, generating over $1 million in revenue and creating more than a dozen new jobs. 

The Colorado Springs Venture Attractor continues to play a crucial role in fostering innovation, growth, and economic resilience in the region, solidifying its position as a key driver of Colorado Springs’ entrepreneurial success.