Maximizing the economic potential of Colorado science and technology companies

SBDC TechSource

Stratom

Stratom Inc., founded by Mark Gordon in 2001, is a Boulder-based unmanned robotics engineering and manufacturing firm. Stratom provides integrated solutions and products to government and commercial clients around the globe. Prior to founding Stratom, Mark worked in Sr. Management for various high tech companies. There he witnessed the volatility of the high tech industry and its move to outsource many of its products and services to foreign markets. Mark decided that he wanted to build a company for growth and stability. Early on, Stratom focused on consulting, new product development, product launches, and product transfer services for clients like Advanced Energy Corp, UC Denver, and the National Veterans Training Institute. Mark recalls that it is was through UCD that they were introduced to government contracting opportunities.

Seeing government markets as being less volatile, offering long term contract opportunities and having greater long run stability, Mark decided to take the company in a new strategic direction. In the 2007-08 timeframe, Stratom shifted it focus to robotics and R&D. Bootstrapping the business, winning research dollars and government contract awards as well as increasing product sales, the company grew. Today, Stratom has set itself apart with a strong mix of subject experts and engineers who understand their target customers’ needs. They develop products and design services that have an identified need and market. Stratom engineers have a strong background in commercial products and they know how to bring Stratom’s products to market.

When asked what factors have been critical to Stratom’s growth, Mark says that the SBDC, his strong Advisory Board and the Rocky Mountain AUVSI chapter (Association of Unmanned Vehicles Systems International where he now serves on the National Board) have been instrumental to his company’s growth and success.
“As an early stage company, before setting up my Advisory Board, the SBDC team of consultants was a great sounding board for me,” Mark recounts. As the company began to grow, Mark took advantage of SBDC classes around Sales and Marketing and HR topics like Workman’s Compensation. He sent his staff to SBDC classes for training. As an advanced technology company, Mark has taken advantage of the Colorado Emerging Ventures (CEV) programming and team of consultants. The CEV team has provided market research and analysis around commercial applications for Stratom’s products and services.

“Now that we’ve moved on to become a second stage company – just shy of 30 employees — we’ve become involved with the SBDC Advanced – Economic Gardening program with one-on-one consulting, looking at some new markets that we’re trying to engage in” says Mark. “These would be new national and international commercial markets where we are trying to use our robotics systems across new applications. With this new full year program we get a lot of strategic consulting advice, research and one-on-one services to help us focus on these new markets and grow the company.”

In describing his experience over the years with the SBDC, Mark says, “I have been so impressed with the professionalism and passion of everyone working with the SBDC. They are not only willing to help, but they know how to help. There is a vast level of experience that I can tap into to help my business succeed.” It was through networking at CEV workshops and Chamber events that he also found his invaluable extended team of professionals and mentors. As a result, Mark has been a tremendous supporter of and advocate for the SBDC. He has been a keynote lunch presenter at SBDC’s full-day Emerging Ventures Event and participated in SBDC workshops, sharing his vast business expertise and advice with other Boulder County businesses.

Boulder Acupuncture and Herbs

Boulder Acupuncture and Herbs is a small business that is founded, run and owned by Norah Charles, an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist. What makes Boulder Acupuncture and Herbs unique is that Norah works primarily with patients over 70 years old. Norah treats senior clients with a host of difficulties, including chronic pain, depression, and isolation. In addition to her acupuncture, Norah uses over 300 Chinese herbs for distinct wellness purposes. Starting a business is not

Read More »
Plains To Peaks Chocolate

Plains to Peak Chocolate Company is run by Sunni Sylvester and her husband Jeff. The two did not always have aspirations to make their own chocolate, but like many businesses today, a simple passion and idea can be all it takes to start something great. The direction of your business career can be random, and that is exactly what happened with Sunni and Jeff. “We started randomly. I would buy chocolate, look at the ingredients,

Read More »
ERC Insulation

ERC Insulation is a local, majority woman-owned and operated business based in Boulder, Colorado, serving Boulder, Denver, Jefferson, Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin Counties. The story surrounding the formation of ERC Insulation began in 2006, when Elton and Christine Randall formed Elton Construction and Design. Elton had difficulty finding a spray foam contractor for his jobs, so he sought a solution to this problem. Elton purchased a trailer with a spray foam reactor, which he could

Read More »
Bookcliff Vinyards

“We like drinking wine!” was the simple and honest reason that Ulla Merz and her husband John Garlich decided to open a winery and vineyard. “We started collecting wine in the 1970’s and grew grapes in our backyard. In 1994 we took grape growing and wine making classes and bought a vineyard in an area of Palisade called the Vinelands. That’s where we planted our first grapes in 1996. Bookcliff Vineyards was launched in 1999

Read More »
Sante Fe Coffee and Burrito Company

Arturo Maestas launched the Santa Fe Coffee and Burrito Company, in Longmont, CO, on April 11, 2011. Santa Fe Coffee and Burrito Company is a Spanish and Southwest restaurant with a diverse menu, featuring both Spanish and American style dishes. Arturo has relatives in Albuquerque, NM and sought to bring the ambiance of Santa Fe, NM, to Longmont, CO. Arturo remodeled the entire restaurant with the help of few family members and friends. The beautiful

Read More »
InDevR

InDevR is a small, privately held biotechnology company in Boulder, CO. Founded in 2003, by Dr. Kathy Rowlen, Dr. John Birks and Dr. Laura Kuck, InDevR employs a highly motivated team of individuals dedicated to the development and commercialization of innovative technologies that will help fill gaps in the current paradigm for virus-related diagnostics. InDevR develops advanced life science instrumentation and assays for analysis of viruses and other microorganisms. Their goal is to revolutionize microbiological

Read More »