Alex Bogusky — former ad man and current Boulder-based serial entrepreneur — wanted to find a way to converge the local startup and creative industries.
Bogusky, who once served as a principal of irreverent ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, recently teamed with media, marketing and technology veterans to launch Boomtown, a startup accelerator aimed at growing firms in the ad-tech, media and design spaces.
Other founders of Boomtown include Toby Krout, Jose Vieitez and Stephen Groth.
"It was obvious that the action (in the advertising industry) was not on the agency side of things, it's really in these startups," Bogusky said. "...I was always jealous of all the little startups when I had a 1,000-person company."
About 170 companies from across the globe applied for the 12-week program and six were selected for the inaugural class.
Each company receives $20,000 in seed money, plus additional services, support and perks valued at $740,000. The companies will receive advice and tips from more than 70 mentors.
Bogusky said he hopes that the program can help companies with "crazy, big potential" and to develop a program that complements existing operations — notably local startup accelerator TechStars — to further Boulder's tech and creative hubs.
The intention is to have two Boomtown classes during the course of each year.
Here's a rundown of Boomtown's first class, which got under way last week:
Founded: July 2013
Description: Creator of API (application programming interface) that allows for cloud-based image processing and analysis.
The intention behind the API is to help developers build the next generation of photo-centric applications, said co-founder Nick Parsons.
What Boomtown could mean: The resources and the mentors' feedback could be critical for the burgeoning firm, Parsons said, adding that he and co-founder Dustin Higginbotham are working to increase the speed of the API.
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Founded: March 2013
Description: A Dallas-area firm that is developing a "smart doorbell" that incorporates facial recognition technology, wi-fi, audio, video and motion-sensing. The Chui device, which also can serve as a security and monitoring product inside the home or business, provides an alert when someone arrives at the front door.
Chui can allow for real-time communication between the owner and the subject or the delivery of pre-recorded messages. The product can be incorporated with automated locking and lighting systems so that if it recognizes an individual, it can perform certain tasks such as unlocking the door or turning on the lights, said co-founder Shaun Moore.
What Boomtown could mean: To help the company tailor its product and approach as it nears a commercial launch.
College Press Club
Founded: August 2012
Description: Operator of a digital ad management program that serves as a bridge between advertisers and student-operated publications. The site also allows for content sharing between publications.
The company was founded by former student journalists Alex Kronman and Ben Quam.
"There was no efficient way for national advertisers to reach a college paper," Kronman said.
What Boomtown could mean : Kronman said he has "two dueling visions" for the company that involve journalism and advertising. The advice provided by experienced mentors could assist in giving the company a stronger focus, he said.
Hometown: Los Angeles
Founded: April 2012
Description: Developer of a content marketing platform that allows companies to write articles or have articles written for them. In turn, publishers such as bloggers can then decide to include the content on their sites.
Some of Content BLVD's clients include Expedia, Nestle and The Home Depot.
What Boomtown could mean : Help with the user experience and user interface design, introductions to investors and help with creating a "product that kicks (expletive)," said Dan Ripoll, Content BLVD's co-founder and chief executive officer.
Founded: Late 2013
Description: A site that allows professionals to receive feedback about what their photos convey. Users of the site can rank a photo on aspects such as how competent, likeable and influential the subject appears. Users also can add notes about the quality of the photo or to provide suggestions.
The site runs on reciprocity, co-founder Ann Peterson said, noting that after respectfully scoring other photos then receive credits to have their photos scored.
What Boomtown could mean : To help the company realize its vision, determine when to expand and how to grow.
Description: Developer of a wearable "smart collar" that enables dog training and tracking. The device is enabled with a global positioning system tracker, accelerometer, Bluetooth and connects to an app that has an algorithm that recognizes and records behaviors. The "gameified" app can then be connected with social networks.
What Boomtown could mean : "We definitely want to tap into their creative energy" to help with the design, advertising and marketing for the product, said Sean G. Kelly, founder and chief executive officer.
Kelly said that Boulder is one of the cities where the company is considering establishing its headquarters.
Contact Camera Business Writer Alicia Wallace at 303-473-1332 or email@example.com