2014 is continuing to be a solid year for Colorado’s digital companies. In Q2 2014, these companies raised $191 million in total, which is nearly double the amount raised in Q2 2013.
The bigger picture of 2014 so far is a good one, too: the amount of funding raised in the first half of 2014 totals $281 million, a 56 percent increase over the first half of 2013.
Datalogix, a company that curates audiences based on purchases, raised the most in the last six months with a $45 million round, which brings the company’s total funding to $86.5 million. The 250-person company is reported to be in talks with Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Barclays about going public this year.
Welltok, a health management platform that helps healthcare providers and payers reward their members for healthy behavior, raised $22.5 million. Part of that investment came from the Watson Group, an IBM division named for the super-computer that beat Ken Jennings at Jeopardy.
On the consumer front, several companies had robust funding rounds as well. Orbotix , a company that produces smartphone-controlled robots, raised $15.5 million. Pioneering the connected play industry with robots Sphero and Ollie, the company is using the capital to continue improving upon its software and hardware.
Ibotta , a cash-back rewards app, raised $22 million. Its round was led by legendary Netscape and Silicon Graphics founder Jim Clark. With over 3 million users, the app works with more than 80 leading retailers in over 100,000 locations in the country.
Clearly, more and more bets are being placed on digital startups in Colorado. And those bets are paying off, as 14 Colorado tech companies were acquired or IPO'd in the first half of 2014. Most notably is Mercury Payment Systems ' $100 million IPO. A month after that, the payment services company was acquired for $1.65 billion.
Mercury Payment Systems is building out a so-called “Social POS” software that empowers merchants to identify, acquire and retain customers by tracking their behavior. As marketers and advertising agencies become more and more interested in ensuring a return on their advertising investments, technology that closes the advertise-purchase loop, like Mercury’s, will become even more valuable.
Gnip, a social data mining company, also made an impressive exit when its long-time partner Twitter acquired it for $175 million. The company provides value by collecting, filtering and providing insights into historical and real-time social media streams.
Lastly, news and entertainment company Examiner.com , which is ranked as the 37th most trafficked website in the US by Quantcast, was purchased for an undisclosed amount by AXS, AEG's digital ticketing and media platform.
These large exits represent a state that, as a whole, continues to mature into a robust digital ecosystem.