Wednesday, November 01, 2000

The Cyber Scene in Denver ~ by Suzanne Lainson

On November 1, I was invited over to ClickPLAY, which was started
in Boulder two year ago, but has been keeping a low profile until
now. The company delivers online multimedia content without the
need for players or plug-ins. They recently signed a deal with GEO
Interactive to package and deliver audio and video clips for
Emblaze-enabled mobile telephones and other wireless handheld
devices. Since staffers were in the process of moving to bigger
offices (right now they are located in what could be considered
Boulder's music row, an area that includes record companies W.A.R.
and Silver Wave), I met with communications coordinator Rich Sharp
and CEO Alan Kaplan at Alan's nearby home (which can best be
described as Boulder Zen). In a not-too-distant past life he won a
number of awards as founder and CEO of music publishing and record
label company Music West. He told me they are working hard to find
the application interaction that best delivers in a world where a
video screen is common to all devices, and a phone keypad is common
to all handset devices.

On November 2 I headed down to Denver for a dinner hosted by
eManage (an Internet systems management company) at the Brown
Palace. It's been a few years since I stopped in there and I had
forgotten how impressive it can be. A Denver landmark, it opened in
1892 when Colorado was in the middle of its silver and gold mining
boom. For eManage to have its meeting there was a very, very nice
touch. (An aside: I'm also taken by their embossed business cards.
Among the many cards that I see, theirs is one of my favorites.)

A few of us arrived early and we gathered to have drinks in the
Tavern. The group included Pete Estler, managing partner of VC firm
iBelay, Andre Pettigrew, marketing VP of FastIdeas Accelerator,
Sheldon Gregory, ASP director of Q Strategies, Christopher French,
president of Great Prairie Ventures, and eManage's Jim Kloberdanz,
central district manager, and Keenan Klinger, co-founder and
executive VP of sales and marketing. Although there was some
discussion about the flattened IPO market, there was no sense of
doom-and-gloom. It was the usual "we're happy to be in Colorado"
conversations I always hear at local tech events. The mantra is
lifestyle, lifestyle, lifestyle. Although the local press is
starting to run stories about dot-com closings and the downturn in
telecom stocks, the Colorado boom continues on. As proof, I point
you to an article by The Denver Post indicating that local tech
companies are doing well. ("Key index shows state techs strong",

Once we finished our drinks and headed upstairs to the conference
room, I saw a mix of familiar and new faces among the approximately
150 invited guests. I ran into Alex Teitz, editor-in-chief of He mentioned that his company had just entered into
some strategic partnerships and that he had recently done some
interesting interviews (a couple of the names I caught were Eve
Adams and Mackenzie Phillips). He said that running a music site
from Denver works just fine for him. He keeps up with all the
stories from both coasts, plus has easy access to the Colorado
music scene.

I also talked to another media person, Safa Alai, COO of Consumer
Advantage News Network. The start-up company plans to have both an
online and television presence. Safa comes to Colorado after having
lived in Iran and England.

I also talked shop (I'm from SportsTrust) to several folks from
sports-related companies, including Aprille Hill, office manager of
Athletic Motion, and Patrick Payton, executive partner of Golf
Tango. Over dinner (and a very nice salmon dinner it was), he and I
were discussing the key to online sports retailing which, we both
agreed, was to work closely with offline retailers, particularly
the pro shops and other niche retailers who have built up a loyal

Noteworthy was the fact that Michael Sly, senior regional manager
of Red Herring, was there. Based in San Francisco, he was in town
lining up various CEOs to appear at some of Red Herring's
conferences. His friend, Sara Gutterman, an associate with Boulder
Ventures Limited, brought him along to this event. With a member of
the West Coast financial media in attendance, it was a great
opportunity to plug the Convergence Corridor - which, as it just so
happened, was the subject of Pete Estler's presentation. Or more
specifically, he was telling us that promoting the area should be a
grassroots effort. He gave us a list of ten reasons Colorado is a
great place to start a business (e.g., a high concentration of tech
workers, a highly educated workforce, the quality of life, an
entrepreneurial spirit, responsive government) and suggested that
we tout those benefits to others. All and all, a successful pep-