Colorado Roundup: Missile Batteries, Blue Ocean, and Funding News

Here are a few bits of recent news from startups around Colorado:

Solid Power goes ballistic: Solid Power, a Louisville, CO-based startup spun out of the University of Colorado-Boulder, announced a unique partnership earlier this month. It’s working with the Air Force to make batteries for the intercontinental ballistic missiles that carry nuclear warheads.

The Air Force gave Solid Power a $2.9 million, two-year grant from its Rapid Innovation Fund to develop battery technology that will extend the time ICBM batteries can store energy and reduce battery weight. Solid Power also will be working with Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) to develop and test the technology.

Companies that are now part of Lockheed Martin have developed and maintained ICBMs and the re-entry vehicles that carry nuclear warheads since the 1950s. Lockheed Martin Space Systems maintains the Air Force’s arsenal of Minuteman III missiles.

Solid Power was founded in 2012 and makes solid-state rechargeable battery products for government and commercial markets.

Big bucks business plan challenge: The startup challenge with the biggest pot of prize money in Colorado—and one of the biggest in the country—is back next year, and it’s looking for competitors.

The Colorado State University Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge gives companies a chance to win a $250,000 grand prize and 12 months of business mentoring. The competition in Fort Collins is backed by CSU and the founders of OtterBox, the maker of mobile phone cases. The company is based in northern Colorado.

The competition will be the week of May 26-30, and the deadline to enter is Jan. 16. Entrants must be based in the United States and have gross revenue of $100,000 in the past 12 months or have raised a minimum of $100,000 in capital. Collegiate teams can enter a parallel competition for a $20,000 grand prize.

Funding news:
—Ever want to live large in a luxury suite at the next game or concert you attend? Well, there’s a Denver startup named SuiteHop that says you can, and it’s raised $1 million in equity investment. SuiteHop makes software that people can use to find and rent entire suites or individual seats without ponying up the big bucks needed for the long-term contract most arenas and concert venues demand.

The company says it has more than 800 listings for 550 events, including pro sports and Taylor Swift concerts in venues across the country. SuiteHop said it raised the money from individual investors.

—Boulder-based QuickLeft raised $500,000 recently. QuickLeft was a development shop focused on Web apps and user interface design until moving into product development earlier this year when it merged with Portland, OR-based Sprintly to make agile programming software. The company said it will use the money to expand product development.

Seattle-based Lighter Capital provided the money. It’s not an equity investment but a “revenue-based loan” that QuickLeft will repay with a fixed percentage of its monthly revenues.

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