GPS adventure sharing app, marketing company win Yampa Valley business competition
Steamboat Springs — Byron Carney remembers texting his friends a few years ago after fly fishing in Fish Creek and catching a whopper rainbow trout.
Carney said his friends were skeptical, so he tried to describe the location of the abnormally large catch by marking the spot on a map and sending that out.
“I found it very difficult to show them the precise location of where I caught the fish,” Carney said.
It was this experience that first inspired Carney, an IT hardware salesman, to create an application to share outdoor adventures socially.
A few years later, Carney has launched a beta version of his app, Excurzo, and is gearing up for a full iOS release in early 2017, followed by an Android release and fully developed website.
Users are able to share details, photos and locations of adventures like fishing, skiing and hiking and also see and comment on the adventures of others.
“These are real adventures by real users,” Carney said. ‘This is the ability to really showcase and bring your adventures to life.”
Carney’s app recently won first place in the Yampa Valley SCORE Business Plan Competition, an annual contest sponsored by Colorado Mountain College, the city of Steamboat Springs, Alpine Bank and SCORE. The second place winner of the contest, which had 10 participants, was new Steamboat Springs marketing firm Hive 180.
Along with the publicity of winning, Carney and app co-founder Stu Keefer earned $10,000 of much needed capital to put toward the expensive costs of creating the app, which is being developed with the help of Ukrainian developers, who Carney communicates with through early morning video calls.
The money comes on top of $1 million Excurzo founders have generated through investors to build the app and begin marketing it.
CMC Yampa Valley Entrepreneurship Center manager Randy Rudasics said Carney had an excellent business plan.
“I think it’s really cool that we have an application software company starting their business in Steamboat Springs,” Rudasics said.
Carney is currently seeking beta users, including adventure-driven businesses, to download the app and begin uploading their adventure. Instructions for downloading are available at excurzo.com.
Marketing duo earns second place
Seasoned marketing pros Leslie Murphy and Daniel Sanders went off on their own to open full-service marketing company Hive 180 in September, and earlier this month, earned second place in the business competition, including a $5,000 prize.
Although he is not one of the competition’s judges, Rudasics said he liked that Hive 180 will be providing useful services for other small businesses in the area.
“I thought it was great that one of the winners of this competition is here to serve other businesses,” Rudasics said. “They can do just about everything, and the creativity they bring to their clients should be beneficial.”
The company offers branding, logo development, graphic design, web development, photography and videography, as well as a handful of other marketing services.
Murphy said she and Sanders were grateful to participate in the competition and for the community’s support of local entrepreneurs.
“With the prize money, we plan to invest in additional hardware tools of the trade — computers, video equipment and the like,” Murphy said. “It’s crucial for us to continue to stay ahead of the curve by utilizing the most modern and efficient equipment in our industry.”
Prize money for the competition was provided by the city of Steamboat Springs to support economic development. Judges for the competition were Roger Good, Kemp Bohlen and Steve Sehnert.
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