Idaho’s scenic mountains loom over the state’s own small valley of startups
If Boise, Idaho isn’t on your radar yet, it will be soon. The fast-growing city has been generating buzz for years for its startup-friendly atmosphere, including being named no. 1 among the top five emerging startup hubs in the US in a 2013 report by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Here are 9 startups based in Boise that should get your attention, if they haven’t already.
1. Black Box VR
Black Box VR hopes to offer the world’s first virtual reality gym. According to its founder, virtual reality workouts will ease boredom because they can be different every day.
Founded by Bodybuilding.com founder and former CEO Ryan DeLuca and former Bodybuilding.com creative director Preston Lewis, Black Box VR could be as little as six months away from launching a beta gym. DeLuca has self-funded the company so far, saying he’s invested around $2 million.
Wevorce makes getting divorced just a bit easier. It offers web-based technology and access to a community of attorneys and counselors to its users, aiming to help couples divorce amicably in as streamlined a way as possible.
Founded by Jeff Reynolds and Michelle Crosby in 2012, Wevorce has raised a total of $4.85 million in five rounds. Most recently, it raised $3.15 million in Series A funding earlier this year.
TSheets allows employers to track their employees’ time, even when those employees are working outside of the office. It uses online timesheets and drag-and-drop scheduling to allow time tracking through computers, a mobile app and even texting.
Founded in 2006 by Brandon Zehm and Matt Rissell, TSheets raised $15 million in Series A funding in 2015. Its technology is used by thousands of companies in more than 100 countries.
4. Art of Visuals
What started as an Instagram account has turned into a business for Art of Visuals, offering a gathering place for photographers to sift through curated photos, see how they were taken and connect with other photographers. Art of Visuals sells filter sets, magazines and more, and its founders are looking forward to launching a website with additional features.
Founded in January 2016 by Prince McClinton and Travis Leslie, Art of Visuals is still very much in its infancy. Even so, McClinton told the Idaho Statesman earlier this year that the company is turning a profit and has “taken an undisclosed amount for a preseed, friends-and-family round of investments, mostly from the Boise area, a little from the Bay Area, and a little from Phoenix.” He added, “I wouldn’t even call it an angel round.”
ConvertKit is an email marketing tool for professional bloggers, aiming to turn readers into customers and help bloggers make a living online through automaton and segmentation tools.
Founded in 2013 by Nathan Barry and David Wheeler, ConvertKit raised $1.8 million in angel funding in July.
6. Fit Wrapz
Fit Wrapz is a premium health food company offering meals with clean labeled, all natural ingredients marketed toward athletes. Its products are grab-and-go, but still promote a healthy and a fit lifestyle.
Founded by Shigetada Toyoguchi, Fit Wrapz launched in 2009. In 2013, it raised $375,000 in seed funding after being valued at $1.2 million.
Zanifesto provides online tools that businesses and startups can use to create custom marketing materials, from infographics to media kits. It uses a collection of templates, fonts and graphics to allow any user to create content, regardless of graphic design experience.
Zanifesto was founded by Jen Benz and Nick Tamm and launched in 2013.
8. Why The Health Not?
Branding itself as “Wellness 2.0,” Why The Health Not? hopes to become a program that merges wellness and technology by integrating nutrition tracking, digital health monitoring devices like Fitbits and Jawbones, and reward incentives to encourage users to manage their own health and wellness.
Why The Health Not? was founded in May by Chrissy Larsen and Michael Gerhardt. It recently launched a fundraiser on Indiegogo with a goal of raising $500,000, though it closed the campaign.
9. Meal Ticket
Meal Ticket connects food service distributors, manufacturers and operators with cloud-based sales, marketing and analytics software that brings actionable business intelligence to the food service industry.
Founded in 2009 by Brian Konrath and Dan Henderson, Meal Ticket has raised $3.87 million in 11 funding rounds.
Healthfundr — also known as Health Rosetta — pitches itself as a health-focused, crowdfunding marketplace to raise capital from accredited investors. Their statement of principles boasts a “quadruple aim”: lower costs, improve health outcomes, improve the patient experience, and improve the experience of caregivers.
Their Quad Aim Fund (whose name source should be obvious) is dedicated to filling the gap between angel investments and Series A funding rounds, as well as the problem of patient navigation. The fund is managed by Dave Chase and Sean Schantzen with Doug Barry and Bill Boeger rounding out the partnership.
Gedalyah Reback contributed to this article.