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Colorado Companies to Watch 2015: Health

Gigi Sukin //June 29, 2015//

Colorado Companies to Watch 2015: Health

Gigi Sukin //June 29, 2015//


Commerce Kitchen

Denver – – Founded: 2003

“There are two kinds of companies in my view of the world: profit-driven companies and prosperity-driven companies,” says Tynan Szvetcz, CEO and founder of Commerce Kitchen. “What we’re really trying to do is funnel profits back into our people.”

At Commerce Kitchen, employees are encouraged to explore “intrapreuenrially” –  to behave like entrepreneurs within the second-stage business in order to bridge the gap between health care and technology. As such, 20 percent of an average work week is un-billable, meant to be spent on exploring with research and development, taking note of what  innovative Google employees do. This helps Commerce Kitchen employees effectively tackle problematic structures in traditional, highly regulated industries such as health care and finance. Commerce Kitchen takes on this challenge, developing complex Web and mobile apps through integrated application planning, database optimization and technical support, working collaboratively, building iterative solutions using a Scrum methodology, and integrating them with existing applications. 

A portion of the team is made up of senior hospital executives to facilitate understanding with the engineering staff and to take into consideration the nuances of research, procurement and deployment of new technology.

WATCH OUT FOR: A transformative health care community forming in Colorado. Commerce Kitchen is an active participant in the PrIME Health Collaborative, a growing statewide nonprofit representing a community of more than 800 health executives, physicians, technologists, academics, entrepreneurs and investors with the aim of commercializing health-focused technologies. The company is projected to make $2 million in revenue this year.


Haugen Consulting Group

Denver ­­– – Founded: 2008

The intricacy of the health-care industry has dramatically increased, with individuals and organizations seeking to confront three dimensions:

Improve the patient experience of care.

Improve population health.

Reduce cost.

Haugen Consulting Group offers consulting and educational services to clients in health care to tackle some of these inherent challenges of adapting the industry to the needs of the 21st century. The Denver group distinguishes itself by putting its clients first as well as the team’s comprehensive industry knowledge. In particular, this applies to relatively new regulatory compliance. Haugen has been profitable for seven straight years, and has built a repeatable model to set clients up for success, rather than merely implementing required tech tools and leaving medical practices to fend for themselves.

Mary Beth Haugen, president and CEO of the nearly 20-person group, sees great potential for workforce realignment in the medical field. “There’s such a great opportunity for us, where we can bring in new people and create new jobs,” she says. “We can train for a need that’s already there, and we only foresee an increased shortage.”

KEEP WATCHING FOR: The Haugen team’s strategic plan includes a move into educational materials for university training programs catering to future professionals in health information management. HCG has also identified new opportunities for Web-based training within the patient access departments of health-care organizations. The team is developing 15 digital training modules that are easily customizable and deployed to numerous sites with minimal support required.

Pharmatech Inc.

Denver ­– – Founded: 1987

According to Pharmtech executives, less than 3 percent of adult patients with cancer get into clinical trials, and roughly 70 percent of individuals with cancer are interested in participating in clinical trials.

Today there are roughly 800 drugs in development for cancer treatment.

The cure for cancer has long been an elusive quest, but by combining medical background with high-tech talent, Pharmatech seeks to chip away at the problem by accelerating cancer drug development. The Denver research management and biotech firm, whose clients include the pharmaceutical and biotech industries as well as physicians, is positioned to manage indication-specific challenges, focusing on enrollment and timeline management, ultimately gaining a reputation for rescuing clinical trials.  According to CEO Rob Bohacs, the complexity of cancer clinical trials has only grown more challenging, but access to genetic information and super computers can better match patients to available clinical trials. The company has been recognized by the National Cancer Institute as an innovator.

WORTH WATCHING: Pharmatech will continue to build its tech-based solutions. This year, the firm is starting direct engagement with patients to align men and women with clinical trial opportunities, rather than, as it has historically, working through physicians. 


Boulder – – Founded: 2005

“Create a category.”

That’s Bing Howenstein’s advice to aspiring biz builders. For his purposes as the CEO of Boulder-based Backjoy: “We want to fix the way the world sits, stands and sleeps.”

When the business began in California in 2005, the company sold posture-improving, sit-smart inserts that could be used anywhere. Moving to Colorado five years ago and seeking the counsel of former Crocs executives, Backjoy shifted from a single direct infomercial sales channel to a multi-channel model with an emphasis on wholesale. The company has more than tripled its revenues in the last few years and currently develops 27 products sold across 40 countries, including 50 of its own retail locations.­

KEEP WATCHING FOR:  Backjoy’s footware will make its way into major department stores stepping into the future. Additionally, while the company produces pillows for prime positioning and posture that are available in the U.S., Backjoy is looking at bringing mattresses to its North American customers, already doing so in South America.

Support Inc.

Aurora – – Founded: 1989

Support Inc. provides rehabilitation, health care and support services to people experiencing intellectual and developmental disabilities. Creative customized care supports the diverse needs of families and clients in a world of complex regulation and compliance. These services can range from providing assistance to an individual, managing his or her schedule or finances, to providing around-the-clock care and supervision in a variety of  settings and circumstances. What this amounts to ultimately is helping people overcome problems with daily living by increasing their opportunities for education, employment, recreation and community involvement. Support Inc. is differentiated from competitors by its investment in customer-valued competencies and a diverse geographic footprint.

KEEP WATCHING FOR: Support Inc.’s growth is expected to come from a combination of increased market share for existing services and continued expansion into new business opportunities. More specifically, Support Inc.’s growth plans in the next three to five years call for an additional 150 jobs and $8 million in new revenues.