Startup Central: Denver's Appeal, Urgent-Rx's American Airlines Deal, and Louisville's Inspector Bots

April 12 2011, 7:22 AM

Denver is apparently once again a good place for small business. The Mile High City has reclaimed a spot on business analyst G. Scott Thomas' list of top 10 cities for small-business vitality, after dropping to No. 23 last year (from No. 9 in 2009). The ranking is based on six sets of official criteria, such as employment and population growth (Denver Business Journal). Boulder entrepreneur and TechStars grad Micah Baldwin cited six less empirical factors recently to make a case for why "every startup community is the same," praising the risk-taking investors he refers to as "champions" (Business Insider). 

Jordan Eisenberg's champions include the University of Colorado-Denver's student-run venture fund, which has helped land his LoDo-based company, Urgent-Rx, major business in two short months (Denver Post). After breaking into Vail and Aspen's ski markets, as well as major convenience-store chains, with its powdered medications, Urgent-Rx has inked a deal with American Airlines to carry its aspirin packets.  

That's the kind of business Louisville's Chris Rogers is hoping to solicit from military and government contractors. With names like Delta Unit and Spider Mite, the 52-year-old industrial designer's "Inspector Bots" aren't quite in the black, but they hold promise as machines capable of replacing humans in situations ranging from the potentially lethal to the merely undesirable (Post).