3 Colorado Springs startups each win $45,000 in competition | Company

Three Colorado Springs startups ignited a spark of innovation as their companies each won $45,000 in Torch grants this week.

Dr. Tom Duening, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, founded Torch Grants with the goal of attracting and retaining young businesses in the Pikes Peak area.


“The research clearly indicates that startups are one of the biggest job creators across all economic regions,” Duening said. “If we want to foster continued growth in Colorado Springs, we need a robust startup ecosystem.”

Torch Grant winners Salt Athletic, LeadFoot Racing and Defender Imports competed against other startups for the grants in a pitch-style competition.

Startups present 10-minute pitches to a panel of unaffiliated judges. The top five continue through to the Torch Grants Finals, where companies again give 10-minute pitches to a new panel of judges.


In order to be eligible for the competition, companies had to participate in educational training with the Venture Attractor: Scale to $1M Boot-Up Camp, a 16-week virtual entrepreneurship course coupled with rigorous one-on-one business mentoring. in the sports/outdoor, human performance and healthcare innovation sectors. The Venture Attractor is an academic research program of the El Pomar Institute of Innovation and Commercialization.

Salt Athletic is a sports technology company focused on “integrating material technology-based solutions to develop premium sports bags that meet the highest aesthetic and quality standards”. Salt Athletic’s first product is aērcase, a soccer cleat bag featuring its patent-pending “odor-eliminating” technology.

LeadFoot Racing is a company that aims to help people enter the racing industry safely and affordably with a racing vehicle that combines a handful of common automotive parts with a custom chassis and motorcycle.

Defender Imports is a company that imports and restores classic Land Rover Defenders.