New PVG board chairman promises ‘return to core mission’

The Peak Venture Group is returning to its core mission, reaching out to the community and providing resources to local entrepreneurs.

Peak Venture was started a business resource organization, providing assistance and aid for start-ups and entrepreneurs in the area. With the departure of Loren Lancaster, one of its long-time members and organizers, the group is seizing the chance to become more active in the community. Lancaster recently resigned from the board because he moved to Golden, more than an hour’s drive away.

“We don’t want to be this stand-alone organization, doing our own thing,” said new board chairman Chris Franz. “We want to reach out to other groups, become engaged with entrepreneurs and really help these new start-ups get off the ground. We’re returning to our core mission; that’s the easiest way to describe it.”

One of the group’s most popular events is Pitch Night, at which new entrepreneurs with big ideas get a few minutes to talk about their businesses and receive advice from experts who have started their own companies.

“The most promising ones we help out with financial assistance, by pointing them to strategic partnerships and by providing some management help,” Franz said. “And we’ve had businesses doing very well that started off at Pitch Night.”

The group routinely has people filling the room at Pitch Night, which is always free. PVG will continue to promote the event and the latest business ideas.

“We tend to focus on the high-return business ideas, mostly technology,” he said. “But we get the spectrum – hydroponic plants, almost anything.”

But the PVG breakfast meeting is changing – that’s moved to the evening, Franz said.

“We did a test run, and the character and energy of the people really changed,” he said. “Entrepreneurs tend to be really busy, working 80 hours a week. It’s hard for people to block off three hours at the beginning of the day. Move it to evening, give them a beer and it works better.”

The group’s had some problems attracting younger entrepreneurs, he said, and he believes the move will allow those younger people to become more involved in the PVG.

Expect big things in January, he said. PVG is reinvigorating its Celebrate Technology awards.

“We’re going to highlight those high-tech businesses, because most people just don’t know what’s here,” he said. “And we’re pushing for a very high-profile keynote speaker, someone who will be so exciting that people will come from around Colorado.”

As for his part, Lancaster says he wishes the group well.

“I’ve been involved since the beginning,” he said. “For almost 12 years now. And I think it was a surprise when I resigned. I wish them well, but the commute’s just too much since I moved to Golden in April.”

New board members at the PVG are Brad Brackel, first vice president and vice president of business development at Pikes Peak Cargo Secure; Patrick Rudy, treasurer and senior investment consultant at Cascade Investment Group; Robert Todd, secretary and owner of Build Value Now; Anne Bevis, principal of Raspberry Mountain Software; Trevor Dierdorff, president and CEO of Amnet; Nicholas Lee, chief technology officer at Tins.ly; and Bob Stovall, president of Gain-Stovall.