Tech Thursday: 7 Colorado startups that are doing things differently

DENVER – Colorado is routinely recognized as one of the best places in the country to start a business and plenty of people are taking advantage.

In recent years, the state has seen a flurry of new businesses – many of them tech-related – that aim to shake things up by offering new, digital approaches to existing business sectors.

From real estate and interior design to auto sales and online dating, here are some of the Colorado startups that are utilizing the internet and smartphones to change the way we go about our daily business:

Denver Date Nite
There’s no shortage of online dating apps these days, but Denver Date Nite works a little differently. Instead of matching you up with potential partners, the service focuses on finding the right date for you and your special someone. Denver Date Nite creates a three-stop itinerary customized to your interests and budget.

Blinker
It used to be that you would browse the classified ads for used cars but Blinker is bringing that process into the 21st century. The app aims to cut out the middle man in auto sales, allowing buyers and sellers to do everything on their smartphones. Earlier this year, Blinker won the Interactive Innovation Award at the SXSW festival in Austin.

Fluid
Got a garage full of tools you never use? Fluid lets you rent items to your neighbors so you can make a little extra money from tools and equipment that would otherwise just be gathering dust. You can rent by the day, week or month and everything is insured.

FoodMaven
Food waste is a big problem in the United States and FoodMaven thinks it found a solution. The company gets oversupplied food from wholesalers, retailers and grocery distributors and sells it to restaurants and institutions like hospitals at a discounted rate. FoodMaven started out in Colorado Springs and is now expanding to Denver.

Havenly
Interior design services aren’t cheap. It can easily cost several thousand dollars to enlist the services of a traditional interior designer. With Havenly, you’re paired up with a designer online and prices start at just $79. The service works as a one-stop shop, so you can even purchase items your designer recommends.

ParkiFi
It can be frustrating to drive around looking for parking and ParkiFi claims to eliminate that struggle. Using the ParkiFi app, you can find available parking spots and even pay with just the tap of a button. The payment option is currently available in about 21 surface parking lots but will expand to more this summer.

Trelora
Denver-based Trelora has stirred up some controversy in the real estate market with its approach toward agent commissions. The company publishes commissions on listings it hosts on its website with the goal of promoting its own service – which charges a flat fee of $2,500 for both buyers and sellers. 

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