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Ski software startup gets a funding boost

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Snowvation Inc. is getting a funding boost. (Contributed)
Snowvation Inc. is getting a funding boost. (Contributed)

A startup that streamlines the ski experience for resort guests is getting a lift in the form of fresh investments.

Snowvation Inc., a company that formerly was based remotely in Easton, now has office space in Bethlehem’s TechVentures facility at Lehigh University’s Mountaintop Campus.

Michael Stocker, CEO and founder of Snowvation Inc., said his startup went through a traditional startup accelerator program hosted by the Rockies Venture Club, a nonprofit angel investing group in Denver, and garnered a lot of interest from members.

“We received the most investments out of all 12 companies that participated,” Stocker said.

This was not all.

The startup received another $50,000 investment from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the nonprofit that operates the TechVentures facility. This adds to the funds it received in December, when Snowvation got $75,000 through Ben Franklin as a loan for the development and commercialization of new software models.

In this round of funding, Snowvation also received $30,000 from the Delaware Crossing Investor Group, which has a chapter in Bucks County, Stocker said.

The startup then went on to raise another $185,000 from the Rockies Club, which included celebrity investment from pro alpine ski racer Bode Miller, Stocker said.

All told, Snowvation raised $265,000 in this investment round.

The company’s goal is to simplify the process of patronizing ski resorts. Through its software platform, Snowvation allows guests to do everything from renting equipment to finding a ski instructor through a person’s smartphone.

Snowvation has an office in Denver, a significant market for ski enthusiasts. Locally, it has a client in Blue Mountain Ski Resort and seeks others in the Poconos.

Its roster of clients, now 14, also includes resorts in Vermont, Minnesota, California, Japan and China, Stocker said.

In the future, Stocker said, he would like to expand Snowvation’s platform to include managing services for summer operations at resorts, such as zip line activities and golf.

The funds will allow Snowvation to get into other operations, he added.

Being in TechVentures at Lehigh University has given the company, which now has five employees, a further boost.

“We were operating remotely, but TechVentures is our office,” Stocker said. “There’s a lot of talent we can pull from. We’re looking to double the number of people we have here in Pennsylvania.”

The company recently moved into TechVentures and is progressing in achieving business milestones, said Laura Eppler, chief marketing officer for Ben Franklin.

“Ben Franklin Technology Partners has invested a total of $125,000 in Snowvation in the form of convertible debt,” Eppler said. “This means that Ben Franklin has the option of converting the debt to an equity position in the company at a later time.”

Snowvation’s other investments from Delaware Crossing and Rockies Venture Club came in the form of direct equity, Stocker said.

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Brian Pedersen

Brian Pedersen

Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh and read his blog, “Can You Dig It,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/can-you-dig-it.

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