The Warehouse: Second-stage help, with a difference

LOVELAND — The Warehouse in Loveland is entering the accelerator mix from a different angle than most.

Rather than providing an intensive 12-week program for seed-stage startups like many in the industry, The Warehouse plans to help second-stage firms scale up to the next level over six to 12 months. But the big difference is that The Warehouse is being run as a nonprofit, with founders Jay Dokter and Dan Kamrath doing their investing separately.

“It’s kind of our hobby, if you will,” Kamrath said recently. “We get a kick out of helping new businesses.”

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Kamrath and Dokter, investors and entrepreneurs themselves, co-founded Cadeka Microcircuits in 2004, selling it last year to California-based Exar Corp. for $29 million.

The Warehouse, located in about 4,000 square feet of the Cadeka building at 1215 S. Grant Ave., is a hybrid incubator/accelerator model, although Kamrath made clear that they’re not in competition with Northern Colorado incubators such as Innosphere that focus on earlier-stage companies. Rather, The Warehouse provides a next step suitable for many of those companies.

Companies that sign up with The Warehouse can lease space at the accelerator and gain mentorship and professional services. The Warehouse targets companies that already are generating revenue but need help or expertise to ramp up manufacturing or services.

Kamrath said he and Dokter won’t be investing in every company The Warehouse helps. The relationship with the Warehouse might include simply renting space for a few months and gaining some key business introductions or having Kamrath and Dokter invest, even taking leadership roles in certain startups.

“The goal there is to make successful businesses in Northern Colorado,” Kamrath said. “We might invest in some. We might not. Hopefully it creates some jobs here at the end of the day.”