Sphero, Kickfurther set to pitch at Consumer Electronics Show in Extreme Tech Challenge

Boulder startups Sphero and Kickfurther are each one step closer to pitching their companies to Virgin founder Richard Branson on his private island.

Officials for the Extreme Tech Challenge over the weekend announced the 10 semifinalist companies that will get to pitch at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. The top three companies from there get a trip to Branson’s Necker Island to pitch him and receive other investment and mentorship opportunities.

Sphero, first known for its smartphone-controlled robotic ball by the same name, is widely known now for making a toy version of the BB-8 droid that will appear in the new Star Wars movie to be released later this month. Kickfurther, meanwhile, helps young product companies tap into both accredited and unaccredited investors to finance inventory and then pay back a predetermined return once the inventory is sold.

The two Boulder companies will be joined on the CES stage by Denver-based MassRoots, which is a social media platform connecting cannabis users.

The three Colorado companies have made the top 10 from among more than 1,000 initial Extreme Tech Challenge applicants from around the world. Two other Colorado companies, Boulder-based HobbyDB and Denver-based Revolar, were also among a “top-25” group selected in early November that got to do video interviews with judges.