Hoggle Goggle Wins Venture Accelerator New Business Grant
by Martinique Davis
Feb 16, 2013 | 1656 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print

TELLURIDE – The idea, says founder Lara Young, was simple: create a protective ski goggle cover, one that would be integrated into the goggle system, so that skiers would always have quick and easy access, but could also avoid scratching yet another pair of expensive eyewear.

The concept took root after the 20-year Telluride resident, and longtime skier, had tossed countless pairs of goggles away. And it might have stayed as just that – an idea – until Young caught wind of the Telluride Foundation’s Telluride Venture Accelerator business incubation program.

One of four companies selected for the first year (and one of three from Colorado), Young’s idea has grown wings, and her company, Hoggle (“a home for your goggle”) is well on its way to realization. Facing a tough competitive field of more than 100 companies, from 10 countries, Telluride-born Hoggle is now receiving TVA’s close attention, in a co-working space at The Peaks Resort, with a $30,000 cash investment, another $100,000 in services from companies like Microsoft and Amazon, and access to two prominent entrepreneurs-in-residence, as well as Telluride's angel investment community.

“Venture Accelerator forced me to get my idea from just an idea to an actual, viable product,” Young says of Hoggle, which, now in the late design stages, is slated to be on outdoor retailers’ shelves worldwide by next fall.

The past four months have been a whirlwind, says Young, who has navigated the process of launching a startup business from scratch, although now with help from such TVA-sanctioned advisors as Rob Solomon, ex-vice president of Yahoo, and Tim Slate, founder of the Fat Face retail chain in Europe.

Although competition was stiff during this, TVA’s flagship year, Young says getting accepted by Venture Accelerator may have been the easy part.

Launching a business is challenging. “There are so many details, so much research you have to put into product development,” says says, noting that her advisors and the TVA framework have made it possible for this mother of two to see her concept to fruition.

The Hoggle is a protective goggle cover with a microfiber lining, tucked into a soft, malleable dock, that can be affixed to any goggle strap, thus offering quick and easy access for skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers, and other on-the-go goggle users.  

“So it’s always there – and not with a melted Snickers bar in one of your pockets. It looks good, it’s functional, and it fixes the problem” of perennially scratched goggle lenses, Young says.

Young, who has taken the concept to outdoor retailer shows, will be selling Hoggle online at www.hogglegoggle.com as early as this summer.

Telluride Venture Accelerator launched in the fall of 2012 as an initiative of the Telluride Foundation, with the intention of supporting emerging entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas. Applicants compete to participate in TVA, with the chance to relocate to Telluride for six months and to receive intensive business mentoring. TVA targeted businesses focused in the areas of outdoor recreation, tourism, natural products, health, energy, water, or education.

This year’s participants in Venture Accelerators started working with their mentors last week, and will to engage with mentors and national corporate leaders for the next six months. The four companies selected range in size from new start-up concepts to a company approaching $500,000 in annual sales.

The other companies, including Dolores-based High Desert Farms, Denver’s Globa.li, and Hyperlite Mountain Gear of Maine, were selected by a reviewing group that included dozens of leading entrepreneurs, including board members from Whole Foods and Patagonia, the former CEO of Hotels.com, the founder of IZZE Beverages, the former head of marketing for Burton Snowboards, and the former head of marketing for Black Diamond Equipment, Ltd.

Along with the Telluride Foundation, TVA is supported by individual donors, the Kaufman Foundation, the Johnson Family Foundation, the Colorado Economic Development Commission, and receives corporate support from The Peaks Resort, ASAP Accounting and Payroll, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP attorneys at law and Great Lakes Airlines.

For more information on TVA, visit www.tellurideva.com.

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