By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4)- Sarah Tuneberg says her company, Geospiza, wouldn’t be on its path to success without help from Denver Startup Week. The massive, free, event is expected to draw 20,000 people to nearly 400 events through Friday.

(credit: CBS)

“Denver Startup Week is really how I got my start as an entrepreneur and how we got a big launch as a company. (It) gave me the opportunity to win a pitch competition. I won the Going Up Elevator Pitch Competition, which gave me exposure,” said Tuneberg.

She co-founded Geospiza as a cloud-based internet platform that takes massive amounts of government data and tries to help emergency managers and first responders before, during and after disasters.

CBS4’s Jeff Todd interviews Sarah Tuneberg. (credit: CBS)

“Our goal is to be easy to understand and easy to access. Our age variable comes from five different sources. We model that together to get a real picture of who is what age and where they are,” said Tuneberg.

In the past month, Geospiza has helped with evacuations during Hurricane Florence. It is being piloted in two cities so far and is looking to expand.

The data-driven approach was used to help prevent destructive fires earlier this year.

(credit: CBS)

“We’ll understand who’s likely to have a structure fire. Who is likely to be unable to recover from a structure fire, and then we’ll target the delivery of smoke detectors,” said Tuneberg.

Studies show this could save governments money in the long run. For every $1 spent on prevention, preparedness and mitigation, it can save between $6 and $8 in response and recovery.

“Entrepreneurs like me, people who come from the field who saw problems are able to make companies that solve a problem and are really connected to a customer in a problem solving way that government can’t always do,” said Tuneberg. “I was really interested in how we could use advances in data and technology, cloud computing, machine learning to really support an underserved community which is emergency managers.”

(credit: CBS)

Geospiza is just one of the companies being highlighted for its success at this year’s Startup Week.

“It’s a free event for entrepreneurs so anybody at any stage can find a community, can find information to learn, can find mentors, peers, amazing, amazing opportunity,” said Tuneberg.

LINK: Denver Startup Week

Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.