Situated at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, Denver and Boulder have long been popular destinations for people in search of beautiful scenery, fresh air, good food and healthy living. And over the past decade, they’ve also become choice cities for entrepreneurs looking to build the next generation of innovative tech companies outside Silicon Valley.
Bolstered by the influence of the global seed accelerator Techstars and the local presence of large corporations like Comcast, Amazon and Google, Denver and Boulder have attracted a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem that thrives on their tight-knit communities and high standards of living. Together, these economically-connected urban centers illustrate how “lifestyle cities” can successfully grow and compete against larger, more established tech environments.
Just last week, the Powderkeg team traveled to Denver to unveil the findings from the 2018 Denver and Boulder Tech Census Reports, the latest in our series of inaugural censuses of rising tech communities between the coasts. While there, we spoke with eight influential members of the Denver and Boulder tech communities to break down how far the two cities have come, what factors have powered their growth and what obstacles they must overcome on their path to continued success.
In this episode with some of Denver and Boulder’s top tech entrepreneurs, investors and thought leaders, you’ll learn:
- How much a fledgling tech community can grow and evolve in five years.
- Why every tech ecosystem should be focused on attracting diverse talent.
- How a “give first” mentality among investors can lift entrepreneurial communities.
- The lifestyle city superpower for attracting entrepreneurs and tech talent.
- Tactics for large corporations to help lift up the startups in their ecosystem.
- Expert community-building advice for cities on the brink of a tech explosion.
Please enjoy this conversation with some of Denver and Boulder’s brightest entrepreneurs, investors, and tech thinkers!
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Quotes from this episode of Igniting Startups:
“Boulder is one of the most connected startup communities in the world. For its size, it punches insanely above its weight.” — @tomhigley on @PowderkegCo
“I think we have an opportunity to truly be innovative. How do we build that infrastructure and ecosystem that doesn\’t become something we don’t love?” — @thejoethurman on @PowderkegCo
“When it comes to technology innovation, if only a very small group of people are designing the future, then we are looking at a very scary future.” — @heylizelle on @PowderkegCo
“When you don’t have access to a lot of capital, you have to generate an immense amount of value. You have to show real sales off the bat.” — @missbikesalot on @PowderkegCo
“There are so many opportunities for people to move to different, interesting, creative, fun companies. That’s the selling point of the Denver-Boulder market at this point.” — @coloradocraig on @PowderkegCo
Links and resources mentioned in this episode:
Companies and organizations:
- Colorado Startups
- Women Who Startup
- Teegarden Financial Corporation
- Jobber Group
- Denver Startup Week
- Downtown Denver Partnership
- ExactTarget (now Salesforce Marketing Cloud)
- Augur (acquired by BounceX)
- Lazy Bee Ranch Honey
- The Boulder Tea Company
- Artifact Uprising
- ANGI Homeservices
- Cloud Elements
- Arrow Electronics
Venture capital and angel investment firms:
- Connector Capital
- Upslope Ventures
- Stout Street Capital
- Foundry Group
- Rockies Venture Club
- Zero G Capital
- Boulder Bits
- Lerer Hippeau
- Highland Capital Partners
Startup accelerator programs:
- Paul Foley (LinkedIn)
- Lizelle van Vuuren (@heylizelle)
- Kate Shillo Beardsley (@kshillo)
- David Prichard (LinkedIn)
- Joe Thurman (@thejoethurman)
- Craig Smith (@coloradocraig)
- Rachel Beisel (@missbikesalot)
- Tom Higley (@tomhigley)
- Chris Baggott (@chrisbaggott)
- Brad Feld (@bfeld)
- Jason Mendelson (@jasonmendelson)
- Ryan McIntyre (@ryan_mcintyre)
- Seth Levine (@sether)
- Jens Nicolaysen (LinkedIn)
- Niel Robertson (@nielr1)
- Rajat Bhargava (@rajatabhargava)
- Marc Benioff (@Benioff)
What stood out most to you about what these entrepreneurs share in this podcast?
For me, it’s how a “give first” mentality among investors can lift entrepreneurial communities.
You? Leave a comment below.
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