Archive for the ‘Boulder’ Category

Helping our Community with $100,000 from Foundry Group. Please join us.

FFRFI don’t need to tell you about the devastation that has rocked Colorado over the past week. The rain started and it just wouldn’t stop. I’ve lived in Colorado for 17 years and I’ve never seen anything like it. People have lived here for their entire lives and haven’t. Our house and property only sustained minor damage (and we spent a few days without power and water; neither particularly difficult compared to what others are facing). It was heart wrenching to be glued to the news and local reports seeing pictures of our community – all around where we live; our neighbors; the places we go every day  - become ravaged by floods.

We have many friends who sustained real damage to their properties and homes (and like most people effected by this storm the vast majority don’t have flood insurance). A number have been forced out of their houses – some for months. Our house is only a few miles from the town of Lyons, which was completely cut off by the flood waters and totally devastated. The entire town will be shut down for months while they rebuild power, water, sewer and other critical infrastructure. Every single person in the town of Lyons has been forced to relocate. There is a message board at the evacuation center  with people searching for friends, family members and beloved family pets. It’s hard to imagine this kind of loss.

While Ryan, Jason, Brad and I started Foundry with a national vision, being part of the Boulder community was always core to the Foundry identity. We’re proud to call Boulder County home and fiercely loyal to our community. With this in mind Foundry is proud to join the relief effort by giving $100,000 through the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado to the Foothills Flood Relief Fund. These funds will directly help victims of this catastrophe.

With this gift we’re also putting out the call to other funds who have connections to Colorado (either because they are located here or through their investments in the state) to match our gift of $25,000 per partner. To Colorado entrepreneurs and business people who have built their companies in this community, please do what you can to help. And a special shout-out goes to the Denver Broncos, who today announced that they were donating $50,000 to the relief effort. While that money will make an impact, I believe an organization as tied to the community and as successful as the Broncos can do better ($25,000 per player?) The team has the strong support of fans throughout Colorado. Now their fans need support.

If you have any questions about EFCO or your company or organization would like to direct a gift through them to help with relief efforts, please email me. If you’re interested in helping out directly, click on the “Donate Now” button at the top of this post. And, of course, if you’re interested in joining EFCO I’d be happy to talk with you about that. Together we can help rebuild.

September 17th, 2013     Categories: Boulder, Colorado    

California, Massachusetts, New York, Colorado

California, Massachusetts, New York, Colorado. That’s the order of states with the greatest dollar value of seed and early stage investment according to a PWC MoneyTree study that my partner Jason blogged about today. $290M invested in 41 companies based in Colorado in 2011. Compare that with 2006 when Colorado ranked 12th on the list with just under $90M invested in 32 companies.

That’s an incredible achievement and says a lot about the state of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Colorado and our rising profile on the national stage. I’ve written extensively on why Boulder specifically, and Colorado in general, are great start-up markets (see here, for example). And these data show that the work and effort of many people in our state is paying off. I often tell people when they ask me how to replicate the success we’ve had here in Colorado that the journey is a long one. When building an entrepreneurial community one needs to take a 10+year view of the effort. When I think back to what the Colorado market looked like when I joined the venture industry about 12 years ago (based here, but working for a CA firm), it’s almost hard to fathom the changes. And while the number of venture firms located in Colorado has diminished significantly in that time, the overall entrepreneurial environemnt has really flourished. All giving support to what I believe to be a key truth about our industry – entrepreneurs come first!

So congratulations to all the great Colorado entrepreneurs who have made this state a great place to start and build a business.

Introducing Codespace – shared (free!) office space in Boulder for geeking out

One of the many things that makes Boulder a great city for start-ups is its incredibly collaborative environment (see posts on my love of Boulder here and here). From the willingness of mentors to help out TechStars companies, to collaborative efforts around recruiting great talent to our city, I’m constantly amazed at how many people are working to make Boulder an amazing place for businesses to thrive.

Today there’s another new initiative launching to help young tech companies in our community – Trada is opening CodeSpace, a free co-working space dedicated to startup developers and software engineers. CodeSpace will be located in Trada’s downtown Boulder offices and will have over 2000 sq ft of space dedicated to the effort.

While there are many places where non-technical entrepreneurs can meet up in Boulder to discuss their startups, there are few places where software developers can camp out for the day, week or month and work together on a project. We wanted to add this environment to the mix of coffee shops, traditional co-working spaces, and rented offices in Boulder. And in CodeSpace you don’t even have to buy coffee to camp out there (in fact the coffee is on Trada!).

But you do need to apply. There are spots for three dev teams (1-4 people each) for semi-permanent space as well as come-as-you-are dev and co-working space (with whiteboards, internet, access to caffeinated beverages, etc).

To start, CodeSpace will be open 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday. The program will run through the summer with the expectation that it will extend/expand in the fall as we learn what works best.

To apply for one of the 3 dedicated co-working spaces please visit trada.com/codespace

July 5th, 2011     Categories: Boulder, Company Creation     Tags: ,

What makes Boulder great

Someone asked me this week for some qualitative data on the factors that lead Boulder to emerge over the past 5 or so years as one of the country’s top markets for start-ups. It’s a great question and I know that there are many other cities that are trying to follow Boulder’s example. I thought it was worth posting these thoughts – I’m sure others will have things to add to this.

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image The quantitative data are pretty boring – Colorado has stayed very consistent in terms of overall venture investment activity (~ $600M/year putting us clearly in the 2nd tier of venture markets). In fact an increasing percentage of this funding has come from out of state investors (93% in the last year I saw data for – 09’).

Given this it’s an interesting question why Boulder is considered such a great startup market (as I think you know, BusinessWeek voted Boulder the most entrepreneurial city in America, the NYT did a great story on Boulder, Fox Business was just out here, etc.). There are a couple of keys to this success in my view.

Boulder has many leaders. I said this in a post in response to a Forbes article last week on Boulder/Foundry, but Foundry, while active, isn’t the center of Boulder entrepreneurial activity. No one is and that’s one of the keys to Boulder’s success. For sure my partners and I do a ton to support and promote Boulder, but we have people like Robert Reich who started the NewTech Meetup here (attracts 400+ people monthly to their event); Andrew Hyde who organized TedXBoulder (great event, tons of stuff on that on the web), StartUp Weekend (which started in Boulder), Boulder.me (recruiting event in Boulder) and Ignite Boulder (sells out the largest space in town every time he does it); Joe Pezzillo who organizes a bunch of iPhone developer stuff locally; Eric Norlin who along with us brings the Defrag and Glue conferences (ok – he doesn’t live here, but he organizes great events here); and of course David Cohen who started TechStars here (and you know that story). You get the point – I think THE key to Boulder’s success is that we have many many pillars of the tech community.

Boulder rocks. Seriously – who wouldn’t want to live in Boulder? I say that only partially in jest. We import a lot of talent (Boulder has the highest per capita number of engineers of any city in the country, for example). We have great natural assets and we’re not afraid to use them. I regularly pitch people on moving to Boulder and it’s an easy sell. Everyone here is in shape, has tons of interests outside of work and you’re minutes from cycling, mountain biking, trail running, skiing, etc. To be sure there are plenty of great cities in the country, but we Boulder is definitely among the great places to live in the US (in my opinion!).

TechStars. I don’t think you can underestimate the effect TechStars has had on the Boulder community. It galvanized a group of tech professionals as mentors. It brought a bunch of young talent and energy to town (many of whom stayed to build their businesses here after the TechStars summer) and it helped raise Boulder’s national profile.

Openness. I could have put this under “Boulder rocks” but one of the truly great things about Boulder is how open and helpful people here are. There’s little to no BS around making sure you’re doing better than everyone else and it’s considered an expectation of people in this community that you give back. To other entrepreneurs. To your favorite charity. To programs like TechStars. It’s had a huge effect on this ecosystem.

October 29th, 2010     Categories: Boulder, General Business