Jun 3 2005

Another one bites the dust

By now everyone has heard that Sun has agreed to acquire Colorado based storage company StorageTek. The press release was pretty ubiquitous, but if you haven’t checked out the presentation that accompanied it, it’s wroth skimming through here.

Good for Sun . . . good for StorageTek . . . bla bla shareholders .
. . bla bla convergence . . . bla bla network and data management. . . bla bla bla. Ok – with that out of the way I wanted to touch on a disturbing trend in the Colorado market, particularly in technology.

We’re losing our CO based companies.

The truly scary part is that we didn’t start out with many to begin with. This is a huge problem, in my view, for the Colorado market.  I’ve participated in a number of government economic roundtable events in the past few years which all asked the question of what we could do to make the Denver/Boulder markets stronger. Inevitably somewhere in the conversation the fact that the Front Range has essentially no truly large companies – tech or otherwise – comes up as a key problem. It’s not that Denver/Boulder is a bad place to start or run a company – we have many other attributes (strong labor force; high quality of life; etc.) that make for a good business environment. But we’re missing a piece that has been critical of other markets that have become areas you think about when you think of start-up technology businesses (think Bay Area, Seattle, Austin, Boston, Minneapolis – each of whom supports large, market leadingbusinesses).  Sure – we have Qwest and First Data; EchoStar and Ball Corp; Sun has a large presence here, as does HP.  But the list is short and the companies on the list aren’t the kind to be spinning off side projects and generally supporting the start-up world.

StorageTek has been an exception to this – spawning several successful start-ups and more generally ing a favorable environment for young storage businesses in the Boulder area (which, along with pharma, is really what Boulder is known for).

So goodbye StorageTek. We’ll miss you.