Comprehensive Guide to the Boulder / Denver Startup and Tech Scene
Comprehensive Guide to the Boulder / Denver Startup and Tech Scene
Weekly, I’m asked to have coffee or meet up to talk about the Boulder/Denver startup and tech scene. I’m flattered beyond belief that people reach out and think that I might be a good resource, and am happy that I live in such an open environment that believes in the giving their time generously. This is something that the Colorado community is known for and even has a #givefirst campaign.
In a lot of these meetings, I often repeat myself with the same resources, events and communities people should plug in to or support. Because I cannot meet with everyone right away, I wanted to create five solutions:
- My Comprehensive Guide to the Boulder and Denver Startup and Tech Scene.
- Join me at Boulder Open Coffee Club on the last every other Tuesday of the month at 8 am at Galvanize on Walnut.
- Join me at Caffeinated Mornings on the first Friday of the month at 9 am at Madelife.
- Participate with me at one of the many Meetups or Events listed below throughout the year.
- Follow me on Twitter for the latest events, job openings, connections and occasional rants. Also follow the organizers or founders of these activities below as they are great resources too!
This is just my list, but I know I’m missing quite a bit. Please feel free to comment and add your favorite way to get involved, and I can update periodically. Use this list below to help find a job, spend your sponsorship dollars wisely, look for partnerships, find help for your startup, get published in media outlets and more. I’ll write a future post on personal branding and how to leverage the below to get a job or elevate your brand in the community. But don’t wait for that – go ahead and get involved!
*This is more skewed towards Boulder and heavy on tech and bicycles.
**Everything is hyperlinked below for more information.
Boulder Denver NewTech: New Tech is a community of 12,000 geeks who live, work and GSD in Colorado.
BuiltIn Colorado: Built In Colorado is the online community for Colorado startups and tech companies. Find startup jobs, tech news and events.
Colorado Technology Association: The Colorado Technology Association leads the network of companies and professionals fueling Colorado’s economy, through technology.
Denver Tech Events: Weekly pre-cap of upcoming meetups, workshops, and conferences in Denver, CO.
Luke’s Circle: Luke’s Circle is a Boulder Denver job site, email list, and network where local employers post jobs and find people in marketing, sales, customer service, product and more.
TechFriends Events: Weekly Startup and Tech events happening in Boulder and Denver calendar to those subscribed to TechFriends slack community.
TechStars: Jobs at Techstars. Techstars is a global ecosystem that empowers entrepreneurs to bring new technologies to market wherever they choose to live.
AnalyzeBoulder: Analyze Boulder is a community of data geeks who live, work, and play in Boulder, Colorado. Our members give fast, accessible, high-energy TED-style talks once a month on any data topic.
Boulder Digital Arts: Boulder Digital Arts (BDA) offers over 300 events a year specifically for entrepreneurs, startups, freelancers, and creative digital professionals, including many free social and networking events, affordable classes and workshops, a shared coworking space, private offices, a greenscreen production studio, and lots more!
Boulder Denver BigData: Come learn and/or share your experiences with NoSQL & Big Data technologies. No experience required.
Boulder Geek Jam: We are a group of hard-core techies who also like to jam. We’ve been casually gathering monthly for impromptu jam sessions in the Gorilla Logic office on Pearl Street and recently decided that we wanted to open up the space and the music-making opportunity to all our Boulder (and other nearby) neighbors who wish to join and collaborate on some good music, geek talk, and drinks/food.
Boulder Elixir: This is a group about learning, discussing, and discovering the Elixir language. Elixir is a dynamic, functional language designed for building scalable and maintainable applications.
Boulder Ruby Group: We’re a software users group interested in the programming language, Ruby. Our talks range from specific aspects of Ruby on Rails to metaprogamming to anything else in the Ruby world. Occasionally we may talk about software topics not directly tied to Ruby.
BuiltIn Brews: Built In Brews is a tech happy hour celebration hosted by an innovative startup. Come see the inside of some of the Front Range’s most inspiring startup offices, meet the founders, and get to know other members of the tech startup scene.
Denver Founder: This group was founded to create a vibrant network of entrepreneurs sharing experiences, connections, and knowledge. Come join the conversation!
Denver UX: If you want to attend engaging UX events and promote collaboration in the Denver community, this group is for you!
DRAFT Colorado: Welcome all people interested in creative bicycling and business-related ideas.
Flatirons LGBTQ Tech Meetup: LGBTQ tech meetup based in Boulder, CO. The goals for creating this meetup: community building, service work, and professional networking/socializing for LGBTQ folks and allies in the tech/startup space in Boulder.
Girl Develop It Boulder / Denver: Want to learn how to code? Have a great idea? Don’t be shy. Develop it. At Girl Develop It, our goal is to empower and assist women interested in getting into and advancing in the tech industry.
Marketing Tech Talk: The Marketing Tech Talk meetup is a group of Marketing Technology practitioners who meet monthly to cultivate knowledge related to the Martech Competency: Marketing, Agile, Resourceful, Technical, Entrepreneurial, Culture and Hero.
New Tech Colorado: New Tech is a community of 12,000 geeks who live and work in Colorado. We’re the largest community run group in the state and we host monthly events in Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and Longmont.
Refresh Denver: Refresh Denver is a community of designers, developers, and other internet professionals working to refresh the creative, technical, and professional culture of their trades in the Denver, CO area.
SheSays: SHESAYS holds events where top females in the digital industry share their story, tips, and insights AND building a network to help each other thrive and advance our careers.
Women Who Code Boulder / Denver: Women Who Code is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers by creating a global, connected community of women in technology. The organization tripled in 2013 and has grown to be one of the largest communities of women engineers in the world.
Women Who Startup: Women Who Startup Events, a monthly “Basecamp” event series designed to help educate, inspire, and connect female entrepreneurs. Each month we welcome a guest speaker who shares her story and tells us what worked, what didn’t, and what they’ll do different next time. We hope to connect and empower female entrepreneurs in Colorado and beyond.
Events(Separate from Meetup)
Big Boulder: The Big Boulder Initiative is the first trade association for the social data industry. Our mission is “To establish the foundation for the long-term success of the social data industry.” The goal of the Big Boulder Initiative is to bring together companies within the social data ecosystem to collectively address key challenges that face the industry as a whole.
BMOCA Media Live: MediaLive welcomes the most compelling contemporary artists and thinkers working internationally in new media. The week-long festival of performances, workshops, and events explores different themes every year.
Boulder Startup Week: Boulder Startup Week is an independent, free, five day event that celebrates the unique community in Boulder, Colorado. More than 10,000 people participated last year.
Boulder Startup Weekend: Startup Weekend is a 54 hour event that brings together Boulder designers, developers, entrepreneurs, and experts from all domains to do amazing things.
Boulder Beta: Showcasing Boulder’s finest startups. They have a killer holiday party every year.
Caffeinated Mornings: A monthly morning design series on the last Friday of the month. Hosted by Jay Ferracane of Angry Bovine. Showcasing and connecting those who make. This event was created to bring our community together, by inspiring and connecting them through stories and insights from those who help make Colorado so awesome.
Conference on World Affairs: The Conference on World Affairs is a year-round unit of the University of Colorado Boulder, offering events without admission fees to the Boulder community, students, and the public.
DemoDays from all Accelerators: Virtually all accelerators end their programs with a “Demo Day“, where the startups present to investors. Each one hosts at a different time and sometimes multiple times per year. In Boulder, these typically take place at the Boulder Theater or St. Julian.
Denver Startup Week: The largest event of its kind in North America, Denver Startup Week is the summit of entrepreneurial energy, innovation, and connection. Powered by the local community, our sessions represent the very best in tech, design, DIY-making, marketing and leadership. Whether a founder, developer, designer, marketer, maker, or anything in between – Denver Startup Week will inspire.
Denver Startup Weekend: Startup Weekend is a 54 hour event that brings together Denver designers, developers, entrepreneurs, and experts from all domains to do amazing things.
Esprit Entrepreneur by the Boulder Chamber: We are thrilled to host the annual Esprit Entrepreneur event. In its 33rd year running, we are excited to celebrate Boulder’s entrepreneurial spirit. In addition to dinner, drinks and scintillating conversation, the finalists of our Esprit Venture Challenge, presented by Colorado PERA, will be presenting their ideas for a chance at a cash prizes. After they pitch their business ideas, the audience will live vote for the winner of the grand prize.
Ignite Boulder: Ignite Boulder is a night of presentations on a variety of topics – with a twist. Each presentation has 20 slides, that automatically advance after 15 seconds. It is a worldwide movement, and Boulder hosts the largest in the world every 2 or 3 months.
Ignite Denver: Presenters get 20 slides, which automatically advance every 15 seconds. The result is a fast and fun presentation which lasts just 5 minutes.
Local Government Meetings: Boulder County encourages residents to engage with the county by participation on boards and commissions, and at public meetings and hearings.
NewCo Boulder: NewCo celebrates business on a mission, connecting its audiences to the stories shaping business, politics, and culture as society undergoes the greatest transition since the Industrial Revolution: a shift beyond profit toward purpose-driven business. Usually happens around Q4 in Boulder.
Open Coffee Club: Boulder Denver Loveland Open Coffee Club is an informal meetup that serves as a great way to take the pulse of the startup community. BOCC, DOCC, and LOCC begins with newcomer introductions followed by job and event announcements. The balance of the hour is a group discussion about startups, with topics including new products, industry trends, and other current events.
Rocky Mountain Ruby: Annual conference focused on Ruby. Usually takes place in Boulder in September or October.
Silicon Flatirons: With academic rigor, we engage people with various backgrounds and interests to exchange ideas, many times influencing new policy and regulations. Gather with us for intellectually honest conversations that generate good ideas.
Wednesday Morning Velo: Started in 2001, the Wednesday Morning Velo has grown in popularity as the social ride of choice for local business people that are also avid cyclists. Each week, the group meets at Amante Coffee in North Boulder and splits into four groups and heads out to ride. Each Group will ride a predetermined route, selected by the ride sponsor and approved by the organizers. Choose which ride is best for you and your training. At the end of the ride, we get together to share stories and business cards. Rides start the first week of May and run through the last week of September. We leave at 6:30 sharp (6:45 after Labor Day) and return to Amante for coffee and pastries provided by that sponsor.
Boulder Denver NewTech: The Newtech slack channel.
Denver Devs: Slack community of developers, engineers, designers, makers, cultivators, and more.
Denver UX: Slack community for Denver UX designers. Accompanies Meetup group.
TechFriends: Community for building a better Web. I’m regularly in this slack channel. Fantastic community for all things tech and startup in Boulder.
RoostCo: Roost is a shared workspace and creative hub in Boulder, CO.
Women Who Startup: The Global Women Who Startup Slack Community. Again, if you’re a woman and an entrepreneur or work in startups, join this group.
Social Media Groups and Lists
Boulder Denver Startup Facebook Group: Boulder/Denver Startups -> An FB group that allows startup founders and enthusiasts to help one another, post job openings, and contribute to the community. #givefirst
Colorado Women’s Interteam Facebook Group: Women who hold an active USAC racing license to share your teams rides and clinics where women from other racing teams are welcome to join. Our goal is to create a supportive environment & network for women racers, build friendships, work on cycling and race skills while continuing to promote and grow women’s cycling. We hope to improve cycling and racing in Colorado by respecting traffic laws, motorists, and fellow members of the peloton.
Colorado Front-Range-ish Twitter List (Eric Budd): 3,000+ folks to follow in the Front Range area in tech, bikes, and government.
Incubators and Accelerators
Boomtown: Boomtown was created for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs. Teams get to spend three months developing their startups, surrounded by the resources they need most early on. From validating product to fundraising insights, the Boomtown curriculum continues to evolve with each cohort. The resources and mentorship we provide reflect our learnings and directly support the needs of the individual startup.
Canopy: Canopy™ is a seed-stage cannabis investment fund and business accelerator serving the marijuana industry since 2014.
Cognizant Accelerator (formerly Quick Left): Cognizant Accelerator is a core team that makes entrepreneurship easier by providing tools and structured programs spanning product development, go-to-market strategies, executive mentoring, and operational excellence.
Madelife: The madelife Creative Accelerator program launches YOU to reach your creative potential. Accelerants actively participate in a 12-week program of rigorous self-evaluation, intensive mentorship with creative professionals, and a deep focus on project-based market-driven creative work. We focus specifically on individuals looking to launch a career in Graphic Design, Music, Video & Film, Photography, or take the next steps in your Creative Business.
MergeLane: MergeLane is the leading startup investment accelerator for high-growth companies with at least one female in leadership.
Techstars: Techstars is the global ecosystem that helps entrepreneurs build great businesses
Unreasonable Institute: We unite entrepreneurs with the potential to address major problems at scale. Problems like poverty, lack of education, and access to clean water. We then swarm them with hand-picked mentors, funders, and a global network to help grow their impact. Our goal? For each venture to impact 1,000,000 people.
TEEM (formerly Atomic20): Atomic20’s coworking space is centrally located and affordable, with fast internet and an inspiring design, but that’s not even the best part. Since 2009, we’ve curated a community of talented, professional, and just downright pleasant people.
Galvanize: Galvanize is where you can become a developer, data scientist, or build your tech startup.
Impact Hub: A mission and values-driven community and co-working space, Impact Hub Boulder provides a productive workspace, effective programming, and a collaborative network to accelerate our members’ efforts towards creating positive impact in the world. Become a member, enjoy our 10,000+ square foot co-working space, connect with our professional and welcoming community of members, attend an event, and enjoy many other benefits.
Roost: a shared workspace for digital makers.
Spark: We help professional and aspiring entrepreneurs grow themselves and their companies through affordable space, professional development, startup incubation, and community network.
WeWork: WeWork is an American company which provides shared workspace, community, and services for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups and small businesses.
Turing School: We turn great people into outstanding developers in 7 months. 96% of graduates are employed as full-time developers within 120 days of graduation.
Galvanize: By integrating education and industry, Galvanize puts learning and working side by side. Learn the skills and concepts you need to make an impact on the first day of your new career or improve your skills at your current gig. Whether it’s formal courses, workshops, or events, our campuses have the resources you need to #levelup.
DaVinci Coders: Learn to code in Boulder, Louisville, Denver, Colorado and re-skill your career for the tech industry in 13-16 weeks. This is a full-immersion, instructor led Micro curriculum provides hands on experience.
Spark: Learn relevant skills that are in high demand from experienced industry professionals.
IXDMA: The IXDMA is an evolution and application of the learning innovations developed through seven years and 104 graduates of BDW now working at design firms, agencies, and startups from Uber to Apple, Pinterest to R/GA, Wieden, 72 and Sunny, Deutsch LA and more. Hosted through University of Colorado Boulder. Formerly Boulder Digital Works.
RailsBridge: Free Ruby on Rails workshops for women and their friends.
Py-Ladies: To my knowledge this doesn’t exist here (please correct me if I’m wrong) but it should! The PDX group is stellar!
Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA): Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art is a catalyst for creative experiences through the exploration of significant art of our time.
Boulder Public Library: The mission of the Boulder Public Library is to enhance the personal and professional growth of Boulder residents and contribute to the development and sustainability of an engaged community through free access to ideas, information, cultural experiences and educational opportunities.
Colorado Technology Association (CTA): The Colorado Technology Association leads the network of companies and professionals fueling Colorado’s economy, through technology.
Downtown Boulder Partnership: The Downtown Boulder Partnership (DBP), formerly Downtown Boulder, Inc., is a 501c6 nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of downtown as the heart of the greater Boulder community. As the umbrella organization for the Downtown Boulder Business Improvement District (BID) and the Downtown Boulder Foundation (DBF), the Partnership works tirelessly to make our downtown a national model of success.
National Center for Women in Technology (NCWIT): The National Center for Women & Information Technology is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization chartered in 2004 by the National Science Foundation. NCWIT is a “collective impact” effort, a community of more than 850 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to increase girls’ and women’s participation in technology and computing. NCWIT helps organizations recruit, retain, and advance women from K-12 and higher education through industry and entrepreneurial careers by providing support, evidence, and action. NCWIT is the only national organization focused on women’s participation in computing across the entire ecosystem: K-12 through college education, and academic to corporate and entrepreneurial careers.
Podcasts by Locals You’d Love
Startup CTO: Startup engineering leadership podcast; because your CS degree didn’t teach you to lead.
Reboot Podcast: The Reboot podcast showcases the heart and soul, the wins and losses, the ups and downs of startup leadership. On the show, Entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and Startup Leaders discuss with Jerry Colonna the emotional and psychological challenges they face daily as leaders.
Women Who Startup Podcast: Women Who Startup Radio is a podcast production hosted in Denver, Colorado. We celebrate, connect, and empower women who startup, women founders, women who code, women in tech and women entrepreneurs.
Tech or Startup-focused Service Providers
Ascent CFO: Best fractional CFO with lots of experience in tech and startups.
SummitHR Solutions: Best fractional HR with lots of experience in tech and startups.
Mike AbiEzzi: Best fractional CTO and architect with lots of experience in tech and startups.
DV Mobile: Custom web and mobile development services HQ in Denver.
Haught CodeWorks: Custom web and mobile development services HQ in Boulder.
Dojo4: B Corp focused on web and mobile development services HQ in Boulder.
MojoTech: Rhode Island, NY, DC and Boulder web and mobile development services.
Radial Dev Group: Custom web development services HQ in Loveland.
Quick Left: Scalable enterprise web application development with emphasis on PaaS and IaaS.
Gorilla Logic: Technical staffing, nearshoring services in Costa Rica and some managed product development. HQ in Boulder.
Emerson Stone: Emerson Stone is a product-focused design agency in Boulder, Colorado. Through strong partnerships with our clients, we create beautiful brands and lasting digital applications used by millions of people around the world.
KO: Law firm focused on startups
Bryan Cave: Several areas of practice as a law firm but host events focused on tech around town.
Silicon Valley Bank (SVB): Earlier stage companies
Holland and Hart Law Firm: Several areas of focus but host events focused on Natural foods and oil and gas.
Kurtz Fargo: CPA focused on Tax in early stage companies.
Reboot: Reboot is a coaching company. We help entrepreneurs and their teams deal with the internal ups and downs of entrepreneurship and support the growth they need to improve their performance and their life.
Technical Integrity: Recruiting excelling in Data Driven Decision Making For Building Executive, Sales and Engineering Teams.
LeadOut Sales: I had to slip this in 🙂 Our firm specializing in tech and startups. If you read this far, I’m impressed.
SeedAngel: The Seed Angel forum is a casual event, limited to fifty individuals hand selected by the community leader and their team. For entrepreneurs it’s an opportunity to pitch to active angels in the community.
Blackstone Entrepreneur Network: The Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network (“BEN” or “the Network”) in Colorado is funded by a $3 million gift from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation to the State of Colorado and is administered by the University of Colorado’s Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship. In parallel with other Silicon Flatirons projects, like Startup Colorado and the CU-Boulder campus entrepreneurship initiative, BEN identifies promising Colorado-based companies across industries (namely, technology, health, aerospace, energy, and natural products) and geographies, and provides guidance and meaningful connections to help these companies scale. With the help of our advisor network, BEN leverages expertise across a range of disciplines, connecting and supporting our community and network members with a range of valuable programming. By building relationships, providing educational resources, and supporting scale-up growth through a range of offerings, BEN is a natural extension of the overall educational and outreach mission of Silicon Flatirons.
Range Light: Primarily Active Lifestyle and Natural Foods investments
Rockies Venture Club: An Angel Group, our mission is to advance Economic Development in the Rocky Mountain Region.
LOHAS Group: Not really venture but wanted to include because they host an annual LOHAS conference with a venture component. The LOHAS Group is a strategy firm focusing on helping companies discover, create, nurture and develop their unique brand assets and advises large and small corporations on accessing and profiting from the +$300 billion lifestyles of health and sustainability marketplace. We have been instrumental in the development of the global LOHAS concept that has spread rapidly throughout the world as an identifier of elevated and deeper connection with planet, people, profit and healthy living.
High Country Venture
Sequel Venture Partners
Lacuna Gap Capital
Greenmont Capital Partners
KRG Capital Partners
Also published on Medium.