Colorado’s Technology Corridor, A Well Kept Secret


Above Video: Come join me on my “walk through” videos (see others) to meet Boulder’s tech community.

I took the day off from work yesterday, and did some sight seeing of the Rockies (thanks to long term friend Kit who was one of the organizers of the Thin Air Summit) and had an opportunity to meet the large tech community at the “Tea House” in Boulder. I quickly learned that the tech scene is active, there’s many startups, events, and a VC community (including this incubator program called TechStars) that helps spur this eco system forward. What makes it attractive? The opportunity to be exposed to the great outdoors, the clean (yet expensive) Boulder area, great food, and healthy lifestyle.

Being in Silicon Valley, we’re so centrist in our thinking and don’t get enough exposure to the other tech communities around the country and globe (although I’m trying hard to meet each community) as a result we haven’t heard that much about Colorado’s tech corridor.

I observed that the entrepreneurial spirit runs high in Colorado, many folks want to strike it out on their own (I wonder if this is tied back to the silver rush and early settlers) vs many in Silicon Valley may prefer to join startups and exit rather than building their own sole-propertiership. The environment was warm and people shared –even with risk of sharing competitive information.

Despite the warmth of this community that’s nestled between the Rocky mountains and the great plains, they’re very insular and don’t share their story to the rest of the world. I’ve visited countries where they actually have government sponsored outreach programs just to tell their story in order to attract buyers, partners, and employees –Colorado could really benefit by not only focusing inward, but being a bit more extroverted and sharing their story with others.

Well, if anyone in Colorado was hoping to keep their ecosystem a secret –too late now, I just told my community.

Above, I interviewed Kit Seeborg and was joined by Jason and James both of Room 214, a local pure play social media agency.

The list of startups we were throwing out were just a small sample, I crowdsourced the list through Twitter, if you know of other startups, tweet the name and tag it #costartup. See the growing list of tech startups in Colorado in this twitter search result.

If you attended the Tweetup yesterday, leave a comment with your handle.

  • I was there http://twitter.com/jowyang

    Thanks to Kit for organizing (and driving me around all day)

    She’s at:
    http://twitter.com/zsazsa

  • I saw this tweet:

    mwredfern: @jowyang it is! but we are a lay-over state and not a destination. eg. atlanta, boston, dc/fairfax.

    I heard it a few times over the weekend. It’s up to you to change that isn’t it?

  • Great to see you again, you can find me on the twitter at
    http://www.twitter.com/andrewhyde

  • Sorry I missed the tweetup — it would have been great to meet you! So close, yet so far.

  • Hey Jeremiah,
    Great meeting you yesterday in Boulder. You are correct the Tech scene in Denver/Boulder is very strong and growing. Say hi to Merv next time you see him. Twitter: ShawnRog

    See you again,
    Shawn

  • Wish I had a little more time to stick around. My hour flew by! Josh from Tuggl, all attending feel free to twitter me @joshclauss. Thanks to the organizers.

  • I was there: http://www.twitter.com/juliebonner
    I am new to CO and unfortunately live an hour from the Boulder tweeps. I was absolutely amazed this past weekend by the people I met. I’ve lived all over the United States, yet the people from this weekend challenged me like no one else ever has.

    It was great to meet you Jeremiah! Thanks for coming to CO.

  • Per your request, my twitter handle is JonnySack – Thx for the vid Jeremiah. Keep posted for my website to become live…

  • Great lunch, awesome conversation. Keep coming back Jeremiah.

    My Twitter handle:

    http://www.twitter.com/jamesoclark

  • Loved our chat yesterday at the tweetup re whether one should 1)Focus on developing a personal brand or
    2)Purely stay focused on their mission without regard to their personal brand. As we discussed, we all really need to do both because our brand is all we have. In the end, it helps us foster the success of #2 above! So enjoyed meeting you and look forward to reading your analysis of the internet and web strategy as we all progress with it as it moves forward. Always call on me if I can help you!
    Hugs,
    Angie
    http://www.twitter.com/aaswartz

  • This was great to see Jeremiah. I’ve lived in Boulder for 2 years and have always seen it as a setting for another .com boom. I agree Boulder needs to express themselves more to the outside world- as Boulder has a lot to offer. Me being from NJ and working with primarily LA start ups- I could probably lend a hand there.

  • Great meetup at the Tea House – thanks for organizing it, Jeremiah. I love meeting in person the folks I follow on Twitter. http://www.twitter.com/hollyk

  • Hey Jeremiah, it was fun seeing you again! Come back to Boulder sometime.

    – Amy Gahran

    agahran

  • That was definitely the biggest tweetup I’ve attended, and the crowd was inspiring!

    Thanks, Jeremiah!

    Eric
    http://twitter.com/datingdad
    http://widefoc.us

  • Holly thanks but the credit goes to Kit Seeborg @zsazsa for this event!

    Amy, I saw you blog it, very cool, too bad no miniskirts.

  • Sorry to have missed this — clearly I’ve gotten too heads down writing code — thanks for coming to Boulder!

    My quick question is: I don’t understand where this idea that there’s a secret came from?

    We’ve been doing high tech and startups in Colorado for decades…we have IBM, Sun (StorageTek), Level3, Ball Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, the hard drive industry, the cable and satellite TV industries, etc.

    We had dozens and dozens of companies and startups here during “Bubble 1.0” … Blue Mountain Arts anyone? MapQuest?…VStream/Raindance…EMail Publishing…I’m sure I’m overlooking many.

    We had an amazing concentration of new media labs in the 90s, Apple, Knight Ritter, Viacom/Paramount, Philips, Kodak, CableLabs, etc.

    It’s great that there is newfound interest and new blood in the area, but the only “secret” seems to be that not everyone has learned the long history of innovation here.

    Of course, it takes years to make an overnight success!

    Glad you found us!

    Joe Pezzillo
    Boulder, Colorado USA
    @metafy (my company) and @ejoep (my snark)

  • PS – Let me add that I don’t think this “secret” meme just started with this post, I’ve seen it emerging over the last few months here, so I presume it was part of the story you found when you arrived. We seem to have a new influx of folks who are so justifiably excited about arriving in this area that they want to spread the word far and wide, and that’s a great thing, as long as in our exuberance we’re conscious not to also import the bad parts of the Silicon Valley “lifestyle.” Thanks again!

  • Thanks for coming to meet us all at the tea house Jeremiah. It’s been a while since I worked in the Silicon Valley (I grew up there and went to school there). The intense focus you see in the valley is tempered here, but we also know how to play which is, perhaps, why there is so much creativity coming from Colorado.

    Like the tagline for the Thin Air Summit says, we are “independent and connected” and one of the missions of the summit was to show that connectedness not only inside Colorado but outside as well.

    You hit it right, that same spirit that drove people to strike it rich in mining leads people here to mine for ideas and inspiration and that is here in large measure.

  • Joe

    Sure, Colorado and many other places have been doing innovation for years, but I’m specifically talking about the social media startups in the web 20 space.

  • Sorry that I couldn’t escape the office yesterday Jeremiah, but I sent plenty of Colorado good vibes your way. Sounds like our tech scene was represented by the best and Kit assures me you’ll be back. I look forward to talking with you next time you visit!

    (I’m the one who sent you a tweet correcting the spelling of Lijit…)

    You can follow our company on Twitter: http://twitter.com/lijit

    Or my personal antics here: http://twitter.com/tarable

  • Jen

    Thanks for the visit, hope you enjoyed your stay!

    @jennyjenjen

  • Jeremiah, really thankful to Kit for the introduction yesterday, and for your time over a tasty lunch.

    Need to make a correction regarding TechStars: Although I know an owner of a TechStars company that received funding consistent with the number I mentioned in the video – turns out it was actually funding from a second round.

    The initial seed money from TechStars is up to $15k. The real value of the program obviously goes far beyond that. Over 300 companies applied last year, with only 10 being accepted.

    If anyone would like to take advantage of similar inflationary numbers for the shameless promotion of their community, they can catch me on twitter at http://twitter.com/JasonCormier

    Thanks again!

  • Hey Jeremiah — great to see you in Boulder! Thanks for the excuse to get so many great folks assembled F2F at the TeaHouse.

    Our thesis behind the great startup scene in Colorado: if we can start companies at altitude, then we can out-perform our competition at sea-level 😉

    Thanks for spreading the word.

    http://twitter.com/jkembel

  • Jeremiah:

    So glad you came out for Thin Air Summit (we all owe Kit for talking you into that!) and got the opportunity to experience firsthand what an amazing community we have here in the Denver/Boulder area.

    Actually, I need to include Colorado Springs as well – some of the folks who came up to join us from there this weekend are doing great things as well.

    Something about our mountain air, I’m guessing, brings out that pioneering spirit!

    Wishing I could’ve made it up to the tweetup – the folks in Boulder are awesome and always manage to inspire me every time I get up there.

    Come visit us any time!

  • Enjoyed meeting you at the tea house. It was my first of many tweetups. Thanks again for helping expose our secret to the tech community.
    http://www.twitter.com/edunigan
    Looking forward to your next visit to CO.

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  • Enjoyed meeting you at TAS, Jeremiah. Thanks for all your great advice, especially about figuring out the breathing pattern of your market.

    http://twitter.com/AndreaMeyer

  • I was so delighted to see this post. It is exactly what I, being a huge fan of the local tech community, have wanted to do. We need to promote the brilliance and the exciting innovation happening in our state. Going back to our conversation at the Paramount Cafe on Saturday, we need to get the word out. Thanks for starting that conversation.
    @melissahourigan

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  • Hi, missed the tweetup but good to meet you at #tas08. We set up startup in Boulder/Denver and didn’t realise completely how vibrant the startup community really was until we got over here. We had a sense of it. But didn’t get the full picture until we hit the ground here. It is a great community.
    @jedwhite

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  • Jeremiah, one of the blessings of my job as community manager is that I have been able to travel to many of the tech communities… many of them outside of the valley or san fran.

    I’d recommend it to anyone. Sarah Lacy just recently did her User Generated Book tour where she went to non-SF tech towns and it sounds like it was real blessing to her.

    I’d recommend places like… Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Miami, Austin, Houston, LA and Washington, DC (where I am).

  • Great to see you at TAS and the Tea House, thanks for coming out. The podcast is in the works.

    Penguin on twitter

    Jeremy

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  • <~~~~~~ LookWutitDun2MeFace

    Colorado can’t do real science.
    Texas is a brain drain for all of the midwest.