“Sometimes Boulder doesn’t know Boulder.” I often hear this downtown referring to the mass amount of talented folks in town that have never met or worked together. Over the last five years I have seen the Boulder community really get to know the startup scene. Some people are surprised that Boulder is such a startup hotspot. If you have not yet met this group, I would like to give you a kind introduction.
Boulder has a thriving scene of startup web companies. I would list our fair city in the top four cities in the US for startups to start, a large feat for a small town. We have very active Venture Capitalists (Foundry Group, Vista Ventures, Boulder Ventures), and angel investors that infuse some of the startups with capital.
When the downtown traffic lights flash red hours after the bars close you will see a few lights still on. These offices are full of the underdog, the bootstrapper, the person or company putting it all on the line to prove something. To change part of the world. To spread a message or simply build something people love.
This group of businesses that are usually less than three years old, cash flow negative and full of energy, hope and passion. It is a risky business to be in, with high turnover rates and even higher failure. But in this community failure isn’t an end all, it is part of the process.
Community is a big part of the culture. For startupers, community events are a chance to get out of the office and into a casual setting with other people that are passionate about what they are doing. Beer and good stories are generally the center of gatherings. If you have not connected with the group, these are your best introductions:
- The most popular event is the monthly Boulder New Tech Meetup run by OneRiot’s Robert Reich. Five companies demo what they have been working on while over 350 fellow enthusiasts cheer and jeer them on. The next event is August 4th. $5 suggested donation. http://www.bdnewtech.com/
- Open Coffee is an every other week ‘sit down and chat about tech with Venture Capitalists’ hosted at The Cup. The next event is July 21sthttp://www.boulderopencoffeeclub.com
- The biggest event is an every other month at the Boulder Theater, a ‘public speaking event of sorts’ named Ignite. Fourteen presenters each have five minutes to talk about whatever topic they would like, whether that is “Hacking Chocolate” or How To Survive Freefall from 30,000 Feet, a DIY Guide.” There is a catch though, presenters must have 20 slides that auto advance after 15 seconds. The next event is September 16th. Tickets $10 (and it sells out) http://www.igniteboulder.com
- Social media plays a huge roll in the local scene, with blogging, Twitter, FaceBook, BrightKite and FourSquare playing their own unique rolls. Almost every hour you can find a group meeting at a local coffeeshop stemming from online chatter.
A full list of upcoming startup events with some commentary, job list and event reviews can be found at http://boulder.me
Andrew Hyde is a startup enthusiast, triathlete and designer. He blogs at andrewhyde.net where you can find all the other places he hides out online.