Erik Mitisek, Chairman Built in Denver
If you haven’t seen it yet, please check Built in Denver, the new website that focuses on the staartup and entrepreneurial activities happing in and around Denver, Colorado. Members, events, companies, blogs, jobs and more come together on the site as a go-to resource for those living in or near Denver and those outside Denver who want to know more about the City of Denver, Denver entrepreneurship, Denver startups and more.
A great thank you to Erik Mitisek, Built in Denver’s Chairman, for the legwork that went in to pulling this together.
Why “Built in Denver?” Why not “Built in Colorado?” Or “Built in America?”
For me the answer to this question goes to two key issues. First, focus. We want Denver to have a resource that allows the entire community to pull together and amplify the voices, opportunities, entrepreneurs, startups and supporting resources that make Denver one of the best places on the planet to live and work. A different, “Built in Colorado,” theme could accomplish only a part of that and “Built in America” rather misses the point – of focus – entirely.
The second issue is promotion. In Brad Feld’s recent book, Startup Communities, Brad describes his Boulder Thesis. (It’s a great book and a great read, by the way.) Brad didn’t choose “‘Boulder’ Thesis” to diss Denver (or Palo Alto). But he acknowledged that by using this term, he was promoting Boulder and the great entrepreneurs and startups in Boulder.
Teaching Lean – Thinking Like and Agilist
“Built in Denver” operates in that same spirit. We want to promote Denver – not at the expense of other great cities in Colorado – but in a way that proves beneficial to the entire state and this regional ecosystem.
What’s happening in Denver that warrants this focus? Many, many things. Denver Startup Week, from October 22nd – 27th, has to have been one of the biggest most compelling events for startups in the Denver’s history. More than 70 events. Incredible events that were so well attended they often required larger venues to accommodate all the people who signed up.
And during Denver Startup Week, Galvanize had its coming out party. With capital, a curriculum, community leaders, a beautiful, well designed space, and a great team to support it, Galvanize captured even more attention that it had during the i4C campaign.
Before Denver Startup Week, I was fortunate to serve as a judge as ten teams delivered their Denver Startup Weekend pitches. Jon Rossi did an incredible job pulling this together and is to be commended along with each of the organizers, teams and judges who devoted their time and energy.
But the real story of what’s happening right now in Denver is about the entrepreneurs and startups that have embraced the City of Denver as never before. Lodo is crawling with them! Built in Denver is a great way to call attention to this and give credit where credit is due: to the founders and entrepreneurs who are building new companies and the supporting institutions – including the academic institutions (MetroState, CU Denver, and DU); Michael B. Hancock, Mayor of Denver; Paul Washington, Executive Director, Office of Economic Development, City and County of Denver; and Tami Door, President & CEO, Downtown Denver Partnership.
It bears mentioning that we still have a lot of work to do. Startups – like infants – are dependent and in need of care and feeding. Without this, they don’t survive and certainly don’t realize their full potential. I’ll leave to another post a discussion of the list of things that startups require, but among them are entrepreneurial leadership, mentors, sources of capital, an affordable pool of talent, and a supportive community that includes academic institutions and state and local government.
It is my sincere belief that the future of Denver and of Colorado is being shaped right now. Think of it as the new frontier, perilous and not for the faint of heart, but offering the promise of an amazing future.