11 Steps to Plug into the Boulder/Denver Startup Scene

Many times a month I get asked for ways to plug into the Boulder/Denver startup scene. While working as an Associate at Techstars, Julie Penner shared a list with me of great resources to get plugged into the startup scene here. I’ve since shared this list with dozens of people (with Julie’s permission of course) and added to it. That list only lived in email, so I figured it was time to spruce it up and share it with the community. Please let me know what I’ve missed in comments so I can attempt to keep it updated.

Shotouts to Joshua Baer for the idea/framework, Julie Penner for some of the original content and Paul Foley and Rachel Beisel for their iterations of this list that can be found here and here (<-they both have some great content not found below).

Meet these people, follow these Twitter accounts, join these Facebook groups, and attend these Meetups to get instantly plugged into the Boulder/Denver Startup Scene!

1. Sign up for the Boulder/Denver Startup Digest

This is an easy one that will pay dividends. Go to startupdigest.com/boulder (don’t worry, I’ll wait) and click the “Subscribe” button in the upper right-hand corner.

2. Follow these people on Twitter

Follow these movers and shakers below that often tweet gold nuggets of information, events, etc. If these below aren’t enough, here is a handy Twitter List from BuiltinCO with even more people to follow.

Co-founder of Techstars Global Accelerator, Founder at Foundry Group, Author of Startup Revolution Series, Co-Author of Venture Deals, Marathon Runner, Philanthropist and much more. Follow him to find out what’s happening with the CO startup community.

David is the Founder of Techstars along with Brad Feld, David Brown, and Jared Polis. Techstars has invested in over 1,000 companies across the globe. Follow him to find out what’s happening with Techstars locally, globally and happenings in Boulder.

Seth is a co-founder and partner at Foundry Group. He is “a little geeky. a little funny. a lot opinionated. saving the world one tech investment at a time..”. Follow him to keep a pulse on the startup scene in Boulder and around the globe as well as some occasional coverage of current events.

Andrew is the most prolific community organizer in Boulder — responsible for starting Startup Week and Startup Weekend (launched here in Boulder), organizer of TedXCU and many other great meetups. Follow him to get the insider scoop on the Boulder community.

Julie is the Director of Techstars Boulder program and helps support community. Julie is one of the people most plugged into the regional startup scene in Boulder. Follow her to find out what’s going on with TSB and other great community events.

Fletcher Richman @fletchrichman
Co-founder & CEO @BubbleIQ // Partner @ Kokopelli.vc // Cofounder @SeedAngel_CO // Co-founder & now advisor @SparkBoulder & @CatalyzeCU || #getshitdonen

Fletcher was one of the first super-connectors I met in college and he quickly showed me the way to navigate the Boulder startup community. You’ll find him at many of the events and posting about the latest and greatest gadgets, apps, hacks, and events around town.

3. Join these Facebook groups

Facebook Groups seem to be a popular online forum these days. You’ll find vibrant groups on many different topics where people post news, jobs and discuss the topic of the day.

A great group to start with is Boulder/Denver Startups — A community for Colorado startup enthusiasts to help one another, learn from each other, and contribute to the growth of entrepreneurship in the state. #givefirst

If you’re looking for a job, check out Luke’s Circle and Built in Colorado Jobs page. You might also get noticed by volunteering in the community for Startup Week/Weekend or other events.

4. Get your news here

The traditional news source is the Denver Business Journal. Part of the national BizJournals network, they publish a print edition, online edition, daily news emails, and a great Twitter feed.

There are also a number of online-only media outlets that cover the startup scene and are worth watching.

BizWest (@bizwestmedia) | Twitter

Aiming to be the premier provider of the most accurate, in-depth, business news and developer of the deepest and most up-to-date business database, in Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado.

5. Hang out at these places

Coffee shops, co-working spaces, taco places, and hiking trails, these are all natural meeting places and are high traffic so you’re more likely to just bump into someone there. The places to hang out in downtown Boulder are Gather in the beautiful Galvanize Building, Amante on Walnut or in North Boulder. If social enterprise and impact are more your flavor, check out the Impact Hub Boulder.

6. Go to these Coffee Clubs/Happy Hours/Events

Sometimes it’s easier to meet people over beers or coffee, check out some great events to connect with folks:

  • 1 Million Cups — A weekly event for local entrepreneurs to meet and present their startups to the thriving peer network of founders. The coffee is highly encouraged.
  • Boulder Event
  • Denver Event
  • Are you fundraising for your startup? Are you an active angel investor looking to meet the newest startup that no one else has found yet? Come mix and mingle with everyone who is in the market. Seed Angel Forum happens once a quarter in Denver and Boulder. View upcoming events and apply to participate here.
  • Built In Brews is a monthly social celebration hosted by an innovative startup that gathers digital technologists, entrepreneurs, and influential minds making headway in the industry. Join to see the inside of some of the Colorado’s most inspiring startup offices, meet the teams, and get to know other members of the tech scene.
  • Geeks Who Drink is a homegrown Pub Trivia Quiz modeled after those in Ireland and the UK. Find them all over Boulder, Denver and in between.
  • Flatirons LGBTQ Tech Happy Hour and Networking — 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 and beyond. As of September 2014, we are an official National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Affinity Group member.

7. Go to these Meetups

Meetups are a great and easy way to tap into the Boulder/Denver Startup Community and you can find a half-dozen going on any given night on Meetup.com.

A great meetup you should go to is the Boulder Denver New Tech (BDNT) which happens about once a month. There is always an announcement section and plenty of people; locals, new to town, old, young you name it. There is usually a happy hour beforehand so you can make connections while you are there.

Boulder Open Coffee Club, moderated by Bing Chou, an informal meetup that serves as a great way to take the pulse of the startup community. BOCC 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.

Here’s a look at some Technology Meetups happening around town that are worth checking out:

8. Go to the next hack-a-thon or Startup Week/Weekend

A super common question I get asked is how to find a co-founder. I think that hack-a-thons are one of the best places. The people who attend are self-selected startup types and you get to really see what people are like and how hard they work under pressure. {any examples of companies started from Startup Weekend?}

{add links below — ask carl about Hackathons}

HackCU — The largest hackathon in the Rocky Mountain Region at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

T9 Hacks -T9Hacks is a 24-hour make-a-thon at the University of Colorado Boulder’s ATLAS Institute. Students work on creative and humanitarian technology projects.

Boulder Startup Week — Boulder Startup Week is an independent, free, five day event that celebrates the unique community in Boulder, Colorado.Denver Startup Week — The largest startup week ever right down highway 36. Join over 15,000 others at the largest startup even in the country.

Startup Weekend — In just 54 hours, you will experience the highs, lows, fun, and pressure that make up life at a startup. As you learn how to create a real company, you’ll meet the very best mentors, investors, cofounders, and sponsors who are ready to help you get started.

9. Sign up for a Co-working Membership at Galvanize or Impact Hub.

Surround yourself with entrepreneurs by getting a membership at a co-working space that caters to tech startups. Bump into like-minded people in the kitchen and at events. Sign up for “office hours” to meet with mentors and investors.

Boulder Co-Working spaces:

Impact Hub Boulder (also on Walnut)

CAMPWORKS (S. Boulder)

Denver Co-Working spaces:

Galvanize Platte or Galvanize Golden Triangle

WeWork (Lohi, Union Station, and Tabor Center)

The Commons on Champa (Free)

10. Learn to code

Teach yourself to code on CodeAcademy or attend a 3month+ intensive course. Attend meetups and hack-a-thons and work on side projects at Amante or Gather.

General Assembly Denver — General Assembly is a pioneer in education and career transformation, specializing in today’s most in-demand skills. The leading source for training, staffing, and career transitions, we foster a flourishing community of professionals pursuing careers they love.

Turing School of Software and Design — They turn great people into outstanding developers in 7 months. 96% of graduates are employed as full-time developers within 120 days of graduation.

Code Craft — CodeCraft School offers a full-time, 12-week JavaScript-based (MEAN stack) Full Stack Web Development bootcamp, a 24-week evening-format Web Development and WordPress bootcamp, and a full-time, 22-week UX Design bootcamp in Boulder, CO.

Galvanize Coding School — Full-time and part-time, immersive learning programs are well-suited for those looking launch a new career as a web developer or data scientist. 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.

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.

RefactorU: RefactorU was founded in 2013 in response to the growing need for skilled, early-career JavaScript developers. While there were a handful of coding bootcamps in the United States, RefactorU was one of the first to offer full-stack JavaScript training. Since 2013, RefactorU has graduated over 250 full-stack web developers from our 10-week immersive bootcamp.

RailsBridge: Free Ruby on Rails workshops for women and their friends.

11. Get Accelerated

Boulder is home to Techstars HQ and the first ever Techstars program in 2007. Since then, a bunch of awesome accelerators have popped up that can help accelerate your company with mentorship, strategic partnership connections, capital, office space, and more. Check some out below:

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.

Canopy™ — Canopy™ is a seed-stage business accelerator program and venture fund for the legal cannabis industry.

Catalyze CU — 8 week, summer startup accelerator designed for CU students, faculty, and staff.

MergeLane- Although not doing their traditional 3-month cohorts anymore, MergeLane discovers, accelerates and invests in exceptional women and the companies they run. Check out their conscious leadership camp offerings.

SecureSet — A cybersecurity academy with the mission of transforming and securing the world by educating a new generation of cybersecurity professionals.

Techstars — Techstars is the Worldwide Network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. They host 13-week accelerator programs around the world.

Travelport Labs — Twice a year, the Travelport Labs Accelerator accepts a small number of travel startups into their four-month Accelerator program.

Traxion — Harnesses the collective power of our community by bringing local governments, corporations, educational institutions and individuals together to provide a solid foundation for early-stage companies to establish themselves, gain traction and thrive. Based out of Golden, CO.

Uncharted — (fka Unreasonable Institute), Uncharted unites entrepreneurs with the potential to address major problems at scale. Problems like poverty, lack of education, and access to clean water. They then swarm them with hand-picked mentors, funders, and a global network to help grow their impact. Their goal? For each venture to impact 1,000,000 people.

UpRamp — UpRamp connects radical entrepreneurs with the connectivity industry through unique, personal relationships with the most powerful network in the world. We’re partners for the entire startup journey, from an idea and a URL through to unicorn.

Originally published at Micah’s Mashup.

Meet these people, follow these Twitter accounts, join these Facebook groups, and attend these Meetups to get instantly plugged into the Boulder/Denver Startup Scene!

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