Startup incubator sees connecting rural investors with startup founders in their own backyard as one of Colorado’s “secret weapons
EAGLE — Justin Bradshaw and Mark Roebke knew where they wanted to be: close to the ski hills and trails in a riverside mountain town. They just had to convince investors that Colorado’s West Slope was the perfect place to anchor their global technology company.
The entrepreneurs who founded Rever — the Eagle-based motorcycle navigation and ride-sharing app that is nearing 1 million users in more than 140 countries since its creation in 2015 — are among a growing number of start-up companies seeded by an increasingly receptive cadre of Colorado-loving angel investors who see the Western Slope and its outdoor lifestyle as fertile ground for innovation.
“Our investors in Colorado, they have different mindsets and different outlooks and priorities in life which are more aligned with what we are trying to do,” Bradshaw said. “Yes, we are a VC-backed start-up and we intend to provide our investors returns. But at the same time, we really have to stay core to who our audience is. If we were cooped up in San Francisco or New York City it wouldn’t feel as authentic.”
Bradshaw and Roebke normally can’t attend networking events and regular gatherings that foster entrepreneurship in urban hubs like New York, San Francisco, Austin and Colorado’s Front Range. Next week, they will. The first-ever Techstars Startup Week West Slope launches June 5 with free educational and networking events in Carbondale, the Yampa Valley, the Vail Valley and largely Grand Junction.