Techstars founder, VC Brad Feld will share tips on building startup communities at June 6 West Slope Startup Week.
Colorado’s ski towns may be Colorado’s secret weapon to building startup in the mountains, says longtime venture capitalist Brad Feld.
The cofounder of Techstars and managing director of Foundry Group in Boulder will give the keynote at the first annual West Slope Startup Week in Grand Junction on Thursday, June 6 at 11:30 a.m., and he’ll discuss how the area’s farflung regions can build a powerful community of entrepreneurial activity.
Techstars runs Startup Week events all over the globe, from Kosovo to Boulder, and this summer marks the first time the event will reach the Colorado’s mountain towns.
Feld says ski towns may be the “magic of Colorado” and could help drive a lot of the activity in rural Colorado.
Why? Because millions of high net-worth individuals pass through ski towns like Vail, Telluride, Steamboat and Aspen — many of those individuals are entrepreneurial-minded, many of them high-level executives, even more of them investors. If they get exposed to bubbling entrepreneurial activity in the surrounding areas of those towns, it could be a boon to startups that need angel and strategic investors.
Take Aspen.If you drew a circle around a 75-mile radius around Aspen, the towns of Basalt, Carbondale, and Glenwood Springs create a very interesting region for a startup community.
“Even if entrepreneurs attract a small percentage of the attention of those visitors, it can have a transformative impact,” says Feld.
That activity is already starting to happen. In Steamboat, Four Points Funding is organizing angel investors to look at mountain startup deals. The upcoming West Slope Startup Week will only fuel that interest. In Carbondale, Coventure offers coworking, startup incubation, mentoring and investment to startups. The Rocky Mountain Institute Innovation Center, a nonprofit dedicated to transforming global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future also sits in Basalt.
“You then have this cascade phenomena,” Feld says, and that can extend to other parts of the state, such as the Colorado Nature Conservancy and the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden.
The upcoming West Slope Startup Week, he says, should work to boost the momentum across a wide net of geographies and connect participants — not just entrepreneurs.
“So it’s no longer Telluride versus Grand Junction. They now view themselves as a collective,” he says. “The hope is that there will be a visceral improvement in the energy level, and that energy has a long tail.”
Blog post written by the Content & Storytelling Sponsor for West Slope Startup Week, Campfire Content