$200,000 For Colorado Startup Community Activities and Events

I’m excited to announce the launch of the Colorado Startup Community Fund. This is a $200,000 fund for providing financing to support activities, events, and organizations in the Colorado startup community. It’s part of the Startup Colorado initiative and is going to make the first round of grants at the end of Q3.

The Startup Colorado Community Fund from Startup Colorado on Vimeo.

One of the four principles of my Boulder Thesis (discussed in my book Startup Communities) is that you need to have activities and events that engage the entire entrepreneurial stack on a continual basis. If you look at the activity in Boulder and Denver, there is at least a one activity every day at this point – sometimes as many as five. It’s amazing to observe and experience – this super-saturation of activities and events around the startup community is awesome.

Many of them are entrepreneur-driven events that are free to participants. Many are done in a bare bones, scrappy way – which is awesome. While many have contributed venues, there’s always some minor cost, especially as they scale up. Beer and pizza isn’t free.

As a result, many of these entrepreneurs run around rounding up small amounts of sponsorship from local service providers. $1,000 here, $2,500 there. Or they start charging a modest fee – say $10 / event.

Our goal with the Colorado Startup Community Fund is to eliminate the need for the entrepreneurs putting on these events to have to scramble to raise a small amount of money. Or charge the other entrepreneurs who are participating. Instead, we’ll be giving grants each quarter, ranging from $1,000 to $25,000, to underwrite the costs of these activities and events. We’ll be funding activities and events across Colorado, with a focus on Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins.

I’ve personally contributed $25,000 to the Colorado Startup Community Fund. Other founding contributors include Jim Franklin, SendGrid; Ryan Martens, Rally Software; Nancy Phillips, Viawest; Steve Halstedt, Centennial Ventures; Libby Cook, Founder, Sunflower Markets; Jim Deters, Galvanize; Bob Ogdon, SwiftPage; and Dan Caruso, Zayo Group.

If you are interested in participating in the Colorado Startup Community Fund, either as a financial contributor, or as a grant recipient, feel free to email me.

  • Awesome initiative! We will try to set one up here in Iceland.

    • Thx.

    • ObjectMethodology.com

      I’ve been wondering how things are going there? Last we talked you were trying to attract funding to the area. Did you reach your funding goals?

  • Wow, this is awesome

  • brandonmwest

    Proud to work for a company with great investors, great leaders, and in such a great community. Thanks to everyone that contributed to this!

  • Joshua Cyr

    Would you mind doing a follow up post on how you have structured it, pitched it to contributors, and manage it? Would be great to see the model for those of us who are interested in setting something up similar in our own areas.

    • How about if we open source it? We’ll just put all the background stuff up on the web site. Working on it now.

      • Joshua Cyr


      • Neil Murray

        Here or on Startup Colorado? p.s Wow, that’s amazing! 🙂

        • We are going to put it up here.

      • AndyStoll

        Thank you Brad, as always, Iowa is definitely down to open source. Thank you!

  • Greg Tehven

    Brilliant. We could use this solution all over the midwest. Let us know when you are ready to expand to Fargo!

  • John Mueller

    nice!!!! how long do you see this fund lasting? i am assuming $200k is just the start to see what will happen, and then others will contribute funds in the future to keep it going if it is fruitful for the community, yes?

    • This is for the first year. Our expectation is we’ll do a similar sized one in year 2.

  • Nick Ambrose

    Sounds awesome! For sure, one of the biggest ways to grow the community is by increasing the number of personal relationships out there. Finding that out right now (the hard way) over here in Seattle…

  • Bill Van Eron

    Serious congratulations Brad. I heard something about an economic development grant that is tied to jobs and many of us understand the value entrepreneurs have. We are blessed to have you in Colorado Brad. I really connected to your Inc article and appreciated you sharing your personal insight on the stress in entrepreneurism. Not sure if my other message went through. The last 6 months I have developed a model that goes beyond the incubators cooperatively to aggregate several key technologies that help more entrepreneurs faster, lean and affordably while creating more value for key stakeholders – sponsors, advisors, incubators. Have to say doing this all by myself is a load but am driven by the contribution it can make if my assumptions are correct. Love to chat. [email protected] 970-221-0751

  • Roberto Krishan

    Coolest thing I’ve seen done in Boulder this year! Congrats to each one of you. All we need now is a Maglev among the cities. All best, Roberto —

  • ObjectMethodology.com

    A new website, looks nice.
    I see your tagline says “I invest in software and Internet companies around the US…”
    Don’t you also invest globally? Or did you change your approach to only the US.

    • I only invest in the US.

  • Brian Dickman

    I have an 8,000 sq. ft. workplace and event center in Parker, CO. By day we are a coworking office/hackerspace. In the evenings and weekends, we offer tech education for kids. Since opening this May, we have done a Robotics Open House, Sphero Rangers class and offer ongoing Minecraft club, Moviemaking, Programming and Robotics Team in addition to a weekly Open Lab. Does it fit the goal of the fund to work with 1) a program focused on young minds 2) in Parker? (I fell in love with the Commodore VIC-20 when I was 11 years old, so I know it’s important to feed the young minds while they have the time and interest.)

    • Sure! Apply with regard to a specific program.

    • Brian, I’m in Littleton and would like to visit, what’s your location/place name so I can visit this week?

      • Brian Dickman

        Hi Kevin. It’s called Deep Space (www.deepspace.me) in Parker. Address/map is on the site. I’m here just about every waking hour, so come on by.

  • ElisaMillerOut

    I love this idea, Brad! We definitely need something similar in Ithaca. We can relate to having to round up lots of small sponsorships for Ithaca Venture Community on a regular basis and know well how much work that entails!