Brad Feld

Tag: Colorado

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While the fires in Colorado have calmed down and the firefighters are in the process of getting them contained, there continues to be plenty of fire danger as the firefighters continue to work incredibly hard. It’s going to be a tough summer for fire in Colorado and I’m proud of all the support this community has given out of the gate to people impacted.

As of this evening we’ve raised $43,000, including the $20,000 match from me, Amy, and NewsGator. A number of companies have signed up to match gifts and Crowdrise, who has helped us get this online fundraiser up and running in the last 24 hours, has been awesome to work with.

If you haven’t contributed and are willing, please donate now. All of your donations via Team Anchor Point Fund (the foundation Amy and I have) will go to the Denver Foundation – CO Fire Relief Fund 2012.

There are many other initiatives going on to fund firefighters and people impacted by the fire. One of my favorites is Wild Fire Tees. I bought one yesterday – all of the profits are being donated to Care and Share or the Colorado Red Cross.

Sometimes it’s hard to realize the impact of community support in situations like this. There are numerous people working incredibly hard to deal with a force of nature (fire) that creates huge anxiety and stress in a community. While you may not directly relate to it, every contribution of any amount, no matter how small, is helpful.

For anyone who writes a check, does something to help someone who is impacted by the fires, or even just expresses words of support, thank you. I know the Colorado community appreciates it greatly, especially those directly impacted by the fires.

 


My friends at NewsGator have started a fundraising campaign to help victims of the Colorado wildfires. In addition to getting the campaign up and running, NewsGator has committed to a matching gift of $10,000. Amy and I decided to match that gift from our foundation, so the matching gift is now $20,000.

I’d like to encourage everyone involved in a startup in Colorado (or anyone in the world) to help your neighbors in Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, and Boulder who are victims of the current fires that are raging. There are two ways to do this:

1. Give a direct gift via my page. Amy and I are matching the first $10,000 of gifts.

2. If you are part of a startup, start a campaign for your company. It’s easy and will take a few minutes. Then – rally your gang to contribute.

While the current Boulder fire is getting under control, many people in Colorado Springs and Fort Collins are still at risk. And many others have been impacted. Here’s a note I got from a friend in Fort Collins.

hi, brad. yes, sadly, our ranch burned to the ground 2 weeks ago. we got the all clear to go back on thursday. even though it’s a giant scorched hole in the earth, we need to see it. 

we’re fine. animals, horses, children all safe. we were on a motorcycle trip. so, literally have only the clothes on our backs (and some really cool motorcycle helmets). i’ve never had nothing and i’m learning a lot from it.

We are part of an amazing community. Be thankful for what you’ve got and send good karma out in the world. You never know when you’ll need it to come back to you.


One of the fun projects I am involved with is Startup Colorado, a community focused initiative to spur new company creation in Colorado.  One of Startup Colorado’s most promising projects is Startup Summer.

Startup Summer is an immersive summer program offering the opportunity to work as a paid intern for a Boulder/Denver startup and attend a variety of evening events, including a weekly seminar series on entrepreneurship.  We are looking for students at any four-year college or university in Colorado who are aspiring entrepreneurs and want to participate in a program that could change their lives.  If you know a Colorado college student who would want to participate, tell them to apply to Startup Summer:

The idea is simple: work as an intern by day for a great startup, then participate in a variety of evening events that will give you great exposure to the basics of entrepreneurship, including substantive classes on issues that entrepreneurs face, as well as various social events.  As an added layer of fun and relationship building, we’re expecting Startup Summer interns to live together in CU housing in Boulder.

Startup Summer offers a great experience, including:

  • A paid ten-week internship with a Boulder/Denver startup; the internship will include frequent interaction with the company founders and management team
  • The Startup Summer Seminar Series featuring prominent entrepreneurs teaching classes on entrepreneurship
  • A weekly social event with business leaders in the community
  • A community with your peers in Startup Summer through group housing in Boulder
  • An end-of-summer competition with an opportunity to win mentorship from some of Boulder’s finest entrepreneurs and investors

I think this program has the potential to open up high growth entrepreneurship to a wider range of Colorado students than has been possible before. If you are a student at any four-year college or university in Colorado, check it out.


We launched Startup Colorado last week as part of the Startup America Partnership. I’m co-chairing this effort with Phil Weiser (Dean of CU Boulder Law School) and Jan Horsfall (CEO of Gelazzi). Dave Mangum (Silicon Flatirons Research Fellow) is the Executive Director and the effort is being sponsored by Silicon Flatirons at CU Boulder.

We’ve got a bunch of great entrepreneurs from Boulder, Denver, and Colorado Springs involved at this point and are reaching out to entrepreneurs in Fort Collins to help us get things up and running there. We’re taking a 20 year view to this effort so rather than create some grand conceptual plans, we’ve chosen six initiatives to go after in the first year. We are building off of the incredible entrepreneurial community that has been created in Boulder and starting by exporting several of the concepts that we know work, while trying some new things in Boulder. The six initiatives are:

  1. Export the magic of the Boulder tech community to Fort Collins, Denver, and Colorado Springs by expanding New Tech Meetups, Open Coffee Clubs, and Community Office Hours to these cities.
  2. Create an Entrepreneurial Summer Camp in Boulder for talented college students from throughout Colorado. These students will be housed at CU Boulder and work as paid interns for Boulder startups.
  3. Support entrepreneurial education in the Front Range by developing a New Venture Challenge business competition for Boulder-area high schools with the goal of seeding the other Front Range cities with leaders to expand the competition throughout Colorado.
  4. Evaluate current barriers that entrepreneurs face, including an assessment of what best practices are in place at entrepreneurial communities around the US and world. We’ll start by measuring in detail what’s going on in Boulder and try to create a framework for any city.
  5. Engage larger companies in the entrepreneurial ecosystem through commitments to help entrepreneurs.
  6. Build the Startup Colorado website to be a thorough database for information and connections.

We are very aware that there are plenty of other cities in Colorado, especially on the western slope, and hope to include them in Startup Colorado in year two. We know that some of the ideas above won’t work and we intend to make mistakes, kill things off quickly, and keep iterating on new ideas. Our goal is to do stuff, rather than just talk about stuff.

If you are an entrepreneur and want to get involved in helping lead the Startup Colorado effort, email me.


On November 9th, I’ll be helping launch Startup Colorado. We’ll be having a kickoff event at CU Boulder from 6:30pm – 8:35pm.

Startup Colorado will be one of the regional initiatives under the umbrella of the Startup America Partnership. Startup Colorado is an initiative to make a meaningful impact on entrepreneurship and new company creation in the Front Range. We want to expand the breadth and depth of entrepreneurial networks from Fort Collins to Boulder to Denver to Colorado Springs and lower barriers for people who want to build high-growth businesses.

At the launch event, our agenda will include talking specifically about what our plans and goals are for 2012. We’ll be operating under my first principle of entrepreneurial communities – that an entrepreneurial community must be lead by entrepreneurs. We have a panel discussing what has happened in Boulder over the past decade and one about the power of mentorship.

We’ll also be joined by several special guests, including Scott Case (Startup America Partnership CEO) and Aneesh Chopra (United States Chief Technology Officer).

If you are an entrepreneur in Colorado, we’d love to have you join us. Please register at the Silicon Flatirons site. The event will be at the Wittemyer Courtroom, Wolf Law Building, University of Colorado on Wednesday, November 9, 2011; 6:30 – 8:35 PM.


Mobile Monday Colorado is hosting a member of the TechStars mentor family, Dion Almaer, for their July 19th event. Dion is Managing Director of Developer Relations at Palm (now part of HP). Besides his involvement with TechStars as a mentor, he is a celebrity in the AJAX community as the co-founder of Ajaxian.com, and previously held senior positions within Mozilla and Google. Dion will be able to shed some light on how the largest consumer device company in the world will be integrating WebOS into various product lineups including tablets and intelligent printers. He will talk about the direction of the WebOS operating environment specifically and the future of mobile and the web. It is sure to be a solid event worth checking out.


I’ve been an Amazon Associate (Amazon’s affiliate program) for many years.  Today I got the following notice in my Amazon Associates account.

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and I woke up to the following email.

Dear Colorado-based Amazon Associate:

We are writing from the Amazon Associates Program to inform you that the Colorado government recently enacted a law to impose sales tax regulations on online retailers. The regulations are burdensome and no other state has similar rules. The new regulations do not require online retailers to collect sales tax. Instead, they are clearly intended to increase the compliance burden to a point where online retailers will be induced to “voluntarily” collect Colorado sales tax — a course we won’t take.

We and many others strongly opposed this legislation, known as HB 10-1193, but it was enacted anyway. Regrettably, as a result of the new law, we have decided to stop advertising through Associates based in Colorado. We plan to continue to sell to Colorado residents, however, and will advertise through other channels, including through Associates based in other states.

There is a right way for Colorado to pursue its revenue goals, but this new law is a wrong way. As we repeatedly communicated to Colorado legislators, including those who sponsored and supported the new law, we are not opposed to collecting sales tax within a constitutionally-permissible system applied even-handedly. The US Supreme Court has defined what would be constitutional, and if Colorado would repeal the current law or follow the constitutional approach to collection, we would welcome the opportunity to reinstate Colorado-based Associates.

You may express your views of Colorado’s new law to members of the General Assembly and to Governor Ritter, who signed the bill.

Your Associates account has been closed as of March 8, 2010, and we will no longer pay advertising fees for customers you refer to Amazon.com after that date. Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned prior to March 8, 2010, will be processed and paid in accordance with our regular payment schedule. Based on your account closure date of March 8, any final payments will be paid by May 31, 2010.

We have enjoyed working with you and other Colorado-based participants in the Amazon Associates Program, and wish you all the best in your future.

I’ve been a supporter of Governor Ritter since his campaign for governor and have worked hard to positively impact Colorado’s software / Internet / technology / entrepreneurial ecosystem.  Over the past two months, I’ve privately expressed my outrage over HB10-1192 and HB10-1193 to several people in Ritter’s administration.  I watched as numerous people in the software / Internet community tried their hardest to help our legislators, the governor, and their staffs understand why this is such a huge step backwards for Colorado.  I was told several times “don’t worry – we’ll take care off all the silly stuff.”  There seemed to be enough folks showing up to discuss this that I thought rational minds would prevail.

I made a huge mistake.  I should have come out very publicly about this when I first heard about it, made sure everyone that I supported during the elections that supported these bills (including one of the co-sponsors) knew my opinion and understood why they had the potential to be so detrimental to the software / Internet / entrepreneurial climate in Colorado.  Shame on me for not being more aggressive, although there are some days I definitely feel like there are only so many fronts I can deal with outside my very full time day job.

I’m not at all surprised by this action on Amazon’s part.  I expect the Internet Affiliate business in Colorado will completely die within the next thirty days (every company that has an affiliate business will turn off all of their Colorado-based affiliates.)

I then received the following email from Colorado Governor Ritter

Gov. Bill Ritter issued the following statement today criticizing Amazon.com’s decision to abruptly end its financial relationship with Amazon Associate businesses in Colorado:

“Amazon has taken a disappointing – and completely unjustified – step of ending its relationship with associates. While Amazon is blaming a new state law for its action, the fact is that Amazon is simply trying to avoid compliance with Colorado law and is unfairly punishing Colorado businesses in the process.

“My office worked closely with Amazon’s affiliates and associates to modify House Bill 1193 to specifically protect small businesses, avoid job losses and provide a fair, level playing field for on-line retailers and Main Street, brick-and-mortar retail shops alike.

“Amazon’s position is unfortunate, and Coloradans certainly deserve better.”

I’m especially disappointed in the Governor’s statement – it’s completely tone deaf to the actual issue and what Amazon is clearly stating.  I’ve heard several people saying “Amazon is the problem” or “well – this is good – now people will buy locally.”  Neither of these statements is valid – Amazon behaved like a rational company in the face of government regulation that had no upside for them and substantial downside.  Also, this has zero impact on consumer purchasing activity as this doesn’t impact the end customer of Amazon products in any way.

Rather, the many small businesses and solo entrepreneurs who make money off of Amazon’s affiliate program just lost a revenue stream (which, by the way, is used to employ people and pay state taxes.)  Colorado just got a big black eye in their historical effort to be a place that is friendly to business, especially high growth technology companies.  And our state government likely now has lost more tax revenue than it was going to gain through the bill in the first place while simultaneously damaging the revenue streams for many small Colorado businesses.

The only logical solution in my book is what Amazon says in paragraph 3.

There is a right way for Colorado to pursue its revenue goals, but this new law is a wrong way. As we repeatedly communicated to Colorado legislators, including those who sponsored and supported the new law, we are not opposed to collecting sales tax within a constitutionally-permissible system applied even-handedly. The US Supreme Court has defined what would be constitutional, and if Colorado would repeal the current law or follow the constitutional approach to collection, we would welcome the opportunity to reinstate Colorado-based Associates.


One of the great things about living in Eldorado Springs, Colorado is interacting with nature on a daily basis.

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Protecting the environment has been a priority of mine for many years.  Every now and then I like to call out a non-profit organization that I support that I think does an excellent job of helping protect the environment.

Colorado Conservation Voters is one of these groups.  CCV works to turn conservation values into Colorado priorities by educating legislators and the public about important environmental issues, helping pro-conservation candidates win their elections, and then holding our elected officials accountable. Most importantly, they do it efficiently as they are a group that has influence and reach much larger than their budget would indicate.

In the past six years they have built and protected a conservation majority in the state House, Senate, and Governor’s office. These victories matter – Colorado is a better place for CCV spearheading these pro-environment victories.  For example:

  • Colorado now requires that 20% of our electricity come from renewable sources like wind and solar;
  • More water is kept in our rivers and streams when they need it most and in crucial areas for habitat protection, protecting the health of our rivers;
  • We have the strongest protections in the nation for our drinking water, wildlife, and communities threatened by oil and gas drilling.

This is a group that understands how to make change happen.  They use their money strategically and efficiently.  If you are interested in conserving the environment in Colorado, I encourage you to take a look at the Colorado Conservation Voters website as well as considering making a gift or even becoming a monthly donor.


Next week is the first annual entrepreneurship week at CU Boulder.  There is a full schedule of great events for anyone interested in entrepreneurship.

Monday 4/13: 11:30am – 2:00pm: Starting Companies at CU: Technology Entrepreneurship Luncheon @ University Memorial Center

Tuesday 4/14: 10:00am – 11:30am: Panel Discussion on Social Entrepreneurship @ University Memorial Center Room 247

Tuesday 4/14: 5:30pm – 8:30pm: Silicon Flatirons Center’s Entrepreneurial Mash-Up @ Dairy Center for the Arts

Wednesday, 4/15: 5:00pm: Feld-Weiser One-on-One: The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem @ Wittemeyer Courtroom, Wolf Law Building

Wednesday, 4/15: 6:00pm: Entrepreneurs Unplugged featuring Glenn Jones @ Wittemeyer Courtroom, Wolf Law Building

Thursday, 4/16: 3:00pm – 8:00pm: Putting The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Perspective @ Wittemeyer Courtroom, Wolf Law Building

Friday, 4/17: 9:00am – noon: CU New Venture Challenge Semifinals @ Atlas

Friday, 4/17: 2:00pm – 5:00pm: CU New Venture Challenge Finals and Post-Challenge Reception @ University Memorial Center

Also, if you are in Boulder for lunch on Tuesday, come by Spud Bros at the Corner of 10th and Pearl behind Pasta Jay’s between noon and 2:00pm.  I’ll be the “guest chef” (more like “guest spud slinger”); 50% of proceeds will go to The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County.


As co-chairman of the Colorado Governor’s Innovation Council, I’ve been regularly exposed to the acronym ICT.  It’s not a familiar or comfortably one to me and I chronically call it “CIT” or expand it incorrectly.

I am looking for a phrase that covers IT + Communications + Software + Internet.  These are the four components of ICT that drive a huge chunk of business activity and innovation in Colorado.  In my world as a VC, I call this software + Internet, but that doesn’t cover the full landscape.

My friends at Silicon Flatirons have put together a Wiki titled Innovation in Colorado and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) where we are compiling the history of the ICT ecosystem in Colorado.  If you have participated in this in any way, feel free to jump on and add your thoughts and facts.

What’s your favorite phrase or acronym for this?