When Scott Price set up an outpost of his cybersecurity firm A-LIGN in Denver this summer, he referred to the city as “Silicon Mountain,” a nod to how prominent it’s become on the American tech biz landscape.
Next week, the best of what Denver has to offer to new and emerging companies — and people considering launching new businesses — will be on display at the eighth annual Denver Startup Week.
Billed as the largest free entrepreneurial event in the world, organizers are expecting between 17,000 and 20,000 people to participate this year in the five-day program that starts Monday. More than 350 talks and special events are being offered.
Some of the companies that were born elsewhere but have since relocated or set up satellites in the Mile High City will play prominent roles this year.
Doing business in Denver since late 2018, San Francisco-based marketing tech firm Iterable is taking part in its first Denver Startup Week. Not only is it an event sponsor, but the company — which boasts clients like Zillow and DoorDash — is also holding a ribbon-cutting for its permanent office at 1515 Arapahoe St. Thursday morning, just in time to serve as one of the venues for the week’s startup crawl event Thursday night.
“Honestly, when you move into a new city, you don’t know about all the great things it has to offer and how to take advantage of it,” said Dan Brayton, Iterable’s senior director of operations and general manager of its Denver office. “Now that we’re established, we’re very excited to meet other people in this industry and others, and to be able to show them Iterable’s presence out here and learn from each other as we continue to build business relationships in Denver.”
Iterable has 38 employees in the city but is expecting to add 45 to 50 more over the year and a half. It will also be part of the job fair scheduled for 6-9 p.m. Wednesday at the McNichols Building at 144 W. Colfax Ave.
Tami Door, president and CEO of Downtown Denver Partnership, doesn’t like the term Silicon Mountain. She said Denver has its own culture and doesn’t need to be compared to other innovation hubs.
As one of three chairs of the organizing committee, Door points out that Startup Week isn’t all about tech either. With eight distinct programming “tracks,” there are talks and events geared toward people that work in the art and design world, manufacturing, marketing and many other industries beyond software.
“We have an organizing committee that works really hard to create a week that provides an environment for people to access resources, people and tools to grow their companies,” Door said.
In total, Startup Week will host events in 80 different venues across the city next week, including Iterable’s office. The venue Door is most excited about is “Basecamp,” being set up in Skyline Park, 1600 Arapahoe St. She said it will serve as a “sort of entrepreneurial clubhouse,” providing a place for people mingle between events and hosting some of the week’s star power. Both John Elway and Lindsey Vonn are set to deliver talks there.
The Downtown Denver Partnership is tracking 875 startups operating just in the downtown area today, employing more than 5,400 workers. The Partnership defines startups as a company in the tech sector that was founded in the past decade and has fewer than 100 employees.
Denver-based GoSpotCheck is a product of the Colorado startup ecosystem. The mobile workforce organizing business started with four employees in 2011 before graduating from Boulder’s Techstars accelerator program. Now it has 130 workers and will be participating in eight Startup Week programs, most of which will take place in its office at 1500 Market St. Company co-founder and CEO Matt Talbot said the company will be sharing its 2019 Startup Week experience on its website at gospotcheck.com/blog. He called Startup Week an essential part of Denver’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“It impacts the employees and the founders and the customers,” he said. “Becuase ultimately companies are learning from each other how they can befit their customers and that’s the most impact thing.”
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