March 6, 2014
We followed 1776’s Challenge Cup Tour as they lead us around the globe and across 16 different cities. Each new destination brought with it a crop of passionate entrepreneurs operating in a unique landscape that fuels their entrepreneurial spirit.
The entrepreneurs in Denver are no exception, and they each have an interesting idea as to what makes the Mile High City so amazing when it comes to tech startups. Lee Wise, co-founder of WISE, competed in the education category, and while his startup didn’t take home a win, they offered an intriguing viewpoint.
“This environment helps inspire us to keep working and improving on our own business because there’s such a high concentration of young, hungry entrepreneurs,” says Wise.
Others, like Duer Reeves of the winning WeatherCloud app, might even say that part of Denver’s charm stems from the fact that it’s located so close to another hot bed for tech startups: Boulder. To Reeves, there is nothing wrong with Denver, but Boulder is just as great because it has a startup-rich environment that surrounds and supports its entrepreneurs.
Boulder is also a meteorologist’s city, and WeatherCloud is a meteorology company. Granted, Boulder isn’t Denver, but the two cities are only separated by a mere 29 miles.
Yet to others the Denver landscape offers something not so easily pinned down. Stephen Ambrose of Asisus Technologies believes successful startups are only accomplished through hard work and sweat, but it’s the right kind of sweat: fast-moving, hard-riding, and fun-loving. As he says, it’s just like the sweat you get from hiking, running, biking, and skiing the Rockies.
“Denver’s entrepreneurial culture is a hotbed of vital enhancement technologies fueled by hearty dreamers who love to work,” says Ambrose. “And they team up in both work and play so often and so well, it gets hard to tell the difference: it looks like it’s almost all play.”
But that’s just how Denver operates, according to Ambrose, and those times that look like all play are actually when Denver entrepreneurs do their best work. At that point work becomes so much fun that the local entrepreneurs don’t notice how hard they’re really working.
“I’ve done business in New York, Los Angeles, and Europe; you name it,” says Ambrose. “But there’s something in Denver that drives and inspires all of us. It’s the same thing that pushed Peyton Manning into breaking all those records this season. For startups, this city was simply born to rock.”
The air might seem a bit thin in Denver sometimes, but that’s only so entrepreneurs can go faster.
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