You might assume that Denver, a stone’s throw away from the dense startup village of Boulder, lives in the shadow of its neighbor. But it’s too sunny in Denver for anyone to live in the shadows. Here are five damn good reasons for entrepreneurs to live and work in Denver.
“It’s nice to see Denver evolve into an open, collaborative, and supportive startup ecosystem,” says Brady Becker of Forkly. Forkly received investment and office space from the Galvanize community, while other startups spend their time coworking at Uncubed. And the Founder Institute has a chapter with entrepreneurial classes in Denver.
According to Michael Schaefer of CLVR, who’s located in the Innovation Pavilion incubator, there’s a “public and private enthusiasm to cultivate the startup community and make Denver an important hub.” The Denver Office of Economic Development, for example, supports startups with initiatives like the $50,000 JumpStart Biz Plan competition.
If that’s not enough for startups, Denver is only a 30-mile drive or a 90-minute bus ride from Boulder. TechStars Boulder, ranked the #2 top startup accelerator in the US, started there in 2007 and has been tremendously influential in attracting startups and mentors.
“The startup scene in Boulder is amazing! We’re surrounded by so much energy and positivity every day. We’re fortunate to have such a thriving startup culture where coffee shops, businesses, and bars are always buzzing with entrepreneurial activity. Not a night goes by when there isn’t an event to network or share knowledge,” says Kent Riggs, community manager of Birdbox.
Young and Educated
Entrepreneurs often remark that Denver is a young, educated city. In fact, it’s the 9th top city in the United States in terms of college education, with over 38 percent of residents holding degrees. Some of those residents are graduates of local universities like Colorado University, Colorado State University, and Denver University.
On top of that, the median age is a respectable 35. This all adds up to a desirable pool of people to recruit from.
If you can’t find employees in Denver, however, the low cost of living should help you lure them in from elsewhere. The city’s cost of living is around the national average, which means it’s just over half the cost of living in San Francisco. This is all good for Charles Var of TrackVia, who moved from Silicon Valley to Denver in 2008 and has since joined organizations like the Denver Software Club.
“Inexpensive real estate, living expenses, and quality talent allows for capital to go further here,” says Becker.
Denver is famous for its 300 days a year of sunshine, smiling down on the mile-high city. The high elevation helps keep people fit as they explore hiking trails and fly down the ski slopes.
Says Peter Lynch, CEO and cofounder of Digital Fridge, “The weather, the quality of the people, the skiing, etc., all make it a fabulous location whether you are single or raising a family!”