Why This VC Says Boulder is a Perfect Storm for Startups
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When Livability’s Matt Carmichael crunched our data and saw the result, he wasn’t surprised to see that Boulder sat at the top. “Boulder always seems to be the perfect storm of everything,” he says. It has 300 days of sunshine a year, Flatirons mountain views, a foodie culture with a killer craft beer scene, universities, a tech-savvy government and, according to a 2013 New Engine/Kauffman Foundation research report, the highest density of tech startups in America.
So what’s it like to work there? That’s what we asked Brad Feld, a longtime resident and cofounder of the $1 billion investment firm Foundry Group.
“The town is very progressive,” says Feld. “It’s a highly educated population -- 30,000 people are affiliated with the University of Colorado and another 5,000 with government and research labs. When you smash together people in college, people with deep technical knowledge and a bunch of creative people doing art and music in a small physical area, crazy, amazing stuff happens.”
“Downtown is highly concentrated with startups, so you essentially have an extended campus for businesses. If I walk from my office to the other end of Pearl Street, about five blocks, I’ll pass 10 companies we’re investors in. Techstars, which we invested in and was founded here, is across the floor from our office.”
“Boulder is the origin of the natural food industry, and the lifestyle, outdoors, health and sustainability [known as LOHAS] marketplace started here. And you have stuff with robotics -- in 2012 we invested in Sphero, and last year they came out with the BB-8 robot that was front and center in 'Star Wars.' Now they are a very profitable, 200-person company.”