Denver Startup Week has become a phenomenon, with this years’ event attracting an estimated 11,000 attendees. But how did this week-long celebration of all things tech begin? Believe it or not, it started with the catalyst of so many great ideas –– a few beers.
Setting the stage
In 2012, Denver’s tech community wasn’t much of a community at all. “There was a clear contrast between Denver and Boulder,” said co-founder of FullContact Bart Lorang to the Denver Post.
When Lorang’s startup first launched, he noticed the stark difference between Denver and Boulder right away.
“When I walked down Pearl Street in Boulder, I could not help but run into multiple entrepreneurs, CEOs and investors. In Denver, that was not the case. Nobody knew anybody.”
There was certainly no lack of interested parties: Meetups like Denver Founders, New Tech Colorado and Refresh Denver had active memberships. At the same time, the Tami Door, CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership (DDP) was focused on the agency’s 20-year plan for downtown, a huge part of which was startup activity.
With the stars aligned for startup promotion, Door, Josh Churlik, CEO and co-founder of WellData Labs, Erik Mitisek, head of Project X-ITE, and Lorang and Ben Deda from FullContact met over beers at Wynkoop Brewing Company.
“We recognized what was happening in the Front Range. Boulder was already doing its own thing. Let’s do something our own way,” said Mitisek, who was co-founder of travel site Next Great Place at the time. “We all just converged. Ben, Tami and I became the organizers.” The result? Denver’s first-ever Startup Week.
“Denver Startup Week became a life of its own almost instantly,” said Churlik of the surprise success.
2012 Inaugural Denver Startup Week by the numbers:
- 3,500: attendees
- 70: events
- 521: companies represented
- 1,000: people at the first Denver Startup Bash at Cowboy Lounge
- 1,877: drinks served
By 2015, the fourth year the event, there were more than 10,875 attendees, 900 companies represented and 235 panels, seminars, and workshops.
Denver Startup Week 2016 began today and promises to top its predecessors in attendance, events and of course….beverages.
Post based on this Denver Post article