Boulder didn’t become a destination for tech startups overnight. In the Mid-1990s, Boulder’s software industry was growing steadily and bringing in talented employees from all over the country. Being home to prestigious research labs like the National Institute of Standards & Technology didn’t hurt either when it came to drawing in well educated talent. As more and more of these biotech, telecom, and data storage employees began to branch out and begin their own businesses, a “bottom-up” revolution (as explained by Bloomberg writer Virek Wadhwa) eventually took hold. Despite the lack of major city or state investments often seen in other cities, Boulder's rise as a startup destination quickly gained steam and never looked back. The city now boasts the highest concentration of software engineers per capita in the entire nation. Venture capitalists, startup mentors, and massive companies like Google, Microsoft, and Oracle are flocking to this town just 25 miles outside of Denver to manage, support, or acquire groundbreaking startups on a long list that are calling Boulder home. According to the NY Times, Venture Capitalists from Silcon Valley to Manhattan invested nearly $2 billion in 275 Colorado startups from 2007 to 2009.
TechStars, arguably the best startup accelerator around, got its start in Boulder back in 2006 and still churns out exciting new companies that decide to remain in Boulder. TechStars Founder David Cohen makes a convincing argument for Boulder as the ideal setting for startups, citing a host of resources and events that support entrepreneurs. Perhaps Cohen’s most convincing argument though is that Boulder easily draws in some of the best and brightest people in the tech world because it is such a fun place to live (Think about the one or two people you know who have lived in or currently live in Boulder and the great reviews they give it). Not many towns can offer the enjoyment of hitting the slopes or hiking great trails in between grueling meetings over user experience or scalability issues. All in all, founders looking to get in on a tech scene that prides itself in sharing, collaborating, and helping each other out don’t have to look very hard when they’re in Boulder.