Friday 05 April, 2013
Ever since the 1980s when several major telecomm companies called Denver home, it has been known as one of the nation’s most high tech cities. But Denver isn’t the only tech town on the Rocky Mountain Front Range. Several towns located just a short drive from the Mile High City are now booming as great locations for tech industry entrepreneurs.
Boulder – Turn on, Tune in and Start up
When most people think of Boulder, they imagine a quiet college town full of hippies and rock climbers. While you’ll find plenty of both here, there’s now a growing population of a new type of Boulderite – the tech-savvy entrepreneur.
In the last few years, start-ups in Boulder are exploding. Both experienced tech entrepreneurs and newbies find the town and its environs perfect for their businesses. Among all the cities across the nation that have been optimistically dubbed ‘the next Silicon valley,’ Boulder may just be the real deal. In fact, it’s second only to Silicon Valley in the number of resident tech workers.
Billions of dollars in venture capital funding have been raised in the last few years for Boulder-based companies. Its own venture capital firms have sprung up, as well as receiving funds from established firms in New York and Silicon Valley. The town’s biggest successes include Socialthing (now owned by AOL), Kerpoof (now owned by Disney) and Rally Software.
Colorado Springs – The Silicon Mountain
Colorado Springs has always been a high-tech manufacturing center, producing electronic equipment, software, and other tools for its many military establishments. These establishments, which are the city’s major employers, include Fort Carson, the US Air Force Academy, and the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD). This earned it the nickname ‘Silicon Mountain.’
While the manufacturing sector of the economy has died down a bit, the military presence and its demand for high tech innovation is still strong. Colorado Springs offers a good business environment for start-ups, although the scene is still gaining momentum. The city is very pro-business and offers incentives to attract new businesses to the area.
Fort Collins – Nanotechnology and Sustainability
Fort Collins is a small town located about fifty miles north of Denver with a mixed economy that includes manufacturing, services, and tech industry companies. Recently, high tech companies are moving to Fort Collins in droves because of Colorado State University and the resources it offers. CSU is a major center for nanotechnology, sustainability programs, and other state-of-the-art innovative technology.
Fort Collins has a great business environment for start-ups with its Larimer Small Business Development Center and CSU’s Entrepreneurship Center. Among the major companies that have offices here are Intel, LSI, Hewlett-Packard, Avago, and Beckman Coulter.
These three aren’t the only tech towns popping up on the Rocky Mountain Front Range. Small start-ups can be found in every tiny mountain town or high plains community throughout the state of Colorado.