Startup Colorado launches $200K community fund to invest in startup communities

By: InnovatioNews Wednesday July 24, 2013 0 comments Tags: Bob Ogdon, Brad Feld, Dan Caruso, Denver, Erik Mitisek, Jim Deters, Jim Franklin, Libby Cook, Morgan McMillan, Nancy Phillips, Phil Weiser, Ryan Martens, Startup Colorado, Steve Halstedt

Startup Colorado logoDENVER -- A group of entrepreneurs has invested in the Startup Colorado Community Fund to support entrepreneurial communities across the state, including providing funds to host events, speakers, seminars, and competitions to spur startup activity.

Startup Colorado, a community-led program launched in November 2011, brings together entrepreneurs together to support entrepreneurial engagement and activities around Colorado. When it launched, Startup Colorado was one of the first states to launch a state chapter of the Startup America Partnership.

The Startup Colorado Community Fund is the first program of its kind--anywhere in the United States--to give grants to applicants to broaden the impact of startup community building in Colorado.

"Startup community building is tough and best led by busy entrepreneurs in their community, who often are running a company and are crazy busy," said Brad Feld, managing director of the Foundry Group. "With the launch of this fund, we hope to make many small grants to mobilize the energy and ideas in our community (and) to build better startups faster."

The Startup Colorado Community Fund plans to make grants across Colorado, with a focus on creating connective fabric between the Front Range's core cities of Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs. By working with entrepreneurs leading their communities, a small amount of capital working in many cities will speed growth and impact of the entrepreneurs there, Startup Colorado said.

"Asking for small amounts of money to run programs is a tough issue for busy entrepreneurs and hard for large companies to manage," said Erik Mitisek, CEO of Colorado Technology Association and Denver Startup Week organizer. "We want this fund to make it easier for all."

The Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado is also involved and has added the ability of their partner companies to contribute directly to the fund.  "EFCO is excited about the impact this fund can have on community building and economic development," said Morgan McMillan, Entrepreneurs Foundation executive director.

Core initial fund supporters include Brad Feld, Foundry Group; Jim Franklin, SendGrid; Ryan Martens, Rally Software; Nancy Phillips, Viawest; Steve Halstedt, Centennial Ventures; Libby Cook, Founder, Sunflower Markets; Jim Deters, Galvanize; Bob Ogdon, SwiftPage; and Dan Caruso, Zayo Group.

"This effort is a classic entrepreneurial approach to problem solving," said Phil Weiser, dean of the University of Colorado Law School and executive director of the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship. "We are trying something new with the ambition of supporting sustainable programs with lasting impact. A core strength of Colorado's entrepreneurial community is our commitment to help another. This effort flows from and aims to bolster that spirit, making it easier for entrepreneurs to collaborate."

Startup Colorado said it is inviting community leaders across the state to submit grant proposals to the fund for consideration.  The first grant cycle begins today, with the grant committee meeting in August to issue the first grants from the fund.

To apply, visit

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