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It’s a daily occurrence that a college student emails me asking how they can get involved in the Boulder startup community or any startup ecosystem. This gets me both excited and sad – excited that another young soul is ready to put their energy into the fray and sad that opportunities for them to do so are not readily available or visible to them.
I like to describe the program as a 10-week immersion program into this startup community. Just as being complete immersed in a culture is the best way to learn that culture’s a language, being immersed in a startup community is, well, the best way to be a part of that startup community. The program does this through placing a cohort of students at various startups as an internship region, giving these students exposure to the top entrepreneurs and mentors, and providing a set of crash courses on entrepreneurship that allows the students to truly understand the discourse. A sample of companies participating are Gnip, TeamSnap, SendGrid, and Revolv. You can find the full list here.
Startup Summer is in its third year. For the first time, there will be two programs – one in Boulder and one in Denver. All the internships are paid. Application close on February 28, 2014 - go get the last few positions while you can.
Oh, and if you’re a company in Boulder or Denver that wants to participate, ping me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see if we can fit you in this year. If not this year, then the next.
I’m excited to announce the launch of the Colorado Startup Community Fund. This is a $200,000 fund for providing financing to support activities, events, and organizations in the Colorado startup community. It’s part of the Startup Colorado initiative and is going to make the first round of grants at the end of Q3.
One of the four principles of my Boulder Thesis (discussed in my book Startup Communities) is that you need to have activities and events that engage the entire entrepreneurial stack on a continual basis. If you look at the activity in Boulder and Denver, there is at least a one activity every day at this point – sometimes as many as five. It’s amazing to observe and experience – this super-saturation of activities and events around the startup community is awesome.
Many of them are entrepreneur-driven events that are free to participants. Many are done in a bare bones, scrappy way – which is awesome. While many have contributed venues, there’s always some minor cost, especially as they scale up. Beer and pizza isn’t free.
As a result, many of these entrepreneurs run around rounding up small amounts of sponsorship from local service providers. $1,000 here, $2,500 there. Or they start charging a modest fee – say $10 / event.
Our goal with the Colorado Startup Community Fund is to eliminate the need for the entrepreneurs putting on these events to have to scramble to raise a small amount of money. Or charge the other entrepreneurs who are participating. Instead, we’ll be giving grants each quarter, ranging from $1,000 to $25,000, to underwrite the costs of these activities and events. We’ll be funding activities and events across Colorado, with a focus on Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins.
I’ve personally contributed $25,000 to the Colorado Startup Community Fund. Other founding contributors include 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.
If you are interested in participating in the Colorado Startup Community Fund, either as a financial contributor, or as a grant recipient, feel free to email me.