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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Help Colorado Now Is Off To A Good Start

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[embedit snippet="crowdrise"]

While the fires in Colorado have calmed down and the firefighters are in the process of getting them contained, there continues to be plenty of fire danger as the firefighters continue to work incredibly hard. It’s going to be a tough summer for fire in Colorado and I’m proud of all the support this community has given out of the gate to people impacted.

As of this evening we’ve raised $43,000, including the $20,000 match from me, Amy, and NewsGator. A number of companies have signed up to match gifts and Crowdrise, who has helped us get this online fundraiser up and running in the last 24 hours, has been awesome to work with.

If you haven’t contributed and are willing, please donate now. All of your donations via Team Anchor Point Fund (the foundation Amy and I have) will go to the Denver Foundation – CO Fire Relief Fund 2012.

There are many other initiatives going on to fund firefighters and people impacted by the fire. One of my favorites is Wild Fire Tees. I bought one yesterday – all of the profits are being donated to Care and Share or the Colorado Red Cross.

Sometimes it’s hard to realize the impact of community support in situations like this. There are numerous people working incredibly hard to deal with a force of nature (fire) that creates huge anxiety and stress in a community. While you may not directly relate to it, every contribution of any amount, no matter how small, is helpful.

For anyone who writes a check, does something to help someone who is impacted by the fires, or even just expresses words of support, thank you. I know the Colorado community appreciates it greatly, especially those directly impacted by the fires.

 

Startups Can Help Colorado Wildfire Victims Right Now

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My friends at NewsGator have started a fundraising campaign to help victims of the Colorado wildfires. In addition to getting the campaign up and running, NewsGator has committed to a matching gift of $10,000. Amy and I decided to match that gift from our foundation, so the matching gift is now $20,000.

I’d like to encourage everyone involved in a startup in Colorado (or anyone in the world) to help your neighbors in Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, and Boulder who are victims of the current fires that are raging. There are two ways to do this:

1. Give a direct gift via my page. Amy and I are matching the first $10,000 of gifts.

2. If you are part of a startup, start a campaign for your company. It’s easy and will take a few minutes. Then – rally your gang to contribute.

While the current Boulder fire is getting under control, many people in Colorado Springs and Fort Collins are still at risk. And many others have been impacted. Here’s a note I got from a friend in Fort Collins.

hi, brad. yes, sadly, our ranch burned to the ground 2 weeks ago. we got the all clear to go back on thursday. even though it’s a giant scorched hole in the earth, we need to see it. 

we’re fine. animals, horses, children all safe. we were on a motorcycle trip. so, literally have only the clothes on our backs (and some really cool motorcycle helmets). i’ve never had nothing and i’m learning a lot from it.

We are part of an amazing community. Be thankful for what you’ve got and send good karma out in the world. You never know when you’ll need it to come back to you.

Startup Summer Colorado

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One of the fun projects I am involved with is Startup Colorado, a community focused initiative to spur new company creation in Colorado.  One of Startup Colorado’s most promising projects is Startup Summer.

Startup Summer is an immersive summer program offering the opportunity to work as a paid intern for a Boulder/Denver startup and attend a variety of evening events, including a weekly seminar series on entrepreneurship.  We are looking for students at any four-year college or university in Colorado who are aspiring entrepreneurs and want to participate in a program that could change their lives.  If you know a Colorado college student who would want to participate, tell them to apply to Startup Summer:

The idea is simple: work as an intern by day for a great startup, then participate in a variety of evening events that will give you great exposure to the basics of entrepreneurship, including substantive classes on issues that entrepreneurs face, as well as various social events.  As an added layer of fun and relationship building, we’re expecting Startup Summer interns to live together in CU housing in Boulder.

Startup Summer offers a great experience, including:

  • A paid ten-week internship with a Boulder/Denver startup; the internship will include frequent interaction with the company founders and management team
  • The Startup Summer Seminar Series featuring prominent entrepreneurs teaching classes on entrepreneurship
  • A weekly social event with business leaders in the community
  • A community with your peers in Startup Summer through group housing in Boulder
  • An end-of-summer competition with an opportunity to win mentorship from some of Boulder’s finest entrepreneurs and investors

I think this program has the potential to open up high growth entrepreneurship to a wider range of Colorado students than has been possible before. If you are a student at any four-year college or university in Colorado, check it out.

Startup Colorado’s Year One Initiatives

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We launched Startup Colorado last week as part of the Startup America Partnership. I’m co-chairing this effort with Phil Weiser (Dean of CU Boulder Law School) and Jan Horsfall (CEO of Gelazzi). Dave Mangum (Silicon Flatirons Research Fellow) is the Executive Director and the effort is being sponsored by Silicon Flatirons at CU Boulder.

We’ve got a bunch of great entrepreneurs from Boulder, Denver, and Colorado Springs involved at this point and are reaching out to entrepreneurs in Fort Collins to help us get things up and running there. We’re taking a 20 year view to this effort so rather than create some grand conceptual plans, we’ve chosen six initiatives to go after in the first year. We are building off of the incredible entrepreneurial community that has been created in Boulder and starting by exporting several of the concepts that we know work, while trying some new things in Boulder. The six initiatives are:

  1. Export the magic of the Boulder tech community to Fort Collins, Denver, and Colorado Springs by expanding New Tech Meetups, Open Coffee Clubs, and Community Office Hours to these cities.
  2. Create an Entrepreneurial Summer Camp in Boulder for talented college students from throughout Colorado. These students will be housed at CU Boulder and work as paid interns for Boulder startups.
  3. Support entrepreneurial education in the Front Range by developing a New Venture Challenge business competition for Boulder-area high schools with the goal of seeding the other Front Range cities with leaders to expand the competition throughout Colorado.
  4. Evaluate current barriers that entrepreneurs face, including an assessment of what best practices are in place at entrepreneurial communities around the US and world. We’ll start by measuring in detail what’s going on in Boulder and try to create a framework for any city.
  5. Engage larger companies in the entrepreneurial ecosystem through commitments to help entrepreneurs.
  6. Build the Startup Colorado website to be a thorough database for information and connections.

We are very aware that there are plenty of other cities in Colorado, especially on the western slope, and hope to include them in Startup Colorado in year two. We know that some of the ideas above won’t work and we intend to make mistakes, kill things off quickly, and keep iterating on new ideas. Our goal is to do stuff, rather than just talk about stuff.

If you are an entrepreneur and want to get involved in helping lead the Startup Colorado effort, email me.

Startup Colorado Launch on 11/9/11

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On November 9th, I’ll be helping launch Startup Colorado. We’ll be having a kickoff event at CU Boulder from 6:30pm – 8:35pm.

Startup Colorado will be one of the regional initiatives under the umbrella of the Startup America Partnership. Startup Colorado is an initiative to make a meaningful impact on entrepreneurship and new company creation in the Front Range. We want to expand the breadth and depth of entrepreneurial networks from Fort Collins to Boulder to Denver to Colorado Springs and lower barriers for people who want to build high-growth businesses.

At the launch event, our agenda will include talking specifically about what our plans and goals are for 2012. We’ll be operating under my first principle of entrepreneurial communities – that an entrepreneurial community must be lead by entrepreneurs. We have a panel discussing what has happened in Boulder over the past decade and one about the power of mentorship.

We’ll also be joined by several special guests, including Scott Case (Startup America Partnership CEO) and Aneesh Chopra (United States Chief Technology Officer).

If you are an entrepreneur in Colorado, we’d love to have you join us. Please register at the Silicon Flatirons site. The event will be at the Wittemyer Courtroom, Wolf Law Building, University of Colorado on Wednesday, November 9, 2011; 6:30 – 8:35 PM.

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