Entrepreneurial Communities

At Foundry Group, while we live and office in Boulder, Colorado, we invest all over the United States.  In the last 18 months, we’ve invested in companies based in Seattle, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Colorado.  My partners and I are regularly exploring new entrepreneurial communities, thinking about what makes them unique, and trying to figure out what makes them sustainable over the long term.

Last week, Jason took a trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan – the home of his alma mater.  He spent a couple of days talking to folks throughout the university and the community about entrepreneurship.  He summarized his trip in his post titled Entrepreneurship in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Mark Maynard of the University of Michigan TTO wrote a comprehensive post on Jason’s talk titled Building an Entrepreneurial Community: Lessons from Boulder, CO.

While Boulder (and Colorado) have gotten a lot of things right around building a sustainable entrepreneurial community, I believe that there is always a huge opportunity to learn and grown.  As part of this, I’m co-hosting a trip to Silicon Valley for Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Don Elliman (the head of Colorado’s Office of Economic Development), and Michael Locatis (Colorado’s CIO).  We are meeting with a number of IT / software / Internet companies and a bunch of entrepreneurs throughout Silicon Valley over the next two days to discuss what is special about Silicon Valley and what we can learn from it in Colorado.  I’ve been adamant that Colorado’s goal should never be “to be like Silicon Valley”, but instead we should listen and learn what works here and figure out how to apply some of the chocolaty goodness while avoiding all the traffic jams.

I believe that the future of most economic development and growth comes from entrepreneurship.  Plus, it’s a ton of fun.  More later.