As a nationally recognized “best place to live” and a mecca for millennials entering the workforce, Colorado’s startup scene has received recognition over the past decade and continues to grow, one entrepreneurial venture at a time. Despite the arrival of almost 101,000 transplants in the past year, much of the state’s business owners boast an in-state education. The Univeristy of Colorado Boulder’s Center for Law, Technology & Entrepreneurship even ranked 18 in Forbes’ top-20 list of America’s most entrepreneurial universities in August 2015.
But starting a business in Colorado takes more than ideas and investors. It also takes community. Denver, complete with numerous coworking campuses and endless networking opportunities, gives startups a chance to thrive. Here are a few of the collaborative spaces, networks, and resources for Colorado’s budding business owners.
Opened in May 2015 as a part of the Downtown Area Plan, the Commons on Champa is a 20,000-square-foot campus offering tech resources, community rooms, a lounge, and 200-person event venue to feed the city’s growing startup culture. The Commons also host programs to educate and connect entrepreneurs, such as panel discussions, mentor hours, meetups, and business 101 classes. One perk of this public-private venture is that it’s backed by organizations like the Downtown Denver Partnership, Colorado Technology Association, and city of Denver itself. Compared to other entrepreneurial spaces in the Mile High City, this one is the most cost-effective.
Lounge, Conference and Event Spaces: starting at $200, vary based on duration
1245 Champa St.; 720-484-5400
Here’s a coworking campus dedicated to technological education, beyond the usual collaboration and resources you’d expect. Since October 2012, Galvanize has been a popular gathering space for entrepreneurs in Denver’s Civic Center (Golden Triangle), and has since expanded to the city’s Highland neighborhood, Boulder, and Fort Collins. Each space offers amenities like conference rooms, phone booths, a café, printing, and lounge spaces. The Golden Triangle office even has a full gym facility with showers, and Fort Collins touts a game room in its space.
Golden Triangle: Seat $299, Desk $449, Suites from $1,500
Platte Street: Seat $349, Desk $549, Suites from $2,800
Boulder: Seat $349, Desk $499, Suites from $2,000
Fort Collins: Seat $349, Desk $449, Suites from $479/person
1062 Delaware St.; 303-823-4170
1644 Platte St.; 303-749-0110
1035 Pearl St., Boulder; 303-749-0038
242 Linden St., Fort Collins; 970-592-0075
This campus, operating under a “I work where I want” mantra, is for the mobile entrepreneur or unscheduled venture. In Denver, Thrive has two locations, in the Ballpark area and Cherry Creek. Work as a mobile member using drop-in hours and the free-to-roam common space, in a dedicated desk with 24/7 access to the facility, or reserve a private office for teams of two or more for monthly prices. Thrive also offers networking opportunities through monthly Lunch and Learns and happy hour events. There’s an open lounge space to encourage networking at both locations, and a fitness center will soon be added to the 24,000-square-foot Ballpark location.
Mobile memberships: starting at $50/month
Offices: starting at $850/month
Ballpark: 1415 Park Avenue West; 303-297-3338
Cherry Creek: 201 Milwaukee St., Suite 200; 303-297-3338
The Coterie is Denver’s first coworking space catered specifically toward women. Located in Stapleton, this space offers workplace accomodations like desk space, refreshments, meeting rooms and wifi, but sets prices based on time rather than physical space. Full-time members receive two hours of meeting room time each month and free or discounted access to The Coterie’s events. The venture’s small cohort of business women started out meeting in small, temporary spaces like coffee shops while searching for a permanent home, and eventually found one at SmartSpace. Oh, and one more thing—The Coterie will eventually provide childcare during regular business hours.
4 days per month: $40; three or six month package: $105, $210
8 days per month: $80; three or six month package: $210, $420
Full-time access: $200/month
SmartSpace, 2373 Central Park Blvd., Suite 100; 303-803-1500
This New York-based company is brand new to Denver. Its Union Station location opened earlier this month, and they’re expected unveil their LoHi office on May 1. Both locations will offer weekly events, conference room space, private offices, printing and lounge areas, along with community managers to serve as go-to resources for members. Office space for up to 10 people and dedicated desks are currently available at Union Station, and similar office space will become available at the LoHi office after opening. The WeWork network stretches across 15 U.S. cities and 13 more internationally, so it may be your best bet to push those entrepreneurial ideas beyond state and national boundaries.
Union Station: Offices start at $650/month; desks start at $550/month
LoHi (coming May 1): Offices start at $600/month
Events and Programs: free
1550 Wewatta St.; 877-960-1140
Coming Soon: 2420 17th St.; 877-960-1140
The 12,500-square-foot coworking space in RiNo is powered by innovative entrepreneurs—and solar power. Green Spaces opened as the first green coworking space in the U.S. in Brooklyn, New York in 2008, and came to Denver in 2009. All Denver members—including individuals and companies—are certified “green” through the city’s Certifiably Green Denver Program, which provides environmental assistance to the business community. Green Spaces has also partnered with Alpine Waste and Recycling to push toward a Zero Waste goal. Full Member benefits include print, copy and scan services, car sharing by Zipcar, mailing address and package services, and—of course—the community that comes with an entrepreneurial coworking space.
Offices: $1,395–$1,895; $995 for a Team Pod (fits four to five people); $295–$395 for desk spaces
Lounge Spaces: $245, full-time; $150, part-time
Clubhouse Membership (includes two-day access per month and limited member benefits): $75
2590 Walnut St.; 303-720-6850
—Photos courtesy of the Commons on Champa, Galvanize, Thrive, The Coterie, and WeWork