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In Colorado, most of the tech world geeks are out in Boulder and Denver, and although those cities certainly form the center of the state’s IT universe, they’re not alone. Elsewhere, small, strong tech hubs are flourishing. To celebrate their coming of digital age, we highlight three burgeoning tech communities and the startups helping to bring out their inner nerd.
In the past, some thought the Springs’ conservative reputation might repel a lot of forward-thinking entrepreneurs. Not anymore. In April 2014, Peak Startup launched as a mentoring, networking, and educational group; it hosted 125 events last year and was among the reasons Colorado Springs was on Forbes’ “7 Cities You Didn’t Expect To Be Great For Business” list in 2017.
Company to watch: FlyPhone
Developed by six Colorado College seniors, this company’s technology pairs your phone to your drone so the robot follows you during epic adventuring. The sextet won the school’s startup competition (and $30,000) this year.
Save the date: Denver Startup Week
When: September 25 to 29
What: Intro to HTML sessions, Cybersecurity 101 for startups, happy hours, job fairs, and more
Where: Downtown Denver, various locations
Telluride / Durango
Telluride is a posh, wealthy retreat, and Durango looks like it’s stuck in the 19th century. In other words, neither screams “tech haven.” But that changed in 2012 when the Telluride Foundation launched the Telluride Venture Accelerator. A year later, Durango opened its own accelerator, SCAPE, to support new local businesses, and in spring 2016, the Southwest Innovation Corridor emerged—a government-funded initiative designed to encourage collaboration among the region’s fresh, thriving enterprises.
Company to watch: ProEditors
The Telluride video service collects iPhone or GoPro footage and edits it into cinematic gold (for $100).
Grand Junction has long been home to freelance programmers and coders who choose to live in the beautiful Western Slope city because they love the outdoors and can work remotely. But it wasn’t until 2014—when entrepreneurs started Launch West Co., a networking group that boasts more than 800 members—that a local tech scene truly began to emerge.
Company to watch: SynaptixGames
The father-and-son business creates virtual reality video games, a market that’s projected to increase from $5.2 billion in 2016 to more than $162 billion by 2020. Its second release, Day of Destruction, came out in February.