Denver Startup Week is Coming
Denver Startup Week isn’t until the end of September, but we can already feel the buzz around town. I recently attended the Denver Startup Week Community Kick-Off Event and found myself in a jam-packed auditorium with other Denverites hoping to get a sneak peek of what’s to come at this year’s event. The passion for Denver Startup Week is strong and loud – from the attendees and volunteers, to the staff and co-founders who make it all possible.
In just six short years, Denver Startup Week has become the biggest entrepreneurial event of its kind in the U.S., and although the physical changes since the beginning are stark, the underlying message and goal remain the same.
In 2012, Denver Startup Week was created when a group of people got together for beers at Wynkoop Brewing Company. Boulder had recently popped up as an emerging a startup-hub, and passionate members of the community wanted to create something specifically for the makers and doers of downtown Denver. Ben Deda, Tami Door, and Erik Mitisek were spearheading the action, and become the co-founders of Denver Startup Week – which officially launched in the fall of 2012.
The inaugural event consisted of 70 sessions over six days, with over 500 companies involved and 3,500 attendees. It was immediately obvious that the Denver community was on board with the idea of getting together and sharing ideas and stories. Since then, attendance and company participation has steadily increased year after year, and in 2017, a record was set with over 1,200 submissions for potential speaking opportunities, 376 official sessions, and 18,900 attendees – an increase of 440 percent since its first year. The week-long event drew participants from 48 states and saw nearly 100 million impressions on social media – further putting Denver on the map as a worthy place to start and grow a business.
So why is this event so popular within the Denver community?
For starters, the Denver Startup Week ethos is “Give First.” The goal is to bring people together to discuss innovation and opportunities within the Denver community. The organizers make sure it’s about sharing, not about selling, and people are extremely receptive to that. That’s why you’ll see mentor sessions hosted by the likes of Bryan Leach, Founder & CEO of Ibotta, and Sameer Dholakia, CEO of SendGrid. No one is too big to share knowledge and help others grow.
Secondly, the Denver community is involved in almost every aspect of the planning and activities. In fact, volunteers make up much of Denver Start Up Week’s organization. If you’re interested in helping out at this year’s event, you can apply to volunteer here. The local community also gets a say in which speaking sessions make it on the final schedule. After companies submit their ideas for speaking sessions, the community votes on their favorites. Mark your calendars – voting will take place from May 2nd to May 18th. This year we expect to see a lot of discussions highlighting technology and AI in the workplace, how to get funded, and women dominating the workplace.
While the 7th annual Denver Startup Week won’t take place until September 24-28, the hunt for interesting topics to fill the schedule starts today. Companies interested in speaking can submit their ideas through the Denver Startup Week website now through May 1st.
Take it from us, you’ll want to be in downtown Denver this fall for startup week. The week-long event is always packed with networking events and opportunities to meet awesome people who have similar interests as you and who could potentially become your next business partner or investor. The possibilities are endless. Our advice is: be open to new ideas and connections, and soak in as much information as you can. We know we will!