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The Colorado Startup Ecosystem Matures

By: Dan Caruso, Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO of Zayo

Just a decade ago, Colorado’s startup community was just scaling up. There was a buzz about entrepreneurs—and startups like Zayo were in their early days. TechStars and the Foundry Group were created to support first-time entrepreneurs, and began to build what has evolved into a mature, vibrant ecosystem.

Today, Denver and the Front Range is one of the leading centers of innovation and entrepreneurship. The entrepreneurial culture is dynamic, public and private funding sources are well-established, expertise and resources are readily available. And those companies that were startups in 2009? Some of them have succeeded in a big way and are now giving back and providing leadership to continue to advance innovation in our community.

As the ecosystem has evolved, needs have changed. With more scaleups and unicorns (companies that have reached $1B or more in valuation), comes the need for new business models and new resources. That’s why I’m so excited about a new Colorado organization that we are introducing to the community at Denver Startup Week.

Endeavor Colorado, which is in the process of opening its offices here, will focus its resources to help the state’s future billion-dollar entrepreneurs who care about having a positive impact on their community. It is launching with the backing and engagement of our state’s most successful entrepreneurs, executives, and investors to support the next generation of high-impact entrepreneurs.

Endeavor is an established, well-respected organization that has done outstanding work around the globe. Founded in 1997, Endeavor has helped 1,900 entrepreneurs build more than 1,200 companies in 35 markets and 65 cities throughout North America, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. Companies led by Endeavor Entrepreneurs generated combined revenues of $20 billion in 2018 and have created 3 million jobs in their local economies. Endeavor Entrepreneurs commit to mentoring and investing in the next generation of founders.

Endeavor Colorado will provide emerging entrepreneurial leaders with access to Colorado’s established business leaders as well as Endeavor’s international network of mentors, investors, and peers. In addition to providing strategic support as these entrepreneurs scale their businesses, Endeavor also provides a platform for entrepreneurs to broaden their impact within the Colorado community, paving the way for future generations of founders to access opportunities for self-fulfillment and community advancement. Endeavor Colorado will provide a merit-based platform open to all entrepreneurs who dream big and create high-growth ventures, drawing companies located in all areas of the state and led by diverse founders.

Endeavor Colorado’s launch is spearheaded and made possible by seed funding from the founding board of directors, along with strong community support from ZOMA Lab and Liberty Global. The Endeavor Colorado board consists of many of Colorado’s highest impact entrepreneurs, CEOs, and investors: Valeria Alberola, Dan Caruso, David Cohen (Founder and co-CEO, Techstars), Tim Craycroft (VP, Amazon), Mike Fries (CEO, Liberty Global), Ryan Heckman, Eric Remer (Founder and CEO, EverCommerce), Eric Roza (Founder and Former CEO, DataLogix), Teresa Taylor (Board Director, T Mobile, BlackHills Energy and First Interstate BancSystem), and Kent Thiry (Executive Chairman and Former CEO, DaVita), with Brad Feld (Managing Director, Foundry Group), serving as a Senior Advisor.

Please join me and fellow Endeavor Colorado board members Valeria Alberola (CEO, Zoma Labs) and Ryan Heckman (Managing Partner, Rallyday and Co-Founder, Colorado Impact Fund) along with Pete Benedetto (International Expansion, Endeavor) and Scott Miller (Managing Director, Endeavor Colorado) for a panel discussion at Denver Startup Week on Endeavor and its Colorado launch.

This panel will be immediately preceded by a lively discussion on infrastructure and innovation with leaders from some of Colorado’s top companies, including Liberty Global, Coresite, Vantage Data Centers and Google.

For more information and to register, click here.

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