A love letter to Craig Newmark

Thank you Craig Newmark. You've taken the time to really step into our shoes. Beyond saying you believe women are a great investment and showing the stats to prove it, you really feel into our experience. You've taken on the vocalization of a story that's probably a little messy.  You've put together events and opportunities for women-led startups to prevail. Fantastic. You've given women visibility and funding. Amazing.


It is your willingness to consistently be our voice, to provide the words that for some, need to come from your lips to truly land, that makes you our cherished champion.

Thank you,


And here's his write-up...

It’s time for men to champion women in tech

By: Craig Newmark - Techcrunch

Folks, when it comes to gender equality in the tech world, we haven’t come very far.

Fifty-three years after the Equal Pay Act and supposedly the advancement of women’s rights in the workplace, Silicon Valley still has the feel of a fraternity.

Despite lots of research that shows how tech companies excel when women lead, the playing field is still heavily tilted in favor of men. How do we turn this around? I want to suggest that as a start, we men can make a real effort to use our male privilege on behalf of our women colleagues.

Women in tech face some tough odds. A recent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission survey of some of the top US tech companies found that on average, just 18 percent hold leadership positions, and among certain tech jobs, men still make, on average, 28.3 percent more than women.

At some leading tech companies as few as 10 percent of women occupy tech positions.

For women founders, the numbers are even worse.

Only 7% of investor funding goes to women-led ventures, and according to Digitalundivided,a mere 0.2% of venture deals from 2012-2014 went to Black women founders.

And what about the work place environment? Is it conducive to women’s inclusion and advancement?

Not according to a comprehensive survey of Silicon Valley companies conducted by Vassallo and Madansky, who found that 60 percent of women in tech had received unwanted sexual advances from a male superior, and 87 percent had been on the receiving end of demeaning comments from male co-workers. And two thirds reported being excluded when guys were going out for drinks or to other networking events.

So, it’s not particularly surprising that more than half (56 percent) of women in tech jobsdon’t stick around, or that they opt to leave the private science, engineering, and technology workforce.

But when women are supported, encouraged, and funded to lead, they excel. In fact, tech companies led by women are more capital-efficient and achieve, on average, a 35 percent higher return on investment than firms led by men, according to a Kauffman Foundation report.

Women tech entrepreneurs (working from the disadvantage of having received 50 percent less VC funding), are still able to generate 20 percent greater revenue than their male counterparts, according to a Forbes study.

Further, tech companies with a woman founder performed 63 percent better than those companies with all-male founding teams, according to a First Round Capital report.

Despite the mounting evidence that equal access for women in tech enhances the value of companies, we’re not doing enough to help women succeed — to say the least.


Despite the mounting evidence that equal access for women in tech enhances the value of companies, we’re not doing enough to help women succeed — to say the least


This is a really big problem, folks, and it’s one that we have the ability to change. We need to do a lot more, and that includes us men sharing some of our privilege and helping women colleagues get a fair shake. How would that look?

 Networking is a big deal in business and the tech world. That’s how deals get done. As part of this, men need to open our doors and share our contacts. If you know of a promising women-led startup, introduce them to investors. Another way to help women entrepreneurs is to offer some mentoring.

So for instance, if you’ve had a lot of success writing winning pitch decks, offer to review their pitch and provide concrete feedback. (Jonathan Beninson recently shared a great post on Medium about structuring mentor/mentee relationships.)

We can also help women in their job searches by spreading the wealth of contacts.  More publicly, you can speak up when women are getting a raw deal (discrimination, harassment, exclusion etc.) And we need to speak up to support women in meetings.

That includes creating space, and letting them say what they have to say without interruption or ignoring what they’ve said. Another way to be an ally:  when we’re invited to a tech panel that is an all-male affair, we can ask the organizer to include some women experts and offer some suggestions about who to invite.


We should all just say no to speaking on panels when organizers refuse to include women.


We should all just say no to speaking on panels when organizers refuse to include women.

“Tech companies want to solve the toughest problems facing our communities nationally and globally, but in order to do so, they must invest in fostering a more diverse workplace culture and where women are at the decision-making table,” says my colleague Allyson Kapin, founder of the Women Startup Challenge. “This is how we will begin to move the needle.”

I’ve been working with Allyson on the Women Startup Challenge for the last year. It showcases and helps fund women-led startups across the U.S. through pitch competitions (like the one we’re doing at LinkedIn in San Francisco on June 14th) and crowdfunding campaigns.

I’ve been learning a lot from our partnership, including some of the small but important things men can do that are a big deal for women.

I figure that if you’ve done well, as Kevin Spacey says, it’s your job to send the elevator back down — meaning we need to be intentional about opening our doors to women and helping them expand their networks and clout. This is about fairness. Plus, there’s the business advantage I mentioned earlier. Let’s do this and become our women colleagues’ best allies.

Forbes: Boulder is America's best place to start a new business in 2015

Author: Alex Burness

Source: Daily Camera 

Boulder can add another bullet to its diverse and ever-growing collection of mentions on "best of" lists.

Boulder is no stranger to these reports and in the last few years has been recognized for pretty much every possible trait. According to a slew of different organizations with varying degrees of credibility, it is at once the No. 1 American city for work/life balance, the city with the country's'unhappiest' workforce and the No. 4 most hippie-friendly community, among many other labels.

On Thursday, the city's resume grew, with a proclamation by Forbes that Boulder is the best place in the U.S. for starting a business in 2015.

"It's known as a mellow, artsy destination at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, boasting sweeping views, a thriving tech scene, and a vibrant artisan food culture, but Boulder, Colorado is also a great place to launch a business," the magazine writes.

According to data provided to Forbes by personal finance site NerdWallet, Boulder and its surrounding towns and cities beat out the country's 182 other metropolitan areas that qualify as having at least 15,000 businesses and a population greater than 250,000.

Each metro area was graded based on average annual revenue of local businesses ($721,489 in Boulder's case), number of businesses per 100 people (14.1) and percentage of businesses with paid employees (23.8 percent).

If that final figure seems low, the report notes that 82 percent of the country's small businesses do not have employees and are in fact run by one or two people and powered by contract workers.

Wilmington, N.C., came in second, with 15 businesses for every 100 residents — the most of any place on the list. The Bridgeport-Norwalk-Stamford area of Connecticut came in third, followed by Evansville, Ind. and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Guide for Boulder Tech Entrepreneurs

It's hard for these not to get outdated because we're growing so fast and there are so many new opportunities. That said, there are tons of events, organizations and a million resources all set up to create your success. Here are a few categories of incredible resources.  

Silicon Flatirons Center 
A Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship 
at the University of Colorado launched to bring these resources together.

This is what they have to say about their entrepreneurship Initiative: 

Something special is happening in Boulder's entrepreneurial circles, and the world is taking notice that Boulder is a world-class location to start a business. In support of this creative environment, Silicon Flatirons helps stitch together the entrepreneurial fabric for the area's software, telecommunications and Internet startup communities.

Says: Welcome to Boulder, a mountain town in the heart of Colorado with a thriving tech scene. This site is to help involve those new to the area or looking to meet new people, learn something new and give back to others. 


The Best European Events For Startups In 2014

 by Mike Butcher (@mikebutcher) TechCrunch

Back in 2012 I’d been to enough tech startup conferences in Europe over the previous few years to work out which ones appeared to be most significant. Europe being the disjointed bunch of countries that it is has too many to mention. That ended up being a post about events in 2013.

Now, with 2014 already here, I figured plenty of readers would like an update. So here it is. A huge thanks to Heisenberg Media for helping me put this together. Thanks also to Conferize for their crowd-sourced list of European Tech Events in 2014 which you can find here. That is not our list, it’s theirs, but it’s pretty good. We also recommend the listing over at Lanyrd.

But, simply being listed below does NOT imply that any of these events are endorsed by or ‘partnered’ with TechCrunch, other than TechCrunch branded ones of course. This is a purely editorial list, based on our experience in Europe, the list is designed to help the European tech scene grow and get more organised. Simple.

Why is it important to do this? In the first instance, Europe is a bit of a mess. Every single country seems to have its own major conference on tech startups. And so we need a single overview of what’s going on.

But the main reason is that it’s easier for those of us in the media (hello!) to cover your company if we get to meet you at an event. And it helps if that event does not clash with another. So if we produce a list of the bigger events, the events organisers will – like several planes emerging from above the clouds and realising they are about to crash into each other – HOPEFULLY not clash with each other. It’s also MUCH easier for investors to move between conferences where there are startups to check out and entrepreneurs to meet. It’s also easier for startups to take their show on the road and present to investors or the media if the events DON’T CLASH. See? Everyone wins!

The reason the list below also includes some major events in the US and a few outside Europe is that – especially in the US – TechCrunch Staff will not be around in Europe at those times. For instance, if you want TechCrunch staff to be more likely to turn up at a conference event, don’t schedule it during our Disrupt events in San Francisco or New York or Europe. OK? Simple.

I have not included events in Asia as this is more about U.S./European event traffic. And we HAVE included some in the Middle East and Africa, as they are “near” Europe. Almost all the events lists here are ones where English is the official language of the conference, with rare exceptions (the French ones).

In this listing you will (mostly) not find developer events or hackathons or meet ups. We’d prefer to concentrate on events where startups get pitched and where investors gather. Although all of the events are good some are genuinely ‘Recommended’, or ‘Interesting’. Some are more off the beaten track than others and deserve a mention.

Here’s the list pertaining to the 2014 dates. Some events either haven’t updated their sites yet, or there’s simply no information a 2014 event yet. As they update their information, and I get told, I will update this post.

Please leave your feedback in the comments, and we will take them into consideration. Thanks!

However, this is our (well, my) editorial pick.


Week 1

Week 2

CES, Las Vegas, Nevada, January 7-10

Week 3

Week 4

Hyberlin, Berlin, Germany, January 18 Demo (public), January 19 founders (invite only)

SIGNIFICANT: DLD, Munich, Germany, January 19-21 – Invited / Ticketed

WEF / Davos, Switzerland, January 22-25 – Invite Only (often featuring big tech giants and startups)


Week 6

SIGNIFICANT: MIDEM, Cannes, France, February 1-4 – Midem Lab is a track for music startups

SIGNIFICANT: Seedcamp Week London (+ Sometimes SeedSummit at the same time), London, UK, February 3, Invite only

LIFT, Geneva, Switzerland, February 5-7

Week 7

SIGNIFICANT: The Crunchies – San Francisco, California, February 10, The Annual TechCrunch Awards – Very recommended!

Finovate – London, UK, February 11-12 – Good for Financial / banking tech startups

TechChill Baltics – February 13. Good event for Baltic startups., Paris, France, TBA

Decoded Fashion Tech, NY Fashion Week, New York, New York, TBA

Startup Turkey, Antalya, Turkey, TBA

Week 8

London Fashion Week, London, UK, February 14-18 (big for Fashion tech startups)

Social Media Week (Multiple global cities), February 17-21

Week 9

SIGNIFICANT: Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, Spain, February 24-27

4 Years From NowFebruary 24-27, Barcelona, Spain


Week 9

SIGNIFICANT: London Web Summit, London, UK, TBA

Week 10

MENA ICT Forum – Dead Sea, Jordan, TBA

Week 10-11

CeBit, Hannover, Germany, March 10-14 – Trying hard to include startups more, though not a major focus and too B2B.

SIGNIFICANT: SXSW Interactive, Austin, Texas, March 7-16

Week 12

F.ounders NYC, New York, New York, TBA – Invite Only

Go Youth Conference – 16-17 March, “an event aiming to promote entrepreneurship and creativity” among young people, tech oriented

The Guardian Changing Media Summit, London, UK, March 18-19

FutureEverything Festival, Manchester, UK, March 27-April 1 – Digital culture, innovation

SIGNIFICANT: ArabNet, Beirut, Lebanon, TBA

GDC SF, San Francisco, California, March 17-21,

EU Digital Agenda Assembly, Athens, Greece, March 18-20

Scaling Startups – 26 & 27 March 2014 – London, UK

API Strategy & Practice Conference – March 26-28, Amsterdam – First ever in Europe, useful for any startup with an API.

Economist Technology Frontiers 2014 (London, UK) 27 Mar

NACUE Startup Career Launchpad – London, March 28


Week 14

DEMO U.S., San Francisco, California, April 3

Week 15

FailCon Europe, London, UK, April 8

MiPCube, Cannes, France, April 7-10 (part of MipTV, good for tech startups around TV/entertainment/video)

LOGIN.LT, Vilnius, Lithuania, April 10-11 – Big Baltic states Conference, in English, Prague, Czech Republic, April 11-12

Week 17

Startup Day, Stockholm, Sweden – April 26 – general startup pitches but majority tech and growing bigger each year

Railsberry, Krakow, Poland, TBA – Recommended for European Rails developers

SIGNIFICANT: The Next Web, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, April 24-25

World Economic Forum on Europe, MENA and Eurasia (Istanbul, Turkey) – 27-29 Apr

Latitude 59, Tallinn, Estonia, April 28-29 – Baltics startups pitching & speakers


Disrupt NYC, New York, TBA – Very Recommended


Week 19

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DigiTalk, Sofia, Bulgaria, May 2014

NEXT Berlin, Berlin, Germany, May 5-6 – Some startups, mostly corporates and digital marketing

Heureka, Berlin, Germany, May 6 – Startups & focused on Berlin’s ecosystem

London Big Data Week events, (crowd-sourced), London – May 5-11

Berlin Web Week, Berlin, Germany, May 6-7 – Range of events

Week 20

Engage Invest Exploit 2014, Edinburgh, Scotland, May 8

CapitalOnStage, Berlin, Germany, TBA

Decoded Fashion Tech, London, UK, May 10-14

Bacon, London, UK, May 16-17 – developer conference liked by starters.

Google Zeitgeist UK (London, UK) – 18-20 May (TBC)

Cannes Film Festival, Cannes, France, May 14-25 – Good for media startups

Week 21

Shift Split – Split, Croatia, TBA

Net Prophet, Cape Town, South Africa – TBA

Thinking Digital, Newcastle, UK, May 20-22 – Interesting

Forum SPB, St. Petersburg, Russia, May 22-24

Week 22

The D Conference, Rancho Palos Verdes, California, TBA

Digital Shoreditch – London, UK A SXSW style event, last week of May


Week 23

Startup Village – Created by Skolkovo, in Moscow, 2-3 Jun 2014

innotechsummit – 4-5 June, London – Tech Policy and big company focused.

Web2day – 4-6 June, Nantes, France (Largely in French)

Kinnernet Europe, Avallon, France – June 5-8 – Israelis hanging out with Euros & others.

DEMO Europe – June 4-5, Moscow, Russia,

Red Innova, Madrid, Spain, TBA – Spanish / LATAM event

Startup 2.0, Bilbao, Spain, IS THIS STILL GOING?

PivotEast, Nairobi, Kenya, TBA, East Africa’s main mobile apps / startup pitch competition for investors

Spain Startup and Investor Summit – Madrid, Spain, TBA – In English

Week 24

SIGNIFICANT: Le Web London, London, UK, June 9-10

>Midnight Pitch Fest, Oulu, Finland, June 12-13, TBA – Invite Only

Startup Island, Hvar, Croatia, TBA

EU Commission Digital Agenda Assembly – TBA

Week 25

Significant: Cannes Lions 15-21 June 2014, Cannes, France – Relevant for tech companies driven by advertising, big players attend

SparkMe – June 19-20 2014. Budva, Montenegro

Startup Summit, Prague – TBA (21 June in 2013)

SIGNIFICANT: Bitspiration, Krakow, Poland, TBA

WPP Stream, Cannes, France, June 17 – Invite only

Cannes Lions, Cannes, June 15-21 – Good for media/advertising startups

ICT Spring Europe, Luxembourg, TBA

Week 26

MLove Berlin, Berlin, Germany (closer to Halle, Germany), June 25-27 – Interesting

Founders Forum Menorca Tech Talk, Menorca, Spain, TBA

D-Conf, Milan, Italy, TBA

NOAH, San Francisco, California, TBA – Interesting for late-stage startups


Week 27

Tech Open Air Berlin – Berlin, Germany, July 4-5

Week 28

DLD Women, Munich, Germany, TBA

Tech4Africa Nairobi – Nairobi, Kenya, TBA – July TBA 2014, Croatia


Week 32

Young Rewired State, UK, August 4-10

Week 33

GDC Europe, Cologne, Germany, August 11 – 13 – Useful for social games developers/startups

Week 34

Rock, Paper, Startups – Rijeka, Croatia – TBA (18-19 July in 2013), Malmo, Sweden, TBA – Media/Tech overlap conf.

Turing Tech Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland, TBA – Interesting

Week 35 – 36

Burning Man, Black Rock, Nevada, August 25 – Sep 1 – Lots of tech entrepreneurs now attend


Week 36

Hack Cyprus/ – Cyprus, TBA

DConstruct, Brighton, UK, TBA – “technology and culture”

Significant: IFA, Berlin, Germany, September 5 – 10 – Europe’s main consumer tech/gadget show

SIGNIFICANT: CTIA, Las Vegas, Nevada, September 9-11

Digital Derry, Northern Ireland, TBA

Week 37

SIGNIFICANT: TechCrunch Disrupt SF, San Francisco, California, TBA – Very Recommended (September 7-11, 2013)

Pirate Summit, Cologne, Germany, TBA (1st or 2nd week of September most likely) – Fun, startup event, junkyard atmosphere, good vibe

Campus Party London, London, UK, TBA – Big huge Hackathon and speakers

Startup Lisboa Demo day, Lisboa, Portugal, TBA

Week 38

Fast FWD Conference – tech and startup festival in Belgium – TBA

Kinnernet, Israel – Invite only, mainly Israeli in focus, with some outside guests

DM Ex Co, Cologne, Germany, September 10-11 – Advertising startups / Germany

TechCrunch Italy, Rome, Italy, TBA

“Investor Harvest” – Sep 18-19 Odessa, Ukraine (by by Europe Venture Summit, invitation for European angels and LPs)

Investors AllStars, London, UK, TBA. Not a conference but an interesting gathering of European VCs and founders., London, UK, TBA – Interesting for mobile startups

Week 39

MindTheProduct, London, UK, TBA, Copenhagen, Denmark, TBA

SIGNIFICANT: Webrazzi Summit, Istanbul, Turkey, TBA. September 25th – Recommended to download Turkey


Week 40

The Next Web New York, New York, New York, TBA

TED Global, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October 5-10

SIGNIFICANT: White Bull Summit, Barcelona, Spain, TBA – Oct. 6th-8th (2014) – Recommended, esp. for growth or mid-stage firms

Decoded Fashion Tech – Milan Oct 22 2014

MindTrek, Tampere, Finland, TBA

Spain Startup And Investor Summit – Madrid, Spain, TBA

Tech4Africa – Johannesburg, South Africa, TBA

Week 41

Ennovation, Poznan, Poland, TBA

WHU’s, Vallendar, Germany, campus of WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Germany,TBA

Week 42

IDCEE (Investor Day CEE), Kiev, Ukraine, October 16-17

Wired UK 14, London, UK, October 16-17

GigaOM Structure:Europe, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, TBA

Week 43

DLD Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel, TBA – Recommended, Milan, Italy, TBA

Week 44


SIGNIFICANT: Pioneers Festival, Vienna, Austria, 29 & 30 October – Recommended as a broad conference on science, tech and innovation

SIGNIFICANT: Dublin Web Summit and F.ounders, Dublin, Ireland, TBA

Stream Global 2014 (Marathon, Greece) 23-26 Oct


Week 44

HowToWeb, Bucharest, Romania, TBA – Recommended to download Eastern Europe

Week 45


Explorers Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, TBA

Webit, Istanbul, Turkey, TBA – Recommend, Large trade show and exhibition featuring broadly on digital marketing, commerce and startups, in Turkey and Southern and Central Europe

Silicon Valley Comes to the UK – Nov 6-8 featuring veterans from the Valley touring London and Cambridge

Silicon Valley Comes to Oxford – Featuring veterans from the Valley at the Said Business School – (24-25 November in 2013)

Codebits – Portugal, TBA, Large hackathon style conference, not startup oriented but a pool for talent

Week 46

Noah Conference, London, UK, November 12-13 – Recommended for later stage startups, broadly European but heavily German and Israeli

Apps World, London, UK November 12-13

Global Entrepreneurship Week in Belarus – (Nov 18-21 in 2013) – Minsk, Belarus – Features startups

Slovakia Startup Awards – (22 Nov 2013)

Rise Up Summit – Cairo, Egypt – Recommended a as a major event for tech in the Middle East (Was 24-25 Nov 2013)

Global Entrepreneurship Week (various global events like Internet Week Europe)

SIME, Stockholm, Sweden, TBA

Monaco Media Forum, Monaco, TBA

SVC2UK, London, UK, TBA – Recommended

Slush, Helsinki, Finland, TBA – Recommended as the main Nordics/Scandinavia event

Startup Conference Next – Sofia, Bulgaria (November 30th 2013)


Week 49

RECOMMENDED – Startup AddVenture – Kiev, Ukraine, Dec 3-4 (by Europe Venture Summit)

SIME Miami – 3-4 December

Stretch, Budapest – December 5-6 – leadership and management conference for tech comps

TechCrunch Moscow 2014, Moscow, Russia, TBA

LeWeb, Paris, France, TBA – Recommended, big tech event in Europe for some time

API Days, Paris, France, TBA

Week 50

How the Internet ruined San Francisco (Salon Magazine OCT 28, 1999)

I posted my last piece about my experience living the dream in Pre-Bust SF and happened to find this. Having arrived Jan '96 to what I compared to the Athens of days past, my SF was not only the place that attracted brilliant minds, it attracted the eclectic and the misunderstood and gave them community. 

I too felt the blue shirt khakies (MBAs from Stanford, Wharton, Kellog and Harvard) had taken over. I suppose I was equally responsible. 18 years later, as residents picket the Google and Facebook buses that shuttle employees to the Valley, I wonder how much has changed and how much has stayed the same.

I was there last month and was taken by its magic. All dressed up for the holidays with abnormal 60 degree and sunny days, everything sparked and everything had meaning.  I missed my walks, the views, the water, the food and the conversation. I missed the unbridled creativity, the craze and fervor and the belief that the world could be won with a few more lines of code.  

During my almost 8 years, I chased the sun from Pacific Heights to Cole Valley to Noe and finally decided I needed my 300+ sunny days in CO. After years of distance, time has blurred my frustrations and I'm pining for what are, most likely, idyllic memories.  I'm fortunate for every chance I get to return and thank you SF for gifting me with all your abundances. 

The dot-com invasion -- call them twerps with 'tude -- is destroying everything that made San Francisco weird and wonderful.

I had the misfortune to live in Manhattan during the ’80s, when all conversations turned ineluctably to real estate and the shops and people that made New York interesting were being wiped out by a boom economy. Then, you’d see a slightly faded kosher butcher shop replaced by an Italian fusion restaurant, what was the rehearsal space for a dance troupe become a lawyer loft.

Now in late-’90s San Francisco, you can have all the Manhattan greed-is-good bull-economy moments you like. Freed, Teller and Freed, the oldest coffee and tea seller in the city (established 1899, its handcrank cash register in use until the end) survived all — earthquakes, the Depression, Starbucks — but it couldn’t survive the Internetting of San Francisco: It closed Oct. 15, its building to become condos. You can stand on Sixth Street smack in the middle of SOMA (where Wired got its start) and the flow of traffic now evokes Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. Parking is bad all over the city, the gratuitous kindness from strangers and service personnel I always so pleasantly contrasted with New York is fading fast, and it’s beginning to be all too clear that people have no slack in their lives.

Commercial real-estate prices have gone up 42 percent since 1997 in San Francisco’s Mission District, a formerly working-class, affordable, largely Latino neighborhood where in the old days auslanders only ventured to get burritos at Taqueria La Cumbre and sex toys at Good Vibrations. Now it’s the scene of some of the most bitter class struggles in the city, the Yuppie Eradication Project (let’s key those SUVs!) vs. sleek dot-com people, who look like nothing so much as the slickers I cowered from in the ’80s, who lived on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and commuted to Wall Street. On happening Valencia Street, where druggies and minimum-wage immigrants walk past their economic superiors, a fenced-in parking lot has appeared, where a white-coated valet protects a phalanx of Mercedes and Lexus SUVs from the neighborhood. By 1998 two-thirds of the people living in the Mission were new arrivals — mostly from Wharton or MIT, not Honduras, you may be sure.

The median price of a San Francisco condo was $410,000 in August 1999, more than a 40-percent increase from August 1998. The median rental price for a two-bedroom apartment was $2,000. Avalon Towers, the first high-rise apartment to go up in San Francisco in more than a decade, has had no trouble attracting tenants who pay rents ranging from $2,400 to $4,000 a month. Eighty-five percent of them earn more than $100,000 per year, 60 percent are under 40, and two-thirds are new to the city. Good bet these aren’t the bad poets, malcontents, and fruits and nuts looking for a new start that the city has always attracted.

Evictions, legal or illegal, are at an all-time high — and 70 percent of those evicted leave the city. Ted Gullickson, office manager for the San Francisco Tenants Union, says his nonprofit’s business, that of protecting renters’ rights, more than doubled in 1995-96, and has increased by 25 percent every year since. He has watched the Internet-induced housing crisis (astronomic prices, abysmal vacancy rates, economic exclusion) move north up the Peninsula through Santa Clara and San Mateo counties into San Francisco as the Way New Economy has overtaken the Bay Area. Silicon Valley creates nine new jobs for every new housing unit: What does it mean for San Francisco to become a suburb of Palo Alto?

In San Francisco, he says it’s now the case of “the richer gentrifying the rich,” meaning renters in the most whitebread and affluent neighborhoods in the city — the Marina and Pacific Heights — are also being evicted or forced out.

According to state income-tax returns, the gap between rich and poor in San Francisco increased 40 percent between 1994 and 1996 — just about the time the new parking enclosures started happening and the Net started making investors very, very happy.

So what’s the big deal? Isn’t the dot-com invasion just the latest example of gentrification — a phenomenon that started in the go-go ’80s? In a sense, yes — but the speed, libertarian ethos, irritating hipster pose and chilling finality of this invasion put it in a different league from earlier ones. Sure, San Francisco in the Reagan years also had its share of Jay McInerney types in suits hitting the clubs. But in those days the city had temporarily ceded its status as financial center of the West to L.A., so some of those corporate sharpies had to have been here for at least some reasons beyond revenue and career-enhancement. Now San Francisco has become a city of 22-year-old Barbie-bunny marketing girls who don’t realize the Web is not the Internet, and guys who have come to San Francisco because the dot-com version of Dutch tulip-mania offers better odds of instant wealth than making partner at Merrill Lynch. The result is a city whose unique history and sensibility is being swamped by twerps with ‘tude.

Remembrance of things past: Part 1

When I lived in Potrero Hill in the 1980s, my landlord was my next-door neighbor, the kind of kindly, eccentric bohemian this historically most-lefty-in-the-city nabe had always attracted. The Slovenian union hall is situated here. Traditionally, journalists and low-rent architects and artists were drawn here, in part because of the cheap rents and good light. Joe’s grandparents had owned a cattle ranch on what is now part of the greenbelt surrounding Stanford University; Joe got a degree in theater arts from San Francisco State, had lived in Paris and North Beach in the ’50s, in a loft in the Haight in the ’60s, and for years made his living making architectural models. He also owns a 1949 Ford truck, which he always kept parked near the intersection we lived on — not an issue in a neighborhood where there is lots of on-street parking.

Joe isn’t running a meth lab, nor routinely scheduling raves, nor kenneling yappy dogs, nor, unlike my next-door neighbors in Santa Cruz, running an illegal car repair and refinishing business out of his house. He rides his bike far more than he drives. He’s lived in that sun-drenched flat for close to 20 years, and been a good neighbor to all. Yet someone, starting about three years ago, began phoning into the Department of Parking and Traffic, complaining about his abandoned eyesore truck — and they succeeded in getting it towed if he didn’t move it often. Why live in Potrero Hill — a neighborhood that abuts a light-industrial area, where Anchor Steam beer is still made and until only a few years ago you could smell the Hills Brothers’ coffee roasting that always made the entrance to the Bay Bridge smell like toast — unless you can appreciate the beauty of a museum-quality mid-century truck? We both suspect that if it were an SUV parked in front of his house, and not his trusty steed of 40-plus years, the anonymous informer would never have acted. Joe, whose duplex with smashing views is long paid off, tells me he feels like he’s being forced out by the dot-com people.

Artists and arts organizations have been and continue to be economically harassed out of the city — a trend exacerbated by the new gold rush. With no rent control on commercial property (modest 1,200-square-foot spaces now routinely rent for $3,000 a month), all kinds of rehearsal spaces and performance spaces and exhibition spaces and true live/work spaces (not the slapdash gimcrack monstrosities being thrown up by powerful contractor Joe O’Donoghue’s Residential Builders Association, where chief technology officers live for their work) are in jeopardy. To take just one example: Artists’ Television Access, a Mission District exhibition space where the best and worst of non-commercial films have been shown for years, is in jeopardy.

As Carren Shagley, a San Francisco realtor, asks, “What artist can pay $650,000 for a live-work space?” Still, these tenements of tomorrow would make a techno-libertarian proud: They don’t pay into the city’s public-school taxes, and their developers are not required, as they would be with other kinds of developments, to make any of them affordable housing. Ah, the beauties of the free market and the freedom from despised regulation.

Creating work that you hope might have value beyond a Webweek, or not intended to be monetized on the Web, requires time and space enough to be able to live at least at subsistence level while you rehearse or paint or go against City Hall as a skateboard activist.

But the Internet culture that celebrates all work all the time doesn’t accord value to anything that isn’t easily monetized — or corporatized. The importance of leisure time, of being able to support yourself with a day job to pursue other ends, to rehearse and canvass and organize and noodle and reflect, is totally at odds with the all-connected-all-the-time upside-potential lifestyle of the dot-com people.

Gabriel Metcalf, deputy director of San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), says that the newcomers to the city are “much less politically active; don’t join neighborhood associations.”

Well, sure. Unlike traditional émigres to San Francisco, who came for the landscape or to live in a human-scale, cosmopolitan, liberal city or to explore whatever personal desires, strange art forms and political activism they couldn’t in their own hometown, the dot-com people are coming mostly for the money — whatever San Francisco has been historically or culturally is beside the point. San Francisco is a collection of distinctive villages with their own microclimates and strong community feeling, from North Beach to Noe Valley to the Haight to Bernal Heights, but that’s not why it’s become the top destination for graduating MBAs. Dot-com people just need a place to crash after they work 15 hours a day — sleep is for the weak and sickly. They haven’t lived here long enough to know or care about civic issues, for the most part — and for those who subscribe to the prevailing high-tech orthodoxy of libertarianism, there’s not much reason for them to care.

Larry Rothstein, a San Francisco plaintiff’s attorney for 20 years, talks about the “I’ve got mine so screw you” attitude of the dot-com folks he has been running into “in the last couple of years” on San Francisco juries. “They’re just here to make a buck and quickly leapfrog up the corporate ladder,” he says. “They grew up under Reagan-Bush and parrot the line about how frivolous lawsuits are bad for business and how nothing must interfere with profit flow of a company. They’re under- and un-educated — they’ve only ever worked in high tech, can’t imagine what it’s like to not have insurance, not be able to afford a car, not be able to get a job. They have sick pay, they have a safety net, they have money, and can’t understand that there are people who don’t. They have a total lack of spirituality or soul. They’re a new generation of Republicans.”

This in San Francisco, the city that all the world likes to deride for the silliness of its political correctness? Truly, these are end times.

A friend who’s an exec at a high-tech P.R. firm commented to me on what he called “the voracious sense of entitlement” he runs into in the dot-com kids he employs, fickle creatures with no loyalty. Yet we both know that while he and I came of age during the era of guys with Ph.D.s in economics driving cabs and stagflation, the dot-coms have never known anything but a bull market.

I don’t want to demonize the entire dot-com world. Long before the Net boom, many liberal-arts flakes ended up working in computing because in the Bay Area, that’s where the jobs were. And it’s a good thing that former English majors from Cal can go on to become productive members of society working as sys-admins. There are carpetbaggers, yes, but there are also plenty of newcomers who both live and work in the city, and proudly so. Take bike riding, an important measure of good urban citizenship: The Net start-ups are much more bike-friendly (and thus, sensitive to the stressed city infrastructure they are located in) than more established companies. CNet, for example, has space for about one-third of its employees to commute by bike.

But the good dot-com citizens, at least at this point, seem to be in the minority. Take politics. The in-flow of new people into the political process is what a city relies on to keep it vital. But San Francisco’s newest arrivals seem utterly disengaged. Admittedly, the city’s current mayoral race, an embarrassing three-way battle between a corrupt, out of touch, master-of-machine-politics mayor, a scary, slimy political consultant and a well-meaning anti-charismatic former mayor/cop, doesn’t inspire much passion — nor does the who’s-a-bigger-victim identity politics that have dominated much of San Francisco civic discussion for the past decades. But there’s a lot more to politics here than that. Besides, what has San Francisco always been but the place where, if you didn’t like the politics, you could go out and make some of your own? The late Harvey Milk may have been the first out gay supervisor, but he was a supe for all the city. Jello Biafra was a mayoral candidate.

Remembrance of things past: Part 2

Back in 1981, I attended something called the “Bad Attitude in the Woods Picnic,” a get-together in a state-owned redwood grove just north of San Francisco for folks interested in Processed World, a goofball anarcho-situationist publication that was the mother of all zines, focussed on though not limited to critiques of information technology, and whose commentaries on computers, sex, work and play still ring true today. There I met Chris Carlsson, PW’s chief instigator, a sly wit of pastiche and a subversive of the best kind. Chris has gone on to be a ringleader for Critical Mass and of “Shaping San Francisco,” a sort of collaborative people’s multimedia history of San Francisco, and was co-editor for the City Lights anthology “Reclaiming San Francisco,” which contains essays on everything from the lost natural history of the city to the origins of its foodie culture. In other words, Chris is just the sort of home-grown home-brew rebel-creator who embodies the good wackitude of the city.

Anyway, Chris has just gone through the breakup of his long-term relationship (a child and a mortgage are involved) — and not only has he had a hard time finding a place to rent, he has no idea where he might be able to buy. He told me he’s on a list of potential candidates to get in on a true (as opposed to a product marketing manager’s garage with a view) live-work space at Project Artaud, a long-established alternative arts enclave. Only he told me the list of candidates for this affordable space is about 70 people long — and he was worried that his needed credentials for artist-hood weren’t pure enough, never mind how influential his way-early mocking, appropriating, pomo, visual P.W. satires were. Chris made it sound like getting in was about as difficult as getting into one of those co-ops on the Upper East Side of Manhattan (no Jews, entertainers or new money, please). He’s a local hero, and he no longer belongs here.

San Francisco was where California cuisine, which kicked off the entire U.S. craze for the fresh, the regional, the free-range, the organic and the eclectic, got started. But the people who can afford to support this are driving it into the ground. Patricia Unterman, longtime food critic and owner of the long-lived and much-loved Hayes Street Grill, wrote in the Examiner that “cooks who have spent $30,000 and three years on a culinary education can’t afford to make $10 to $15 hour on a cooking line, which is all most restaurants can pay … The pool of labor for traditional restaurant jobs gets smaller and smaller as rents escalate. Newcomers to San Francisco are lucky to find a room, even if they are willing to rough it. But what if a cook, a good cook, has been working 10 years in a good restaurant, and he or she wants to start a family?” The result, Unterman writes, is that “cooks rightfully begin to question their future in the profession. They leave cooking because it doesn’t pay enough, or they move way out of town or they take another job to supplement their income. Pretty soon, the other job … designing Web pages, becomes the main job.” Demoralized by making less money than almost all of the people they serve, Unterman writes, skilled cooks quit and are replaced by beginners — and your food isn’t as good.

Remembrance of things past: Part 3

My best friend who died of AIDS moved to San Francisco in 1976. It was through his then-girlfriend that I met him back in Wisconsin, for he was still living as straight. He moved to San Francisco in part because I was around — and in part, I now realize, because he needed to come out, and San Francisco was where he knew he’d be able to do it. I remember the day we were trying to decide which apartment on Russian Hill he should pick — the studio or the one-bedroom with the views of Treasure Island and the Bay Bridge and the kitchen with the black-and-white tiles, for the slightly more expensive price of $300 per month. We had time to decide; I urged him to go for the beauty one. And until he moved back to Madison to die there he remained, in the place where he could sit in his director’s chair and brood out the window for hours, drink bad white wine and, when the spirit moved him, paint good pictures and make room-enhancing sculptures. All supported through groveling at tables less than 30 hours a week, which gave him the free time to explore San Francisco — which in his case meant both its art worlds (he took me to the first performance piece where I saw people wearing black) and its gay worlds (it was at a diner in the Haight where over dinner he finally came out to me because he had finally toppled for someone).

But the dot-com revolution has threatened to destroy the gay community. As Brian Bouldrey wrote in the Bay Guardian, a local alternative paper, “Young people can no longer move to San Francisco to be queer anymore, not unless they have a college education and know how to design a Web site … The fantasy of San Francisco as a gay paradise is over … How much does the Web affect the vitality of the gay and lesbian community? … Face it, gays and lesbians are abandoning ‘the community.’”

It’s true. A friend who belongs to an organization of gay journalists tells me it can’t seem to engage the interest of the younger writers who have jobs with online publications — they have no political or cultural gay identity and are only interested in their stock options and job-hopping.

It’s worth quoting Bouldrey again, because his observations about the corrosive effect of the dot-com lifestyle apply not just to the gay community but to San Francisco as a whole. “Take a head count of all your queer friends who were struggling artists in the late ’80s and early ’90s. How many of them have adopted the Silicon Valley lifestyle? And have you noticed that the nature of the Silicon Valley lifestyle is perfectly suburban: decentralized, commutable, compartmentalized. Disintermediation … Getting rid of the go-between describes the success of the Internet. It brings the book to your door so you don’t have to walk all the way down the street to search the shelves … and to talk to a real person.

“A guy walks into A Different Light bookstore [a famous gay bookstore] with a big list of high-end books … and asked our clerks to help find them. We were happy to oblige, and when he was finished looking at a dozen or so books, he put them away and the clerk asked, ‘So can I help you with a purchase?’ The guy said no, he just wanted to look at the books before he bought them from Amazon. We’ve got news for you, buster: Keep doing that and you aren’t going to have any bookstores where you can paw the books.”

So what can San Francisco mean, if it’s not a place where you can be arty or subversive or living in genteel socialist poverty? Yes, there have always been rich people in San Francisco — hell, robber barons made San Francisco — but the point is, there was always room for the rest of us. You could have the backyard, suburban pleasures that are possible in a city that’s not built to bulk, a city where well-to-do people lived right next door to people of modest means. Gross class stratifications weren’t there. But not anymore. The San Francisco of Sierra Club founder John Muir and Ambrose Bierce; of Kenneth Rexroth, impresario of the alternative without whom there would have been no Beat scene in San Francisco; of the Tubes and the Jefferson Airplane; of R. Crumb and Bruce Connor; the place where Sam Shepard and Allen Ginsberg arguably created their best work; the great beautiful last-chance saloon, the last best hope for those who can’t fit in anywhere else — gone.

Gentrification is a story that’s been told many times in many locales — but the difference is, it happened so fast in San Francisco. Yes, boomtown Silicon Valley means money is pouring into the city — but the city that remains is not San Francisco.

So that’s what the Internet has done to San Francisco: given it the devil-or-the-deep-blue-sea choice of becoming either Carmel (its architectural heritage and physical beauty preserved like a dollhouse for the exclusive use of the touristic or the rich) or Hong Kong (economic development above all) or most likely, some hellish convergence of the twain. Or maybe, more accurately, it’s becoming the place that seems to be the techno-libertarian idea of the good polis: Singapore with better movies. Business couldn’t be better. And real soon now, there will be nothing troubling on the streets, nothing at all.

Paulina Borsook is the author of "Cyberselfish: A Critical Romp Through the Terribly Libertarian Culture of High-tech."MORE PAULINA BORSOOK.

Boom Baby

I found something I wrote in 1999 when I was blessed to live the Dot Com dream and experience crazy growth, acquisitions and three IPOs. 


Found myself numb and tired in California. The land of sun and fun that offers the youth spring eternal, silicon/e serenity and all that other go-west greatness had sucked me dry.  Like the desert--although my bones yearned for the end of damp, fog-blanketed days. Sometimes you want to throw off the covers, don a tank and thongs and head to the beach. Not so in sunny California. No.  Such a teaser.  No one warns of the 8 month winter, the dirty charcoal sand and intimidating (to say the least) ocean.  I’ve seen dogs and grown men sucked down in that current.  Tell me, when you came here, what were you looking for?  The gold in them there hills of days past?  You fool.  Those nuggets were mined decades ago and even then they required some superhuman strength to survive the conditions. Yes, there’s still gold here. For those left standing, struggling, surviving their personal Donner pass.  It’s a hard world and California might just be the hardest.  Or maybe it’s the industry. . . or maybe it’s just my weakness. . . 

Now, I’m no teary-eyed little girl grasping her father’s hand for security.  I let go of that hand long ago (or maybe it was never mine to hold).  I grew strong and proud. I laced up my start-up boot-straps, grabbed my shovel and sifter, and went West. 

Nothing has changed. This California dirt is still studied, sifted and sorted. Those of us with grimy, dirty fingers pick through the pieces with precision. Pre-IPO, E-commerce, killer app., gold cow.  Jargon and last week’s antiquated talk. We speculators understand that the task is daunting in its abundance of sheer frustration.

We sift and search. Search and sift. Pillaging the new resource, information, to obtain what in the end, will really be, nothing more than the clump of earth, sand, and silicon we started with.  Only fools base their dreams on the stability of sand castles.

In the end what treasured trinket will mark our diligence? Gold bars, even when positioned as paper weights on the ocean’s floor maintain their value. Stock options, however, like a high school flirt, are fickle—only valuable when someone else wants them.  Paper wealth didn’t buy Columbus’ passage and Cleopatra’s kiss required a heavy pittance of precious metal. 

I remember visiting Carson City, Nevada with my parents when I was 13. The sepia-tone pictures portrayed a rough, gregarious bunch. The sort that exaggerated everything—their stories, voices and women all were loud. But even with their arms gripped round each other in fraternal support, and smiles flashing bravely, their eyes betrayed their postured confidence.  Camaraderie looked more like reverie. Embraces more like death grips.  And their eyes, well I’ve seen those eyes. I see them daily and in various forms. They sit beside me on the N Judah, struggling to focus past the window’s reflective glare.  Those eyes walk my company’s hallways, charting battle wounds while simultaneously counting their personal calendar—or shall I say vesting schedule?  But, most upsetting, I see those eyes reflected in my mirror nightly begging sleep to visit without the help of placebo pills to stop my brain’s mile-a-minute-marathon.

I see a youth that is lost searching. I see someone who is striving to find something, to achieve the next big thing, but not sure when to give up the struggle or even recognize the prize when it’s won. At present, I can devise only one solution.  Search for that next big thing, the one great IPO, collect stock and under-eye circles, and never complain that the mines are too dark and the hours too long.  Sift and sift. Search, and sift some more and make sure those tiny threads of sanity and childhood dreams don’t slip through the grating to join the other remnants of Silicon Valley’s discards.



The New Guard - Boulder's very own, Nicole Glaros, tops the list

I recently lunched with Nicole Glaros from Techstars.  Nicole's whole focus is on Giving First and that's exactly what Techstars does. They provide seed funding from over 75 top venture capital firms and angel investors who are vested in the success of each startup, as well as intense mentorship from hundreds of the best entrepreneurs in the world.

Nicole said, "I was attracted to Techstars because they utilized a unique model - it leveraged mentors, experienced CEOs and entrepreneurs to help guide and counsel entrepreneurs to success.  The mentors are volunteers, they give freely of their time, without expectation of reward or compensation, to help the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

Nicole gives daily. She teaches things like the How to craft the Perfect Elevator Pitch and offers office hours as a board member of EFCO, the Entrepreneurial Foundation of Colorado, which asks entrepreneurs to commit 1% of their early equity or annual profits to the community. EFCO has given more than $2 million to local organizations on the Front Range since 2008.

After 5 years, Nicole has seen Techstars grow into a global brand. I wanted to see what she's been up to. Wow. Just the usual. Nicole's been Managing Director at the Boulder Techstars from its inception and is now making the Big Apple shine. She just spoke at TedXBrooklyn with Spike Lee among others about why giving is the way to go. She also just made NY's list of top women and Marie Claire's New Guard list.

That list is fantastic and the women are incredible. 

MC@Work: The New Guard

What does it take to earn a spot on our New Guard?

Contacts, lots of them. But even that's only half the story. The women on this list are all masters at converting introductions into opportunities. In their respective fields and beyond, they are hugely influential for their valuable ability to connect—startups with financiers, writers with producers, candidates with voters. Got your own grand plans for world domination? Get to know the impressive women of The New Guard and make it happen.

Check out Nicole on Marie Claire as a successful woman in tech and read more: Successful Women in Tech, Entertainment, Business & Politics - The New Guard - Marie Claire 

Denver vs. Silicon Valley: Where we’re better and where we need to grow


When I travel outside the Mile High City, I’m often asked what makes Denver so attractive for startups. While our tech community and the companies it’s home to are gaining traction by the month, the benefits of launching a startup in Denver aren’t necessarily as obvious as those associated with major tech destinations like the Valley and, more recently, New York.


But when we were preparing to launch Convercent into the governance, risk, and compliance market, there was never any doubt where we should set up shop. In fact, I recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal about some of the key reasons why Denver-Boulder is in an exciting time for tech acceleration (and our mayor did, too). Indeed, the tech hub here is actually piping with opportunity — it’s by no coincidence that $280M in funding came through the city alone last year. The perks you’d find in the Valley like daily farm-to-table meals and ping-pong tournaments aren’t the standard, but there are other important and significant advantages to cultivating a tech company here, all unique to our own local culture.

But just like most relatively new, fast-growing developments in the tech sector, we still need to iron out some kinks and improve upon certain areas before Denver truly recognizes its full potential. There are distinct areas where Denver’s tech innovation excels, but also places where we still need to grow to take our own tech scene to the next level.

What we do best

Denver has an ideal work-life balance. The city isn’t just home to slew of high-growth tech startups, it’s also home to very successful awesome food start ups as well as some of the best breweries in the US. The Rocky Mountains are in our backyard for people who love their skis and snowboards in the winter and mountain bikes and hiking boots the rest of the year. In fact, it’s this balance that often attracts top talent from New York and the Valley to Denver — people get burned out and are drawn to Denver’s high quality-of-life. The outdoors are a key part of Denver’s overall culture and everyone makes a point to take pride in these defining factors and enjoy what our city has to offer.

Within our working world, the quality of life is arguably just as high. The tech community in Denver works to foster a cohesive, supportive environment where people have unique access to the resources they need to scale: The Mayor, Erik Mitisek’s band of superstars at the Colorado Technology Association and local incubators like Galvanize all actively find ways to help startups excel and forge a close-knit network. In fact, the city of Denver and Mayor Michael B. Hancock recently helped Convercent open the doors to its new office in Denver’s Golden Triangle district, a vibrant, up and coming neighborhood where it seems a new startup sets up just about every other week.

Even the tech companies themselves work to support each other’s growth, which is a dramatic contrast to the competition you find in other tech hubs where everyone’s concerned about who’s launching what first. Our office is also a communal, shared space for local artists, entrepreneurs, and other startups to come use at no cost, as well as a venue for local networking and tech events. Even as Denver’s tech hub becomes more dense, this supportive nature hasn’t wavered. In fact, the recent and steady successes of the Denver/Boulder region’s companies seem to have only fueled our drive to help each other excel.

This close-knit community also helps give way to focused, thriving corporate cultures. In Silicon Valley, founders and CEOs are constantly concerned with other companies poaching their employees. Being outside of this noisy ecosystem, Denver is less susceptible to this company-hopping routine and, as result, employees are overall more invested in their work, driving greater company morale and productivity. Companies are able to stay focused on their visions and goals without the distractions of passing tech trends and launches.

Where There’s Room to Grow

I’d like to see Denver creating a few juggernauts on the level of Salesforce or Google. We need a few of these behemoth tech companies to help anchor Denver as major hub for technology, and help bring in the top talent and resources needed to propel the smaller surrounding companies forward.

The success of TeleTech, an innovator of customer-experience technolog; Ping Identity’s recent $44 million round; and Rally Software’s recent initial public offering (now up 100 percent) are all steps in the right direction. But we need more.

We need Sympoz, Datalogix, Sendgrid, Newsgator, Full Contact, and Convercent to continue along the path they’re on until they become nationally-recognized businesses that are leading their respective markets. Lastly, we need Governor Hickenlooper and Tom Clark, the CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, to continue their great work bringing companies like Arrow Electronics to Colorado and land a few other giant, anchor companies for Denver’s tech community to reach new levels of success.

Another development that would help significantly grow our local entrepreneurial community is a bigger market for angel capital. The issue isn’t that money for seed startups is hard to come by — there’s plenty of money if the opportunity is right. The issue is that investors only want to bet on proven technology executives with ample experience in successfully scaling companies.

These “fundable” teams aren’t as prevalent in a newly developed tech scene, and while our early stage companies are often piping with new and innovative ideas, a certain track record is required to attract capital. Incubators like TechStars are helping to usher in more qualified seed startups, but what will really move the needle is recruiting respected founders into Colorado, inspiring our own executives to start their own businesses, and encouraging Denver’s proven entrepreneurs to continue launching new companies rather than simply enjoying Colorado after some initial success.

Lastly, part of what’s hurts Denver’s tech community most is its own reputation. The Rocky Mountain West is known for skiing, hiking, turning Rocky Mountain spring water into Coors beer, and creating the cable industry. Outside Colorado, there’s an underlying sense that a technology company springing out of this unassuming area can’t possibly be ahead of the curve. A shift in this kind of thinking should come organically as Denver’s tech market continues to gain traction, but until it gains more national recognition, some extra effort goes into proving that your company has what it takes.

Despite a few areas to improve upon, I wouldn’t trade Denver’s high quality of the life, supportive tech network and strong company cultures for the advantages that come along with real estate in one of the coastal the tech hubs. With Colorado now claiming four of the top ten most popular cities for startups, I have ambitious hopes and dreams for how the region’s tech community will continue to take shape.

Patrick Quinlan is the chief executive of Denver-based Convercent, an enterprise cloud software company that raised a $10.2M series A in January (check out VentureBeat’s profile of its dynamic office space). He’s been leading Denver tech companies for decades.



Entrepreneur Magazine lists Boulder as the #1 Startup City

The 25 Best U.S. Cities for Tech Startups


boulder skyline.jpg

BY CATHERINE CLIFFORD | August 14, 2013|

Colorado is gaining steam as a startup haven.

Move over, Silicon Valley. Colorado is building some serious startup swagger.

Four of the top 10 metro regions in the U.S. with the most tech startups are in Colorado: Boulder, Fort Collins-Loveland, Denver and Colorado Springs. That’s according to a report released today by technology policy coalition Engine and entrepreneurship research association the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The research focuses on high-tech startups specifically, defining them as new businesses with a concentration of employees in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Related: The 5 Rules for Silicon Valley Success That Can Work Anywhere

Here is a rundown of the U.S. metro regions with the highest ratio of tech startups compared to the national average:

  1. Boulder, Colo.
  2. Fort Collins-Loveland, Colo.
  3. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
  4. Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, Mass.
  5. Seattle
  6. Denver
  7. San Francisco
  8. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.
  9. Colorado Springs, Colo.
  10. Cheyenne, Wyo.
  11. Salt Lake City
  12. Corvallis, Ore.
  13. Raleigh-Cary, N.C.
  14. Huntsville, Ala.
  15. Provo-Orem, Utah
  16. Bend, Ore.
  17. Austin-Round Rock, Texas
  18. Missoula, Mont.
  19. Grand Junction, Colo.
  20. Sioux Falls, S.D.
  21. Bethesda-Frederick-Rockville, Md.
  22. Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.
  23. Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, Ore.-Wash.
  24. Wilmington, Del.
  25. Ames, Iowa

As an entrepreneur looking for a startup community to launch your business, knowing where other entrepreneurs have planted their seeds may prove fruitful. And for local leaders, encouraging high-tech startup growth in your community could generate jobs. While high-tech startups have an undeniably high failure rate, those that do succeed take off quickly. On the whole, high-tech startups are good for the local job market, according to the research.

Related: Entrepreneurs Take Lead in Building Vibrant Startup Communities

A thriving startup community that's creating jobs typically attracts vitality -- and cash -- to a region. "In the case of Boulder, a startup community whose evolution I've observed and participated in closely over the past many years, the cultural and economic transformation has been extraordinary,” says Brad Feld, co-founder of the Boulder-based Foundry Group and author of numerous books about startup ecosystems, in a statement. “While there isn't one, definitive blueprint to building a technology industry, this research can hopefully inspire communities and policymakers to work together to ensure that the spread of high-tech entrepreneurship isn't just a trend, but a long-term phenomenon.”

Catherine Clifford
is a staff writer at 

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