By Lauren Wesche
May 15-19, 2017 was a week of 200+ events that celebrated Boulder’s thriving startup community.
The week’s Platinum Sponsor and kick-off speaker was Zayo Group Holdings, Inc. Focusing in communications infrastructure services, Zayo celebrated 10 years in business and spoke on a plethora of topics. This inspiring company shared insights on their journey from startup to IPO to mid-cap company. In one decade, Zayo expanded their small employee base to 4,000 global members and increased their annual revenue from zero to $2.5 billion!
How does Zayo keep an entrepreneurial spirit after such a dramatic expansion?
Keeping a sense of open communication and culture seems to be the basis of the company’s success and growth. The panelists emphasized attracting and retaining the type of employees that like and embrace change while being both flexible and decisive in nature. Having checkpoints and quarterly reviews within Zayo is pertinent for accountability and in establishing future goals. Hearing the accomplishments of Zayo was an uplifting commencement to Boulder Startup Week, an inclusive platform for businesses in all stages of establishment.
Topics discussed during the week ranged from marketing/branding, investment, technology to art, coworking, and even entrepreneurial failures. There were also mentoring office hours offered throughout the week where founders and entrepreneurs could sign up to speak with a community mentor. Zilo International Group’s managing partner, Milena Zilo, was a community mentor at Boulder Startup Week this year; she shared her perspectives and experiences in the startup world.
Many of the 200+ events were geared towards expanding the knowledge within the entrepreneurship community. Procuring investors, common startup mistakes, and how to make your startup stand out were just a few events focused on helping entrepreneurs thrive in a competitive market. Other events on virtual reality, robotics, and various operating systems were meant to inform interested attendants on the future of the tech field.
Just as it started, Boulder Startup Week ended with a BOOM with Boomtown Accelerator’s Demo Day at Boulder Theater. This Boulder based accelerator strives to have a highly effective curriculum spanning over 12 weeks for teams of promising startups. Leaders from the community, including Milena Zilo, serve as advisers and mentors to these startups throughout the program. The Demo Day on Friday, hosted by Shaw Lathrop, program manager at Boomtown, promoted 10 of the accelerator’s recently graduated startups:
- Casting.Ai: A new age casting agent of artificial intelligence is Casting.Ai’s modern approach to help talent find the perfect roles. This software is able to recognize roles that fits the user’s specific talents and recommend roles that they can’t pass up on. Founders are Jonathan Beirn, David Watson, and Aiden Livingston.
- DonateYourChange: Anyone is able to donate their pocket change to an organization they support with DonateYourChange’s web-based application. Every purchase made is automatically rounded to the nearest dollar to contribute to a good cause in a feasible yet effective way. CEO is David Funk and Chief Architect is Brian Rodgers.
- Good Buy Gear: An online marketplace for pre-used children’s gear founded by Jessica Crothers and Kristin Langenfeld. These two women saw a need for a safe, reliable, and easy way to reduce the amount of waste and lower the cost of raising children.
- HeadsUp Weather: A platform that helps businesses utilize weather information to curb costs. Marketing, staffing, inventory, and reporting are all affected by weather patterns that HeadsUp can help you recognize and profit from. CEO is Rob Seigel and Head of Marketing is Mark Monstrola.
- Nicolette: This startup’s first product, the NicoBoard, is an application that allows parent’s to track and understand their baby’s care plan. “Patient Emplowerment. Provider Partnership” is the motto of CEO Phil Martie‘s startup.
- Read Dog Books: Co-founders Kate Cygan and Michael Wray founded Read Dog in 2015. Their business sends book subscription boxes with stellar reads and fun goodies to subscribers with a mission to “connect books to their soulmates”.
- Recruitsumo: This startup offers a tech recruitment service to help “non technical people hire technical people” in an easy and fast way. CEO/Founder is Ian Barnor and Co-Founder is Jeremías Ceciliano.
- Sensient HR: Co-Founders Dhrooti Vyas and Lauren Meyers are helping promote employee satisfaction and engagement with Sensient’s application. Employees are able to complete short surveys and give suggestions while employers are able to publicly praise good work, making the workplace more transparent and positive.
- ShadowBid: Changing the way we shop online, CTO Tim Cason, COO Dante Siracusa, CFO Kevin Futch, and CEO Wesley Hansen founded ShadowBid to help consumers save money. ShadowBid is a tool that tracks the price history of an item you want to buy and automatically purchases the item when the price point hits your bid price.
- WalkTo: “Rediscover the neighborhood around you” is behind the creation of WalkTo’s app Jaywalk, a free application intended to promote deals and local businesses in your area. CEO is Rich Svinkin while John Biggs is in charge of marketing.
Boulder Startup Week 2017 was a chance for entrepreneurs to connect, learn, and empower each other in the thriving startup scene. It was stirring to witness such collaboration and support within one of America’s largest startup communities.