Denver has always been known for its majestic mountain views, burgeoning music scene, and unbeatable beer culture. However, over the last few years Denver has also grown into a technology powerhouse. Earlier this year, the 2015 Kauffman Index ranked Denver 5th in overall startup activity, which includes the rate of new entrepreneurs, opportunity share of new entrepreneurs, and startup density.
Now that we have data to support the fact that Denver is a booming place for startups, what else about the city makes it so great for tech companies—and top tech talent—to lay their roots?
Denver has recently taken some exciting steps to ease some of the most common pain-points new tech companies often face in the early going. In May of this year, the city opened The Commons on Champa, which offers startups 20,000 square feet of public space for entrepreneurs to build their businesses and share ideas with each other.
Additionally, Galvanize—an incubator, workspace and code school hybrid that aims to make tech education even more accessible to underrepresented groups in the industry—recently opened its second Denver location in the neighborhood of Platte.
While the 2015 Kaufmann Index took a number of factors into consideration, it was quick to point out the correlation between Denver’s high ranking and the entire state of Colorado’s growth in its real Gross Domestic Product (GDP)—which is the value of all goods and services created in the state. In 2014, Colorado’s GDP grew to just under $280 billion, a 4.7 increase from what it was the prior year.
Researchers at the Kauffman Foundation were not surprised by this growth, considering the overall activity of Denver tech companies this year. Arnobio Morelix—the author of the 2015 Kaufmann Index—told the Denver Business Journal that since entrepreneurship is so closely tied to economic growth, “it should not be surprising that some of the states seeing increased levels of startup activities have experienced high rates of real GDP expansion in recent years.”
With easy access to hiking trails and ski resorts, it’s no surprise that Denver is an attractive location for tech talent looking to stay active. Because of this, employees at Denver startups tend to arrive at work earlier than most, giving them the flexibility to spend more of their afternoons outside. With the cost of living in Denver still significantly lower than many other tech hubs, it’s easier for residents to enjoy all the amenities the city has to offer. With rent for one-bedroom apartments in the area start at just over $1000 month, it’s easy to see why top tech talent and entrepreneurs are heading to Denver at such a fast pace.
Although Denver natives are known for their laid-back and welcoming nature, the city has been aggressive in how it innovates and creates new jobs. In a recent survey by NerdWallet, Denver was ranked as one of the top cities in the country for tech jobs. While it highlights some of the benefits we’ve already discussed, NerdWallet also pointed out that Denver is also becoming a popular city for established companies’ expansion. In addition to the already high activity of Denver tech companies, KPMG recently purchased office space downtown and expects to add a total of 120 new employees by the end of the year, making the city an even more attractive destination for top tech talent.