Denver Startup Week Wrap Up

Denver Startup Week is the largest free startup event anywhere. Get details on the 2019 events.


Published: September 25, 2019

Denver Startup Week is the largest free startup event on the planet, attracting more attention and growing larger every year. This year was no exception with a record 20,000+ people participating in more than 350 sessions hosted in venues and offices across the city. It’s clear that Denver has assembled a powerful mix of tech expertise, entrepreneurs, and funding channels into a fertile incubator for innovative startups.

International Participation

Part of the reason Denver Startup Week is so successful is that it attracts speakers, sponsors, and supporters not just from the local community but from businesses around the world. This year’s list of sponsors included Chase Ink, Slack, Toptal, Capital One, Nordstrom, Western Union, Xero, and many more. The list of speakers included Colorado Governor Jared Polis, the Denver Broncos’ John Elway, U.S. Skiing Champion Lindsey Vonn, as well as tech industry leaders like Ted Wang of Cowboy Ventures, Paul Berberian of Sphero, and Dax Craig of PIE Insurance. This widespread support assures Denver will continue to grow it’s techcentric reputation and attract companies to either relocate or open satellite offices on the Front Range of Colorado.

Local Experts

Fortunately, Colorado has a deep roster of homegrown startup talent on hand, and the local community provided the majority of sessions sharing their insights to help others face and overcome challenges common to every business. To keep the diverse schedule manageable, the Denver Startup Week sessions were organized in a variety of tracks so attendees could easily find sessions that were most related to their role, focus, or industry. This year’s tracks included clusters on Healthcare, Cannabis, Venture Capital & Funding, Diversity & Inclusion, and Blockchain (of course) as well as topic session groups like Developer, Designer, Maker, People, Product and others. Whatever your interest, there was sure to be an informative group of sessions to attend.

The FusionAuth team was able to contribute to a variety of sessions this year. To kick off the week we co-hosted Colorado’s popular CTO Lunch with startup-focused Da Primus Consulting. Over 140 of the area’s technology leaders met together this week to share and discuss the challenges they face as they lead their teams to success. This group meets every month and is a rich resource providing expert perspectives from a variety of industries and backgrounds. If you haven’t joined yet, take the time to find a group near you. The time is worthwhile.

Later in the week, our CEO Brian Pontarelli participated in a panel discussion “Bootstrapping to Success in the Era of Venture Capital”. Along with founders John Doherty of Creedo, Trent Carlyle of Lawgical, and Lisa Gumerman of the panel shared tips on how to start and grow profitable businesses without giving up equity to an outside investor. Over 100 founders and aspiring founders attended to learn from these leaders who have resisted the temptation to accept venture capital and are growing their businesses successfully.

As the week continued, Thursday evening brought the finals of the Denver Startup Week Pitch Competition that put six startups head-to-head to vie for over $100,000 in cash and resources to help their startups grow. All six companies–Gearo, The Last Gameboard, Ball Box, AET Media, Oasis Mental Health, and Ship Relay– gave exceptional presentations, and the final grand prize went to a pair of Colorado teens and their astounding organization Oasis Mental Health, a startup dedicated to connecting teens with peers to destigmatize conversations about mental health topics. Huge congratulations to teens Mia and Melanie who gave a presentation that will be talked about for years to come! We look forward to working with you on your registration solution.

Finally, on the last day of an incredibly busy week, we wrapped up our SwitchToFusionAuth Giveaway and awarded a new Nintendo Switch to Helene Kwong at the Denver Startup Week Basecamp. Congratulations Helene!

Denver Is For Startups

By the end of the five days, Denver Startup Week made sure no one walked away from downtown without a deep understanding of how strong the Colorado startup community has become. As a free event, it is an amazingly unique opportunity for entrepreneurs, startups, and established companies to come together to learn and share how they can be successful. Thank you to all the organizers and volunteers that put in hundreds of hours of effort to bring this event together every year. We look forward to 2020!

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