As startup funding increases around the world, The Exchange has poked its head into markets as far-flung as Southeast Asia, Europe, Africa, Latin America and elsewhere. Wherever we looked, we’ve found venture capital flowing in record quantities.
The story has been largely the same inside the United States, with Boston having a solid year, along with the Midwest and Atlanta. Denver, our focus this morning, is similar.
After digging through recent venture capital data via PitchBook and CB Insights and talking to a few companies in the area, we discovered something notable: Venture capital results are rising in Denver after the city and its near-neighbor Boulder had attracted huge investment from the biggest technology companies.
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Let’s dig into Denver’s venture results, reminding ourselves as we do which companies set up shop in the region, as their presence initially drew in the workers who have since seeded the area with technology talent and capital..
A brief history lesson
If you read megatech earnings reports, you’ll sometimes get a look at how many folks work for the majors. It’s a lot of people. For example, Alphabet recently disclosed that it closed Q3 2021 with just over 150,000 employees, up from a few more than 132,000 in the year-ago quarter.
Denver has attracted more than a slice of interest from names like Microsoft, which has a long-standing presence in Boulder, about 40 miles away. Google dropped $131 million on a Boulder campus back in 2018, to add another nearby example to our list. (Some tech companies solve the commute issue between the two cities by operating offices in both locations.)
Inside Denver, Facebook started hiring back in 2017, the Denver Business Journal notes, opening an office in the city the following year, when Microsoft also built a technology center in Denver. Zoom showed up in Denver back in 2016, notably,
The city is also attracting folks in what we might call tech’s middle tier. Michigan-based Service Express opened an office in Denver in 2016, indicating that the city is not merely a place for the coasts to snag talent and rent offices.
More to our interests, the largest Denver technology employers have familiar names. Per a list compiled by the Denver Business Journal, HR platform Gusto and edtech startup Guild Education are two companies with among the largest staffs in the city. The publication reckoned this March that Gusto had 800 of its 1,400 staffers in Denver, while Guild had 650 of its 768 workers in Denver earlier this year.
Digging into Denver and Boulder’s history painted a far richer picture of historical technology investment than we anticipated. It underscores just how broad tech is moving that so many companies have put down roots in the Denver area. Rocky Mountain High indeed!