Denver Startup Week - where to begin? Advice from those in the know

Tamara Chuang - - Technology - The Denver Post

Nobody does startup week like Denver.
The fourth Denver Startup Week — which has become one of the nation's largest free events of its kind — starts Monday.
But where to begin?
Scan the online schedule of 223 activities at And on Monday, start at Basecamp , a pop-up meeting area at 1515 Arapahoe Street. With 10,000 people expected for the event, we asked those in the know to share in 60-seconds what to look forward to:
Tami Door, CEO of Downtown Denver Partnership , and event co-chair.
Advertisement If you are interested in starting a company, have started one and working to grow it, or have grown it and wanting to start the next one, we'll do everything to give you access to resources and the community to ensure your success. Hit the kickoff event Monday night. That will give you the opportunity to meet the entrepreneurial community right off the bat and capture the energy. And then come in and out of Basecamp throughout the week. You'll get exposed to resources that are available all year long. We have some great speakers. The founder of Siri is coming. Our startup crawl is a great way for anyone to be part of something that is very social in nature but also gives you the opportunity to visit different companies. And there's a big closing party on Friday night to solidify the relationship. That's the key. We provide the platform and the community helps create the content. But it's really up to the attendee to take advantage of it.
Krista Morgan, P2Binvestor co-founder and CEO:
Every year it gets better, especially with Basecamp. It's made all the difference because events are so spread out, meeting people is hard. Definitely spend time at Basecamp and don't just go to the sessions. The other thing I would say is pay attention to the speakers, don't just go by the title. The great panels are really good at sourcing (speakers). And if there's a speaker you want to meet, they will be there for a half-hour afterward. If you want to meet someone, go to the event and stay after. And just stay on Twitter. Denver Startup Week does an awesome job on Twitter. Just stay on the hashtag #DENStartupWeek . Anything the Rockies Venture Club and (executive director) Peter Adams is working on is a great event for angels.
Chuck Sullivan, Something Independent co-founder and event's maker- track co-chair:
Often, startup tends to immediately imply technology and Denver. We have such a diverse community of startup businesses that incorporate the maker/manufacturing mentality, whether it's the ski maker, the coffee roaster, the craft brewery. Those are all manufacturers. On Tuesday there is " Building the Active Lifestyle " panel at Ink Monster. A panelist is Guerrilla Gravity; they just won Chase's Mission Main Street grant for $100,000. On Wednesday, you have to choose between two at 2 p.m.: The IoT Startup Rockstars and Women Makers In The Sporting World . And Friday afternoon, at Basecamp is the startup farmer's market . There will be a collection of startup businesses from the craft food and beverage industry sharing and sampling what they are making.
Conor Swanson, product and business guy at LoHi Labs and event's developer & product track co-chair:
I would think a lot about the idea of my company or where I am, what resources I have in place, my strengths and what I could get out of going to Denver Startup Week to increase my odds of success. As a product developer, I would map out all the sessions to improve the state of my business. On the product side, there's how to I use data to influence how I built. The Quantitative Product Decisions is by a former product manager from Google Maps who is using data to develop products. Another cool session is Validate Your Startup for $20 a Day , which looks into how to test out an idea without investing anything. There are some really cool ways to test out an idea and get feedback in the market. If you're coming from more of a product developer background but lack the skills related to accounting or legal, the Founder track has a log of good information on how to set up your company correctly, intellectual property, trademark and fundraising. Try to talk to as many people as you can. Often times, the networking is the most powerful form of engagement you'll have through the course of the week. You never know who you're standing next to.
Rachel Scott, Quick Left vice president of marketing communications:
One event that is fun for everyone is the Selfie Stick Photo Booth . Drizly and Favor will be doing a free happy hour and a free taco bar delivered to your office if you tweet a fun photo. I'm a marketer in technology so I'm looking for ways to grow my business. There are a lot in the growth track — how to monetize apps , that's a good one. They are going to have speakers from Google and Techstars. For the networker, the TechCrunch Pitch-Off is going to be a lot of fun.
Lizelle Van Vuuren, Women Who Startup founder:
If you don't have time to attend during the day, I would definitely check out the Digital Health Challenge on Wednesday evening. The cool thing about it is it's all about our digital health-tech community.It should be highly, highly engaging to see a lot of health-tech startups pitching on Wednesday night (for $150,000). Health tech is rather new and it's a brilliant coalition between the healthcare community, hospitals, startup entrepreneurs and investors. As an organizer for the Women Who Startup Summit , I invite everyone to that. I have eight guest speakers giving lightening talks and answering this year's theme question: Why investing in women is smart. And here's a fun side tip: Almost every day last year at Basecamp, there were lunches served and starting around 3 p.m., they open for happy hour. So it really pays to hang out at Basecamp.
Jay Zeschin, Ello chief architect at Ello and event's developer and product track co-chair:
The awesome thing about the week is that there is an absolutely massive amount of content — more than 215 events. The downside is it's a little busy in terms of figuring out what you want to do or pay attention to. What I tell people is take areas that you're super interested in, whether your job function or things you want to learn about. Sit down and spend time with the schedule. At the same time, one of the really valuable thing people get out of the week is getting out of their comfort zone and learning something new that they're not familiar with. There will be a lot of people who have a lot of experience with entrepreneurship in general. It's really incredibly powerful to learn from some of the brightest minds for no cost. I'd also throw out building big technology in Denver, ProtectWise is really doing incredible things with network security. Two others on Thursday, in the morning there is the " I'm Female And Code Curious: Now What? " for women who are interested in software development but don't know what that looks like. And there's another session on software bootcamps and the evolving nature in tech education.
Ben Deda, event co-chair and Galvanize's vice president of marketing and business:
My quick list of the top five sessions you may not know about is the building client-success team from Zayo , which is one of the most successful local companies here. Anytime you can learn from the team from Zayo is an opportunity. another one near and dear to my heart is Entrepreneurial Veterans , which is at Basecamp on Tuesday. There's also Product Manager Bootcamp , which is one of the newer type of roles that has evolved in the last five years. You don't get training for that anywhere. It's on the job. Another one is Founder (expletive) Ups . One of the scariest things about startups is it's a lot like parenting. You're always thinking you're doing something wrong. But you're not alone. And probably the one you've heard about is the TechCrunch Pitch-Off on Thursday. It's the first time TechCrunch has held an event in Colorado. And if I was going to offer one tip, it's meet new people. This is what it's all about. Introduce yourself to someone on your left and right. It might be a great person for you to know in building your startup. Don't be shy.
Erik Mitisek, event co-chair and CEO Colorado Technology Association:
This will be the largest Denver Startup Week in the history of the program. Marcus Lemonis, from CNBC's "The Profit " will be there. On Tuesday, our Women Who Startup will have their biggest event ever to really try to put the voice out there of women leaders in Colorado. On Wednesday, there's a start-studded lineup at Basecamp. I'd recommend the Founders Dinner. Gusto's co-founder is a panelist. There's also the Digital Health Challenge . On Thursday there's a panel on exiting or going for the IPO with the best companies sold in the last 12 months. The evenings are focused on driving collaboration in the community. I'm not going to sleep for the next 10 days.
Tamara Chuang: 303-954-1209, [email protected] or @Gadgetress
Top 10 sessions, starting with most pre-registrations
• Startup Job Fair
• Kick-off breakfast
• Women Who Startup Summit
• TechCrunch Denver Meetup + Pitch Off
• Bootstrapping a Company from $0 to $1 Million/year in Revenue
• SEO, PPC and Social Media: The Trifecta of Digital Strategy, Take 2
• Becoming an Influencer
• Women Who Launch
• How to Write Killer Copy and Connect with Customers
• Structuring Equity Compensation for Founders and Employees
If you go: Denver Startup Week
When : Sept. 28 to Oct. 2, 2015
Where : Downtown Denver
Register :
Price: Free