Colorado calling: Why these 4 tech companies moved to the mountains

April Bohnert

Colorado is the seventh fastest-growing state in the country, with thousands of newcomers flooding in each month. But it’s not just people who are flocking to the Centennial State; it’s also businesses.

With a booming tech and startup community, Colorado has become an attractive home base for companies of every size. We talked to four transplant companies to see what brought them here and how they’re embracing the Colorado lifestyle.

 

Xero has offices and employees all around the globe, but recently the company has put a focus on expanding its presence in the Americas. They opened a customer experience office in the Tech Center in 2013, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that they decided to build a full-blown headquarters. Xero now employs more than 130 people in Denver, spanning a variety of roles from entry-level to executives. Andy Burner, Xero’s vice president of people and business operations for the Americas, shed some light on what drew this global fintech company to Colorado.

Why did the company choose to make Colorado home?

When we started looking at places around the U.S., we had to consider costs, time zones and compatibility. When we looked at Denver, we saw a beautiful city full of talent and potential, and it easily went to the top of our list. The business community has been so welcoming, and we are excited about the impact we can have here for small businesses, entrepreneurs and the Denver tech community.

How are you, as a company, embracing the Colorado lifestyle?

Not only do we want to help grow the local technology scene here, we also want to support the city’s small businesses. Xero’s vision is to help rewire the small business economy and for those of us living in Denver, we want to see local businesses thrive, by giving them the tools they need to build a successful company.

Xero’s ethos is to buy local, from small businesses wherever possible. We host lunch and breakfast for our teams and that produce comes from small businesses around Denver. We also give volunteer days to our teams to be able to take a day off work to help a good cause in our local community. This year we had teams help out at PC’s for the People as well as the Ronald McDonald House.

What has been the greatest benefit, so far, of moving your business here?

Denver has become the place to be. We are part of a growing community of tech companies that have stumbled on Denver as a fantastic place to build a company. Since expanding our U.S. operations in Denver, we continue to grow in one of our most competitive markets. We have been able to widen the search for great people to add to the talented team we have already and hire the most qualified candidates.

Wellness is a big part of our culture at Xero. Our people are able to get some balance in Denver. They can enjoy life outside of Xero with great opportunities for our young people, those of us who have families and need good schools for our children, and the more energetic of us who love to ski, hike or simply love to eat good food and drink good coffee or the odd craft beer. There is something in Denver for everyone!

 

Creators of the cloud-based content delivery grid, section.io moved its headquarters to Colorado from Sydney, Australia in February 2016 after making a number of HQ scouting trips to the U.S. As fate would have it, just as they were considering making the move to Colorado, they discovered Techstars Boulder and were accepted into the 2016 class. CEO and co-founder Stewart McGrath explained how section.io has made a home here in Colorado.

Why did the company choose to make the move to Colorado?

We knew we wanted to come to the U.S. due to the larger market size, funding opportunities, and sophistication in terms of understanding the content delivery industry. After looking at several tech hubs (including NYC and Silicon Valley), we settled on Colorado for several reasons, including the growing tech community and levels of support provided by that community; access to great talent, which we felt was the right fit for growing a business to last; the cost to start a business; and the general corporate culture, which was very aligned with our values.

How are you, as a company, embracing the Colorado lifestyle?

We are engaged in meetups, tech communities, have been speaking at Denver Startup Week and have been working with Colorado Tech Nucleus. On a social level, being based right off of Pearl Street we’ve loved exploring Boulder’s eateries and have even had some BBQs on our deck. Last September, we hiked Mount Bierstadt together — the first 14er for many of us — and plan to do another group trip later this summer.

What has been the greatest benefit, so far, of moving your business to Colorado?

The Boulder and Colorado communities have exceeded expectations in terms of how generous and welcoming everyone has been. We have found the Techstars “Give First” mentality extends to the whole community and have been lucky to find many local mentors and investors who have provided excellent advice as we continue to grow.

 

Fitbot builds software that helps personal trainers plan, deliver and track their clients' training online, making Colorado a perfect place to grow the business. When the company first launched, co-founders Robbie Jack and Casey Jenks were living in Mountain View, CA and Orlando, FL, respectively. The pair moved to Chicago last summer to participate in the Techstars program but decided to make Boulder their official home base in January of this year. Jack shared how the move has impacted the business.

Why did the company choose to make Colorado home?

We evaluated many potential locations (San Diego, Santa Cruz and Boulder). Ultimately Boulder won out, for many reasons, but primarily: the mountains, the open space and a world-class startup community.

How are you, as a company, embracing the Colorado lifestyle?

We see Colorado as the ideal environment for a fitness-focused tech startup. Again, there’s a rock-solid and growing startup community, a diverse pool of amazing talent, and easy access to almost every kind of sport you could imagine (short of surfing).

What has been the greatest benefit, so far, of moving your business here?

Living in this environment has rubbed off on me in a big way. I'm more active and healthy than I've ever been. I think that by embedding ourselves in such a positive and active fitness community, everyone will experience the benefits of nature, fitness, nutrition and the balanced lifestyle that Colorado has to offer. And, it puts us that much closer to our end users: coaches and their clients.

 

Though its headquarters remains in Sunnyvale, CA, BirdEye began building a presence in Denver in January 2016 to accommodate its rapidly expanding sales team. Since then, its DTC office has grown to nearly 40 people — and it doesn’t show signs of stopping. They quickly outgrew the original office and plan to relocate to a bigger space in mid-July. Ryan Galitz handles sales talent acquisition in Denver, and he explained why this Silicon Valley marketing tech company was eager to build a team in Colorado.

Why did the company choose to make Colorado home?

Above all, it was the strong tech talent in the area that brought us to Denver. We wanted to build a team of skilled, driven individuals around our head of sales, Dave DeMink, and first SMB director, Reggie Jammer. Denver is an innovation hub that has allowed us to continuously grow and thrive.

How are you, as a company, embracing the Colorado lifestyle?

We're absolutely loving it here. The people we've brought on board are not only passionate about their roles at BirdEye but also about the outdoors — whether it's snowboarding, sky diving, or sipping a cold one on the patio and enjoying the gorgeous views. Denver is full of life and adventure. The city has definitely lived up to its reputation of stellar talent and breathtaking scenery, and we're very excited to soak up the Colorado lifestyle as we continue to grow.

What has been the greatest benefit, so far, of moving your business here?

The incredible talent pool has been the greatest benefit by far. In Denver, we've found highly skilled, tech-savvy professionals who have brought enthusiasm, energy and brilliant ideas to the workplace. Our team continues to impress us, and we're looking forward to growing our local staff when we move to a much larger space soon.  


 

Photos via featured companies.

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