4 Colorado cities make startup density top 10

April 20, 2015

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Cities along the Front Range boast some of the highest densities of tech startups in the country. Boulder, Fort Collins, Denver and Colorado Springs all rank in the top 10 according to a new report.

Unsurprisingly, Boulder tops that list, followed by the Fort Collins-Loveland area. 

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Denver comes in at number 6, just ahead of San Francisco and Washington D.C., while Colorado Springs takes the number 9 spot.

The new report from CBRE, a commercial real estate services company, looks at Colorado’s geography of high-tech startups. From a regional standpoint, Denver continues to act as a hub for mature high-tech companies. Recently the city has also seen a large increase in startup activity and VC funding. In addition to downtown Denver, many startups are moving into office spaces in the RiverNorth, Golden Triangle and Broadway South neighborhoods. The report cites Denver’s relatively low cost of living (as compared to the coasts), and its newly (nearly) complete mass transit system as reasons for growth.

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Boulder, which has been the traditional tech startup hub of Colorado, continues to hold that position today. In fact, proximity to Boulder is so valuable that secondary tech bubbles are developing in places like Broomfield, Louisville and Westminster. This growth appears to be largely driven by companies who value proximity to Boulder, but need a larger office space than Boulder can offer at an affordable price.

To the north, Colorado State University is helping plant new and diverse software, biotech and energy startups in Fort Collins. Meanwhile, Colorado Springs continues to attract larger high-tech firms focusing on aerospace and defense.

 

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Colorado is also an attractive place for out of state tech talent to relocate to. The top states for people to migrate from are California, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.

There is also a large pool of highly educated talent already on the ground, and the cost of living is low. So is the cost of office space. Denver’s office space is going for about 63 percent less per square foot than San Francisco’s.

Of course, Colorado’s advantage as a lower-cost, high-value destination might be stifled by its growth. Denver has been experiencing an explosion in real estate prices, with 2014 seeing a year-over-year increase of 8.1 percent. That was the largest increase in the United States outside of San Francisco and Miami. That said, real estate prices here have a long way to go before they reach the stratospheric levels of coastal startup hubs, and there’s a whole lot of Front Range left to develop.

All in all, the report offers a pretty rosy picture.  If you’d like to read it in its entirety, you can find it here.

 

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