13 tech transplants explain why everyone’s moving to Colorado

by Anthony Sodd
January 12, 2016

A couple of weeks ago we set out to try to understand why Colorado is such an incredibly popular place for tech companies. We caught up with a couple of companies that had moved to the state or recently opened offices here. As it turned out, one of the most common responses was simply that the companies had come because of the people. So, we decided to venture further down the rabbit hole and ask some people why they moved to Colorado. Here’s what they had to say:

 

Tarah Speck, Digital Marketing Manager

Where did you live before moving to Colorado? My husband and I lived in Washington, DC before Colorado and moved here in 2012.

Why did you choose Colorado? We were burned out from the hustle and bustle of DC and desperately sought a change, professionally and personally. We've always loved the mountains, so we made the decision to go live near them. We packed up our car with no jobs and headed westward. We never looked back.

How do you like it so far? The culture in Colorado is unmatched to anywhere else I've lived. It's a work hard, play hard mentality filled with warm and open people ready for adventure and full of great ideas, creativity, and ambition. It's no surprise the tech startup world in Boulder called to me. But on a personal level, the mountains in my backyard are sacred to me. From backpacking, hiking, and biking in summer, to skiing and snowshoeing in winter, I could never leave now. The mountains have ruined me forever.

 

 Sean Cunningham, Franchise Account Manager

Where did you live before coming to Colorado? I lived in Atlanta, GA for 13 years before coming out to Colorado.

When did you move to Colorado? I moved to Denver in April of 2014.

What brought you to Colorado? I was getting relocated for my previous job and had a few options to choose from. I chose Colorado because I have lived in the Northeast, South, and Midwest but have never really been out West. More importantly, when I was doing my research on the places I could move to, I read and heard only good things about Colorado. The city is vibrant, active, and everyone is extremely friendly. Denver is also one of the top 3 most booming cities, so you know the city is continuously growing and has a ton of potential and opportunity for us to grow as individuals. 

Where else where you considering? I was also considering Seattle, San Francisco, and New Orleans. (those were the other cities I could relocate to). After doing my due diligence on each city, Denver was the clear choice. 

How has it been working out? I love it here! There is always something to do and the city is filled with young professionals who all have the 'work hard, play hard' mentality. Moving here, not knowing anyone was difficult in the beginning, but that quickly changed because everyone is so inviting and friendly.

 

Related: Best Startups to Work for in Colorado

 

Angi Harp, Major Account Executive

Where did you live before moving to Colorado? I moved to Colorado from Austin, in December of 2005. Prior to Austin I lived in Napa Valley, Newport Beach, and San Francisco, CA — so mountains and snow were a very new experience for me!

Why did you choose Colorado? My spouse, who is also in sales, was offered a promotion to move to Denver and manage a multi-state territory. Neither of us had ever spent any time in Denver but we were game to give it a try for a few years.

How do you like it so far? 10 years later I couldn't imagine living, working and raising a family anywhere but Colorado. My spouse and I have both turned down promotions and job offers that required moving away from Colorado. My kids are huge Broncos fans and at ages 7 and 10 ski better than I ever will — and they love it!

 

Grace Boyle, Director of Customer Success

Where did you live before coming to Colorado? I last lived in Burlington, VT.

When did you make the move? In 2008.

Why did you choose Colorado? I figured after graduating college and traveling a bit that I could live anywhere and choose a great location. I grew up camping and skiing/snowboarding in Colorado with my family and although I had never been to Boulder, I had a good feeling about it. I picked it on a whim and I moved here without a place to live and with no job. I haven't looked back since (oh, I'm also employed).

How do you like it so far? Almost seven years later, I still love it. Since 2008 I have been part of two technology startups (the first went through acquisition, before I moved to Kapost) and I particularly love the startup community here. It has been nothing short of welcoming and I love all the exploring and adventuring you can do in Colorado. You can probably find me hiking, snowboarding, biking, fly fishing, brewery hopping, seeing shows at Red Rocks, getting out to the mountains with my boyfriend and our dogs, and more in this great state!

 

Lauren Shapiro, Franchise Account Manager

Where did you live before moving to Colorado? New York City

When did you move? January 2015, exactly one year ago!

Why did you choose Colorado? I needed a change. I couldn't handle the overwhelming, constant motion of New York City anymore. I was looking for a place that was more peaceful, affordable, and had a higher quality of life. Colorado had all of those things, plus it is surrounded by the natural beauty of the mountains. With so many opportunities to explore the outdoors it was a huge win!

Where else were you considering? Nowhere really. I came to CO, fell in love, went back to NYC, told my boyfriend we were moving, and 6 months later we were here!

How do you like it so far? I absolutely LOVE it!

 

Aaron

Why did you move to Colorado? Long before we got married, my girlfriend and I were navigating a long-distance relationship while she went to grad school in Denver and I was living in Manhattan, KS. I got pretty tired of the interminable drive on I-70 every few weeks, so I followed her out here. I was pretty anxious about it at the time. I thought I may have really limited my options in kicking off a career in machine learning. But, it turns out Denver has a top-caliber startup scene where every cool problem in technology today is being tackled. With no shortage of luck I found AlchemyAPI which was, literally, the best company in the world for me at the time. We love it in Denver, we got a house here, and now it's hard to imagine ever leaving.

 

 

Blake Thorne, Head of Content

Where did you live before moving to Colorado? Michigan

When did you move? November 2015

Why did you choose Colorado? I'd worked remotely in Michigan before joining StatusPage.io in Denver. I got connected with the founders here through a mutual friend. I visited a few times and decided to give it a shot.

Where else were you considering? There were some opportunities on the table in New York City and San Francisco. Both exciting cities, but somehow they seemed like places you "survive" (and complain about) rather than enjoy life. I love how active and outgoing Denver is. People seem genuinely excited about being here.

How do you like it so far? It's incredible. It's pretty hard not to fit in in Denver. Go to any bar or restaurant after work and you'll see people in business suits and workout clothes. It's an incredibly active and outgoing city.

 

Bryan Lennon, Senior Vice President Financial Advisor

Where did you live before moving to Colorado? Washington, DC. Before that, New York City

When did you move? August of 2013

Why did you choose Colorado? My wife and I were skiing in Steamboat Springs in January of 2012, when it randomly dumped two feet of snow in less than 24 hours. Between runs we kept talking about how amazing it would be to be able to do this every weekend. Over the next year, these conversations became more and more frequent, ultimately leading to another Colorado trip, but this time during the summer. After returning (the summers here are arguably better than the winters) it was overwhelmingly clear that we would be moving to Colorado, it was only a matter of when.

Where else where you considering? Nowhere else, it was Colorado or nothing. We wanted to live in a place that allowed us to engage in the activities we loved, but didn’t force us to sacrifice our careers. In this regard, Colorado was a perfect match.

How do you like it so far? We love living here. Moving to Colorado was one of the best decisions we ever made. So many times I’ll be chatting with a friend back East about Colorado and they will say something along the lines of “I wish I could do that.” My response to them is always the same – “You can!”

 

Doug Brandl, Restaurant Development

Where did you live before moving to Colorado? Manhattan Beach CA.

When did you move? September, several years ago.

Why did you choose Colorado? I grew up in the Midwest (Wisconsin, and then Chicago), and I missed the Midwestern people when I lived in Southern California. Spending time in California taught me that I could have over 300 days of sunshine and I liked that. I was hoping to find a place that was midwestern-ish but sunny… Bam, Denver it was. No bugs, no humidity, and over 300 days of sunshine!

Where else where you considering? Chicago, Seattle and Boise, ID.

How do you like it so far? I love Colorado. Denver is a fantastic, growing city and the mountain towns are only an hour away. I hope I get to spend the majority of my remaining time here.

 

 

Duane Bailey, Software Engineer

Where did you live before moving to CO? Philadelphia

When did you move? July 2015

Why did you choose CO? The outdoors! Denver is under an hour from some of the best hiking, skiing, camping, and views in the world. I see live music on weeknights, festivals and the outdoors on weekends. Furthermore, it seems like a place that people want to be, not a place you have to be to pursue your career. It doesn't feel like a choice here—I can have my cake and eat it too!

Where else were you considering? Seattle, Portland, Atlanta and Los Angeles.

How do you like it so far? I couldn't have asked for a better place to land. The people are friendly, Denver is booming, and I feel at home.

 

 

Jason Fox, Marketing Content Coordinator

Why did you move to Colorado? When I was eleven years old, my mom and I loaded up our car with our belongings and our dog and left San Francisco heading for Tampa, where my grandfather was living. It was the summertime, and our car broke down outside of Golden. We sat on the hood and watched our first Colorado sunset while waving traffic past. We never left! 

 

Charlotte Whitmore, Operations Assistant

Where did you live before moving to Colorado? I lived in my hometown of San Francisco.

When did you move? January of 2015

Why did you choose Colorado? You may have heard something about the housing/rent crisis in San Francisco… well, it's real! I was getting ready to take my life and career to the next level, and I figured living in a city where I wouldn't be spending more than half my salary on rent would be a smart move. When my boyfriend's company relocated to Denver, the wheels started turning. After a few months of visiting and talking to some very helpful folks in the tech industry out here, I decided I was ready to take the plunge.

Where else were you considering? Other than vague notions of Southern California, I really didn't look anywhere else! I'm precluded from living on the East Coast because I can't take the summer humidity— here in Colorado I get just enough snow, the changing of the leaves, and a few months of being able to wear shorts comfortably (without dripping sweat 24/7!). And of course, it helps that California is only a 2-hour flight away.

How do you like it so far? I love it! I've met so many great people, and while this is my first time being an official "transplant," that just means I have more to discover! I'm not a particularly outdoorsy person, but I can't deny that the mountains are pretty damn majestic, and the sunsets here are a strong contender against anything I've seen back home.

 

Chris Driscol, Software Engineer

Where did you live before moving to Colorado? I grew up and went to college in Iowa then moved to Minnesota for 5 years before ending up in Colorado.

When did you move? I moved to Colorado in late summer of 2013.

Why did you choose Colorado? I picked Colorado based on a few things. Primarily, I was looking for an area with a lot of opportunity in software engineering jobs. I also got into racing mountain bikes competitively in Minnesota, and thought Colorado might have a lot to offer (it does).

Where else where you considering? I was strongly considering moving to the ‘The Research Triangle’ in North Carolina. My other less favorable considerations were: Chicago, Austin, and San Francisco.

How do you like it so far? I absolutely love Colorado so far. As someone who loves software and the outdoors, I can’t think of anywhere else I would rather be.

 

Related: Best Startups to Work for in Colorado

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