I moved to Boulder, CO in 2002 from SF. The dot-com era had come to a screeching halt and it was time for a change. I didn’t move to Boulder because of the vibrant startup community (there wasn’t one), and it wasn’t until 2006 that things started to build momentum. Looking back at that time and thinking about where we are as a community now is truly inspiring. So many people have contributed substantial time and energy to turn the Boulder/Denver tech community into the powerful hub it now.
I feel a deep sense of gratitude for our community. This is the environment in which I’ve been able to successfully build a company, become a professional investor, and work with (learn from) hundreds of amazing entrepreneurs and investors. Our tech community started with a few dozen people getting together for Open Coffees, Startup Weekends, and NewTech meetups, and it has now flourished to include hundreds (thousands!?) of contributors. Brad Feld even wrote a book about it, and this recent CrunchBase article is a quick sum-up of where we are today.
I’m proud of our community, we want to see others succeed! We ask “how can we help” when someone new comes to town and wants to plug in or is looking for capital. There is very little “What’s in it for me?” This is powerful and inclusive and I hope to see this continue as our community grows.
All of this brings me to today, where we now have the opportunity to put capital to work, investing in the next wave of innovative companies that call the Rocky Mountain region home. Our vision is to bring together founders, operators, and investors from across the Rockies (not just CO) to work together and take the next step in building community, connective tissue, and shared upside through this new fund.
I’m thrilled to share that alongside Cristina DeVito (Havenly & Collective Retreats), Judy Zhu (Moneygirls), and my partner at Massive, David Mandell (PivotDesk, OneRiot), we are kicking off a new seed fund focused squarely on the early success of great entrepreneurs and startups across this exciting region.
Started in NYC, The Fund was created to help fill a gap in early-stage capital access. A community of 75 local founders and operators who care deeply about supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs pooled their capital, networks, and expertise to help New York’s tech ecosystem grow. A first-of-its-kind, early-stage venture fund was created and fueled by community members who have built some of New York’s most iconic companies such as General Assembly, Casper, Warby Parker, Uber, Meetup, SoundCloud, ConsenSys, Summit, Handy, Plated, ClassPass, Red Antler, OneMedical, Stash and many more. The Fund invests in tech-enabled companies at the earliest stages: first check, pre-seed, and seed. We look for companies that are moving the world forward, care about people and our collective future, and who are driven by a deep sense of purpose to turn big ideas into tangible businesses. We believe that the best people to invest in startups are the people who’ve built them!
In just under 2 years, The Fund NYC has taken flight with 60 portfolio companies comprising some of the most exciting startups being built in NYC, including Supergreat, Headway, Cube, Particle Health, Dev, and Wagmo. It then also extended that success to Los Angeles and London. With the kickoff of The Fund, Rockies, we are truly on our way to creating a super-charged network of incredibly talented and experienced founders and operators who are now fueling the same ecosystem that gave them their success.
If you are a founder or operator in The Rockies and want to get involved, just reach out directly. Email me — ari at thefund.vc. Let's support the next generation of amazing Rockies companies together!