The fund, launched Wednesday, July 24, will be used to host events, speakers, seminars and competitions to help spur business startup activity, according to a press statement. Money will be used to make grants across Colorado, focusing on creating “connective fabric” between the Front Range cities of Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, according to the press statement.
Brad Feld, a managing director at Foundry Group in Boulder; Jim Franklin, chief executive of SendGrid Inc. in Boulder; Ryan Martens, CEO of Rally Software Development Corp. in Boulder; Libby Cook, founder of Sunflower Markets, which started in Boulder and is now based in Phoenix; and Dan Caruso, a co-founder of Zayo Group LLC in Boulder, all have donated to the new fund.
The fund is part of Startup Colorado, a community-led program that brings entrepreneurs together to support entrepreneur activities across the state. Startup Colorado started in November 2011 and does not have a physical address, said Ben Abell, the group’s executive director. Abell works at an office at the University of Colorado Law School because of an affiliation with the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship in Boulder, he said in an email. Startup Colorado is a state chapter of the Startup America Partnership LLC, which also is supported by Feld.
People involved in the fund hope to make many small grants, “to mobilize the energy and ideas in our community, to build better startups, faster,” Feld said in the press statement.
The new fund will be used as an entrepreneurial approach to problem-solving, Phil Weiser, dean of the CU law school and executive director of the Silicon Flatirons Center, said in the press statement.
“We are trying something new, with the ambition of supporting sustainable programs with lasting impact,” Weiser said. “A core strength of Colorado’s entrepreneurial community is our commitment to help another; this effort flows from and aims to bolster that spirit, making it easier for entrepreneurs to collaborate.”
Startup Colorado wants community leaders across the state to submit grant proposals to the fund. The first grant committee meeting is slated for August to issue the first grants from the fund. To apply, visit www.StartupCommunityFund.com.