Boomtown accelerator opens first location outside Colorado

BOULDER — Boomtown, a local accelerator, announced its first geographic expansion, with plans to open an Atlanta branch later this year.

The accelerator is partnering with Comcast to open a space in the telecom company’s regional headquarters.

The expansion comes after years of partnership Boomtown has had with Comcast, said Boomtown co-director Toby Krout in an interview with BizWest.

“We started engaging with Comcast back in 2015,” Krout said. “They partnered with us to have a connected devices hardware prototype lab in our Boulder office. Then we continued conversations. Atlanta is an up-and-coming city with ingredients to be a big player in the entrepreneurial system. So when they were looking to do something in their new headquarters building, they selected us to work with them.”

Krout said the location will be open in the fourth quarter this year. Its first cohort will start in the first quarter of 2018, and they will begin taking applications for that class this summer.

Krout said Boomtown takes a different approach from some other accelerators, focusing on startups that are still in early stages, rather than those that might already be seeing some success.

“We don’t look for the same startups other accelerators look for,” he said. “Most want to find startups that are far along and already have revenue and lower risk. But the irony is those are the types of startups that need accelerators the least. We’re looking at a pool of startups that are much earlier on, because we bring more value to startups the earlier they are.”

He added that Boomtown very much focuses on the founders, looking for people that are open-minded, honest and might have a secret advantage to the problem they’re looking to solve, or have an idea in which Boomtown is particularly interested.

What is more, Krout said Boomtown’s model is less focused on getting startups that are gaining capital or investment.

“Most accelerators measure how much their startups raise,” he said. “We focus on getting our company to create value for their customers. We’re very interested in them getting customers and having a profitable business model.”

When it came to selecting Atlanta, Krout said Boomtown was looking for a place where it could have impact.

“We don’t believe it’s easy to scale entrepreneurship,” he said. “We don’t have a strategy to deploy Boomtown all over the planet. We want to build a community where there is already an existing foundation where we could come in and help amplify that. We looked all over, and in Atlanta, all the pieces came together. We wanted a place where we could do a project to help the community.”

In addition to prepping for Atlanta and its first Southeast cohort, Krout said Boomtown would graduate its current cohort May 19, with a demo day as the final event for Boulder Startup Week.