Google Partnership is Galvanize’s Latest Big Success in Debut Year

9/25/13Follow @MichaelXBD

It’s been a whirlwind month for the crew at Galvanize. Even more so than usual.

Galvanize, an incubator/co-working community in Denver, is not even a year old, but during that time it has become the focal point of Denver’s tech startup community. Just ask Google.

On Wednesday, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced it had selected Galvanize to be the home of the Denver outpost in its “tech hub network.” Denver is one of only seven cities in North America to make the cut.

It’s an impressive win for Colorado and for Galvanize.

“That Google is coming to Colorado, that’s a huge endorsement,” Galvanize co-founder and managing director Chris Onan said.

Google will support members of its tech hub network both financially and with technical support, the company said. Onan said that likely means hosting more outreach events that are part of the Google for Entrepreneurs program, but the exact nature of the programming is to be determined.

The partnership with Google is just the latest feather in Galvanize’s cap. Over the past month, it announced it plans to start two new locations, hosted several large Denver Startup Week events, and just before that it hosted the Denver stop of the Google for Entrepreneurs road show.

Onan believes the success of that event, which drew a few hundred people throughout the day, helped convince Google that Colorado is worth the investment of time, money, and attention.

“We had a great event here with Google for Entrepreneurs, and I think they saw the energy is off the hook, and they want to be a part of it,” Onan said. “The event showed them how great the tech scene is in Colorado, and we love that they’ll be here more often.”

Onan said Galvanize will be part of Google’s “interface” for Colorado tech startups. It also could work the other way. At the Google for Entrepreneurs event, more than a dozen Google employees were on hand. Some gave presentations about Google products like Google+ and Glass, but others sat down for face-to-face meetings with entrepreneurs.

It was a rare chance for companies that small to talk directly with Google product experts and be able to ask about products, and Onan said he hopes Google will build on that outreach.

Google actually has more than 250 employees based in Boulder and has taken over much of an old strip mall for office space, but it manages to keep a relatively low profile. The Boulder team has worked on a lot of geographical and map-focused applications, along with Google’s Drive and Now apps and the mobile payments platform.

The Boulder office has hosted, sponsored, and sent representatives to events, so the company’s presence is felt (especially when competing for potential hires), but, understandably, it is not as active in promoting the area as many local companies are.

That can’t be said for Galvanize, which looks like it will only grow in stature with two new incubators. Galvanize 2.0 will be a brand-new, four-story, 80,000-square-foot space in downtown Denver.

The new site is actually the first location Galvanize looked at before opening its facility in Denver’s Golden Triangle neighborhood, co-founder and CEO Jim Deters said, but the managers decided to open the incubator in an existing building before building a new one from the ground up.

The total price tag for the Galvanize 2.0 project is expected to be between $15 million and $18 million. Galvanize received the demolition permit last week and plans to have the building open and occupied next fall.

The other new incubator will be in downtown Boulder, about a block away from the Pearl Street Mall.

Michael Davidson is the editor of Xconomy Boulder/Denver. He covers startups, venture capital, clean tech, energy, aerospace, telecoms, and whatever else happens above 5,280 feet. Contact him at mdavidson@xconomy.com. Follow @MichaelXBD

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