Tech, Networking, and Beer: A Quick Guide for Denver Startup Week

Denver Startup Week is back, and organizers promise it will be bigger and better than ever.

The annual event, now in its third year, is a chance for Denver’s tech companies and entrepreneurs to connect, learn, build a community, and party while drinking lots and lots of Colorado-brewed craft beer. Denver Startup Week starts Monday and runs through Friday, Sept. 20.

Last year, about 5,500 people attended around 100 events, according to the Downtown Denver Partnership, which helps organize the week along with the Colorado Technology Association and Startup Colorado. More than 700 companies were involved in the event, they said.

This year, organizers project 7,000 people will attend about 140 events. The number of companies is still being tallied, and while Denver Startup Week has a heavy focus on technology companies, it offers tracks for design and manufacturing startups.

With that many events, it’s easy to get overloaded. Here’s a little bit about a few marquee events—click the links for details like scheduled speakers, location, and time. And of course check the schedule to register or see if an event has a waitlist or has been rescheduled, relocated, or cancelled.

When does it start? The whole shebang kicks off 8 a.m. Monday with a breakfast featuring a keynote speech from Dave McClure, founder of the 500 Startups seed fund and accelerator program.

McClure is one of the best known early stage startup investors in the U.S., and his speeches are big draws. That’s the case here—the event is already full, but there is a waitlist, and organizers will start admitting people from the list to fill the seats of no-shows.

Denver Startup WeekThree successful local entrepreneurs will share the stage with McClure. They are Zayo Group CEO Dan Caruso; Ibotta CEO Bryan Leach; and Wayin CEO Elaine Wood.

Caruso and Zayo Group are among Colorado’s biggest tech industry success stories. This summer, the Boulder-based telecom company filed plans with the SEC to go public.

Ibotta and Wayin also have had noteworthy years, with each company raising substantial VC rounds this spring.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock also is scheduled to speak.

The event is from 8 to 11 a.m. in the Denver Performing Arts Complex’s Seawell Grand Ballroom, 1101 13th St.

Where do I start? Like last year, organizers have set up the “Startup Basecamp” as a central hub for the event. The basecamp will be at 1515 Arapahoe St. In addition to being a place to grab coffee and learn more about what’s happening, there will be several events, including the daily “leadership spotlight series” and a happy hour in the evening. Check the schedule for more details.

What are some good events to help me build my business? A good place to start is the Denver Founders Network’s meeting Wednesday night. Leach and Wood are scheduled to be on hand, along with Cloud Elements co-founder and CEO Mark Geene. The entrepreneurs will talk in detail about their careers and launching their startups, as well as take questions from the crowd. It’s also the chance to mingle with other entrepreneurs. Plus, there’s free beer.

If you’re looking for help finding a lawyer, accountant, or human resources specialist, there’s the Startup Resource Fair on Thursday afternoon.

For more detailed help, there will be plenty of events throughout the week for curious entrepreneurs teaching how to build a brand, create a pitch deck for investors, find and retain talent, and much more.

There also are an abundance of workshops and panels about technical issues, like lean product development, building application programming interfaces (APIs), and DevOps.

But for those who want to “keep it real,” there are two events scheduled for Monday that might be worth checking out: “The 5 Fastest Ways to Sink Your Startup” and “Sifting Through the BS: Advice That Really Matters When You’re in the Trenches of Building a Business.”

How do I find a job? Well, there are two events that are prime chances to see who’s hiring.

The Startup Job Fair is Thursday evening at the basecamp. It’s a one-stop shop to see which of Denver’s startups and tech companies have openings.

But if you want a more casual chance to network, learn a bit about a company’s culture, and just gawk at some cool offices, check out the Startup Crawl on Wednesday. Fourteen startups are opening their doors, and others will have tables at the basecamp.

Where can I go to unwind? With all that’s going on, it’s easy to get overstimulated or overwhelmed, so it’s nice to wind down with a beer and some relaxing conversation.

Several events will provide plenty of that. On Monday, there’s the “Opening Bash” at Denver’s newly restored Union Station. Then on Friday, Denver Startup Week will wrap up with a closing party at Galvanize.

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