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Why I joined Drive Capital

Ecosystems need resources

Systems, especially complex systems (the most complex of which are organizations with people, such as startups and ecosystems) will never operate in perpetuity. Rather, systems need constant input of energy to maintain their momentum. Startups and startup ecosystems get their energy from people; individuals who push forward every day to enhance, improve, or simply sustain their environment. Energy comes in many forms: time, focus, effort, and grit in those hours, but also, very importantly, financial resources. Investing in technology startups, especially at the earliest stages, is critical to fostering the next generation of market-defining companies.

Anyone and everyone can and should contribute

I moved to Boulder over a decade ago for similar reasons to many others: to go to CU (I was pursuing my PhD in ceramic engineering at the time, that changed a lot) and ski great mountains. I recall being torn about moving to a city that felt so established, so figured out, I was concerned I would not be able to make an impact in my community. I was coming from the truly tiny (2,000 students) Alfred University, and then the very much up-and-coming Knoxville, TN both of which felt easy to make an impact. If you wanted to do something new, the attitude was, “Sure, grab a shovel and start building!” 


This past ability to start building on a blank canvas was a juxtaposition to CU and Boulder startup ecosystem as a whole. Both felt like huge, established organizations and systems, where it would be easier to go with the flow, in the shadow of others, than to create something new. I was wrong

After quickly becoming a leader within CU Mechanical Engineering, and then the wider University, I discovered big organizations constantly need hand-raisers and doers. Folks to pick up the torch, support our students, and ensure progress continues.  The same was found in the greater startup ecosystem. Coming out of leaving my startup last year, I found organizing Boulder Startup Week to be a great outlet for my energy. Again I found that although amazing folks had built systems, processes, communities, and companies in the past here in Colorado and beyond, the future of these is never guaranteed.  This ecosystem constantly needs hand-raisers, builders, creators, and connectors to keep Boulder and the Front Range as awesome as it has ever been.


Boulder Thesis 2.0

The anywhere-but-the-bay methodology to building great companies was literally named the Boulder Thesis.  It is undeniable that the namesake ecosystem is at a junction. Boulder and the Front Range is maturing. Those who built this ecosystem into what it is today are focused on new interests, decreasing footprints and fund activity, and generally changing. But change is constant, good, and not cause for alarm. 

The fundamental drivers of our ecosystem are still here: incredibly intelligent individuals working on incredibly important problems. These people are in the universities and national labs, offices and coffee shops, and occasionally on the trails and in the mountains figuring out how to make big businesses that improve lives. The fundamental tenants are still here too. We are still giving first, staying open to new ideas, and leading by example. 

The Front Range is a flywheel of innovation, but flywheels do not spin forever without input. With the people and values still here, we simply need to make sure everyone knows where they can input their energy to keep this ecosystem going. 


I’m eager to point you in the right direction to build or join the next great company, and assist you in fulfilling your own unique purpose. I’ve been blown away by how many times Give First leaves an invisible string that will serve future-you better than you can imagine. I hope you continue to practice it as well.  And if you are of the company-building mindset, I would love to talk to you. Drive has been committed to building greatness in your backyard for over a decade and is the perfect pillar to keep Boulder and the Front Range as great as ever. You bring the ideas, we can bring the fuel. Let’s get to work.

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