One of the cool perks of being on the National Venture Capital Association board of directors is that I get to see lots of interesting data on the venture capital industry. The research staff, along with PriceWaterhouseCoopers are constantly looking at trends and data that provide unique and useful insights into the ecosystem and publish under the MoneyTree brand.
Today, however, I got wind of some new MoneyTree data that pulled at my heart strings unlike any data that I had seen before. In fact, I was all of astonished, proud, humbled and inspired. The news? In 2011, Colorado ranked 4th in the country behind California, Massachusetts and New York for seed/early stage dollars invested into startup companies in the state. The state has grown in leaps and bounds with 63 firms investing $290 million into 41 companies in 2011 compared to 2006 when 41 firms invested $89 million into 32 startups.
Wow. I knew that Colorado was kicking tail, but this was really amazing news. It backs up what I’ve been telling people for a long time: Colorado is a top five destination for VC investment and I think it’s only getting stronger.
So why is our nearly average populated state so decidedly above average when it comes to starting companies? It’s combination of many things (great universities, Techstars, lots of engineers, well educated people, great mentors and active community leaders), but one thing really stands out: our entrepreneurs.
I think Colorado is breeding and attracting a type of entrepreneur that is unique to venture investing. While driven, smart and motivated as all entrepreneurs are, the Colorado population seem to always be acutely aware of their local communities and always make sure to give back and pay forward to future generations of company starters. Its you folks, who are creating the amazing companies that investors are interested in. So much so that we are now the fourth most popular destination for early-stage investing.
So congratulations Colorado. Congratulations to all of the entrepreneurs who are creating great companies and great jobs while never forgetting about their communities. I’m proud to be a small part in your collective worlds.