“There was a lot of entrepreneurial activity and a lot of energy in Boulder before TechStars was here, but TechStars just happened to give it a focal point,” says Nicole Glaros, the managing director of TechStars’ Boulder operations.
TechStars and other business accelerators invest in startups and companies—in this case, those with tech and Internet-based business models—and guide them with mentors (who work on a volunteer basis) from the industry and investment. They build on the foundation the community has already established.
The active Boulder lifestyle draws in a vibrant tech-based economy and acts as a petri dish for fostering “lifestyles of health and sustainability,” biotech and natural foods industries. The diversity creates a dynamic network promoting innovation and success. However, Glaros says TechStars’ operation—facilitating the symbiotic relationship between entrepreneurs and the communities—makes the system work.
“It’s that mentality of servant leadership, the give before you get, the ‘let me do something to better the community, because bettering the community is going to better me,’” that Glaros says speaks directly to the entrepreneurial foundation that existed in the Boulder community prior to TechStars. This, she says, came in the form of open-minded leaders like Brad Feld, a TechStars founder.
The role of the entrepreneur is to help build the community, and in return, the community supports the entrepreneur. So there are two questions you need to ask: Where do you want to build your business and what do you want to do? That’s the biggest trick of the trade, Glaros says: Find out what you’re good at and what makes you happy—and go do it. That’s why the culture of Boulder meshes well with the culture of entrepreneurship. That’s how we roll. TechStars is here to give those in the Internet/technology field a helpful thumbs up and a bit of sage-like advice from folks who’ve been around the block enough to know what’s what.