Boulder #1, Denver near top in U.S. for tech startups

With Boulder easily leading the way, Colorado cities filled four of the top 10 spots in a national study on what cities have the heaviest tech startup activity.

Boulder topped the rankings contained in a sneak peak of a report published Wednesday by New Engine and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

The Fort Collins-Loveland metro area ranked second.

The Denver-Aurora-Broomfield area — not including Boulder County — tied with fourth-place Cambridge, Mass., Seattle and San Francisco in startup density behind third-place Silicon Valley communities San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara.

And rounding out the Front Range findings was Colorado Springs in the ninth spot ahead of 10th-ranked Cheyenne, Wyo.

The study, based on U.S. Census Bureau business dynamics data, rated an area for the concentration of tech startups less than five years old relative to the concentration of such businesses nationwide.

A high-tech startup was considered to be one with high numbers of people in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

Boulder’s tech startup concentration came in at 6.3 times higher than the U.S. average, while second-ranked Fort Collins-Loveland has three times the tech startup density.

“In the case of Boulder, a startup community whose evolution I’ve observed and participated in closely over the past many years, the cultural and economic transformation has been extraordinary,” said Brad Feld, a Foundry Group venture capitalist and Boulderite who wrote the book “Startup Communities” in 2012.

“While there isn’t one, definitive blueprint to building a technology industry, this research can hopefully inspire communities and policymakers to work together to ensure that the spread of high-tech entrepreneurship isn’t just a trend, but a long-term phenomenon,” Feld said.

Feld has worked with the Kansas City, Mo.-based Kauffman Foundation on the Startup America Partnership, a program to encourage entrepreneurship that’s connected to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Greg Avery covers tech, telecom, aerospace and bioscience for the Denver Business Journal and writes for the “Boosters, Bits & Bioscience” blog. Phone: 303-803-9222.