Boulder is pretty well known for its plethora of networking events–especially in the tech and startup space. There's the Boulder Denver New Tech Meetup (BDNT). Boulder Open Coffee Club (BOCC). Entrepreneurs Unplugged. Startup Women. They're all different but amazing groups that I enjoy deeply. You'd think with all these events we'd have it covered.
Enter Boulder Beta.
This new entry to the Boulder community was founded by Tim Falls, a recent CU MBA graduate who works at SendGrid to bring entrepreneurial community together in a less scheduled, more social environment and to bring the community and CU's campus closer. I admit–I was a little skeptical that Boulder needed yet. another. event. I decided to go because I was curious like a four legged animal with whiskers and a bunch of my friends were going to be there. So, I went.
I was wrong. This event is different. Boulder needs Boulder Beta.
What worked about Boulder Beta 1.0
- Massive turnout. Hundreds attended the inaugural event (I think I heard 350). It was great to meet so many cool new people who work in or are interested in the entreprenuerial community.
- Demos. I love having the opportunity to have a close-up demo of local companies AND the ability to talk with someone at the company–often a co-founder.
- Pop-in style event. The length (3 hours) and style (ongoing demos) of the event really worked well. At times it was so crowded you couldn't get in to see the demo but was able to get back to the ones I missed a little later in the night.
The only things that I didn't like was that it was tough to get a drink at times and it was so dark in there that I accidentally stepped on the Sphero (Orbotix's new product). Thankfully I didn't break it since a. It's a prototype and 2. I have no idea how much it would have cost.
Boulder Beta 1.0 Companies
All of the companies were super professional with great products. Many of them of were pretty early stage with a few in private beta. They include: BlipSnips, Deliverss, OneTrue Fan, swaglove, rainmaker, YapTime.Unfortunately I didn't get to spend quality time with all of the companies. Here are a few of my favs that demo'ed that night. It's a total coincidence that my favs each have TechStars graduates behind them. Or is it?
- Forkly – Brady Becker and Martin May are really intelligent, cool guys who are now two-time entrepreneurs. With Forkly they're creating a new application that's cool mash-up of taste and geo location that allows you to easily figure what to eat when you're out and able as this non-cook often is. Fingers crossed I get in on the beta.
- Occipital – A HUGE photography fan, I love what Vikas Reddy and Jeff Powers are up to with their cool real-time panorama creation app. Now if it were just available on Android or someone would give me an iPhone. My birthday is in June just in case you didn't know what to get "the girl who has everything but an iPhone."
- Orbotix – I was intrigued with Ian Berstein and Adam Wilson when I saw them go through TechStars. Orbotix's first product the Sphero (the one I stepped on), was the belle of the ball at the recent Consumer Electronic Show and for good reason. This ball is just plain fun. And as a closet gamer (not anymore!) I'm really looking forward to the product launch later this year.
- Torbit - Since I spend up to 12 hours a day online, having fast internet is paramount. Co-Founders Josh Fraser and Jon Fox were also tired of slow loading pages and created Torbit as a way to remedy this ever-growing problem.
Missed Boulder Beta 1.0? You can still check out the demo companies. If you want to experience it live, rumor has it there's going to be another one in April. If you'd like to present or attend at the next one, I'd suggest following them on The Twitters or checking out their Facebook page.
And next time…
Go to Boulder Beta. You need it.