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My Denver Startup Week Experience

I want to start off by saying that it has been a while since I’ve had to type/write outside of business purposes, so please bear with me as I “dip the pen."

My time in Denver with the Ambassadors Program was wonderful. I was pleasantly surprised at how diverse the group of entrepreneurs was, especially being one of the younger Ambassadors. It was great to pick the minds of folks on a similar path with a little more life experience. I flew in the morning of the first day and we got right to business.

After setting our bags down at the Hilton hotel, we started our day with a visit to Catalyst Coworking. Mike Biselli lead the discussion, explaining the environment that Catalyst fosters for companies passionate about reimagining healthcare. His energy and general enthusiasm were perfect to kick off the program. From there we went to Pie Insurance, a vibrant startup that after giving us the rundown of their operations, broke us into groups depending on our field of interest, to help Pie come up with potential solutions they could explore in the future. We finished the day off with a VIP Toast, a gathering of the Denver Startup Week (DSW) Organizing Team and Ambassadors at what felt like the center/mecca of the DSW program.

Day two was by far my favorite. For one it was my birthday, so things were already looking up. We started at Evolve, a hospitality/Vacation rental startup. We were able to discuss their current trajectory and how they could make the user experience better since they heavily focus on the host experience. I’m excited to see what they do in the coming years as the growth potential seems ripe for the taking. We then went to Guild, a service that makes education easily accessible to members of the workforce in which Guild is partnered with. I’m excited to witness the impact Guild can have in the greater community.

We then had a window of time to visit other seminars going on in Denver. There were topics ranging from emotional IQ to The Beauty of Building a Second Career hosted by Lindsay Vonn. You had the opportunity to attend these sessions, relax, or get work done.

For dinner later that evening, Polsinelli, a law firm with a focus on venture capital was generous enough to host members of the Ambassador Program as well as selected guests from the companies that we were fortunate to visit during the duration of the program. As if the 5-star meals and cocktails weren’t enough, we were treated to a beautiful sunset of the Denver skyline, creating the perfect environment to network. We closed the program the following morning with Ibotta, an app where you can earn cash back on purchases from a plethora of retailers. They had a panel of employees answer all of our pressing questions.

Overall for a 2-day program, I thought there was a healthy and refreshing balance of visiting startups built organically in Denver and planned downtime to immerse yourself in all Denver/Denver Startup Week had to offer. The program created an abundance of opportunities for the companies we visited to find talent/sell Denver (really did not need much effort in this regard haha) as well as for Ambassadors to build their network, make connections, and vet potential job opportunities. Outside of the camaraderie between the Ambassadors, what I liked most about the experience was how these startups were genuinely seeking input from us on how to make their company/product better. It made the visits more interactive than simply hearing the hosts talk about themselves. I personally want to thank Catalyst Coworking, Pie Insurance, Guild, Polsinelli, and Ibotta for hosting us, Southwest Airlines for providing transportation to Denver and the Ambassador Program organizing team of Conor Swanson, Emily Tucker, Cory Williams, and Lacey Hyde for making all of this possible. Wish you all the best in your future endeavors.