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Spotlight

#DENStartupWeek Reaches Further Than Ever Before

Some might say it was the ease of access and virtual format. Others might say it was the super-cool new look of the website. But we know that the world-class speakers, incredible range of sessions submitted by our community, and support of our sponsors made Denver Startup Week a wild success. This year, Denver Startup Week reached all the way around the world, and our 23,000+ YouTube views and more than 18,000 Zoom attendees mean that DENVER STARTUP WEEK 2020 REACHED FURTHER THAN EVER BEFORE!


As we welcome entrepreneurs from near and far to our growing community, DSW stays committed to being an event by the community, for the community. As the largest free entrepreneurial event of its kind, Denver Startup Week hustles to:


  • Unite the Denver entrepreneurial community and beyond
  • Connect Denver to a global network of like-minded entrepreneurs and businesses
  • Learn from one another, and industry leaders, completely and always free
  • Celebrate the impact of great companies, innovation, ideas, and people

DSW’s network of innovators is building an inclusive, connected, empowered, and diverse entrepreneurship ecosystem, and strives to make all of our sessions a space where attendees can connect, learn, and grow — regardless of gender identity, gender expression, race, ability, sexual orientation, and the combination of those identities.


We pivoted for 2020, and moved online to empower entrepreneurs to charge ahead as we build communities and support successful businesses moving forward. This year, our session submissions reflected the need for a transformed event. We heard you loud and clear – startups and businesses are strengthened through a deliberate focus on developing strong cultures & teams – especially in the face of disruption caused by the pandemic and economic uncertainty.


With that top of mind, along with the health and safety of our community as our #1 priority, DSW was the most accessible it’s ever been. We enabled participants to watch from anywhere, network remotely, and engage with other like-minded people in a variety of virtual sessions and platforms, all delivered directly to attendees’ devices. This year, DSW hosted the fifth annual Pitch Competition, an expanded virtual Job Fair and Showcase, 1:1 Mentorship Sessions, Daily Happy Hours & Networking Opportunities, Daily Workout Classes, the Annual Puppy Panel, and much more.


Along with creating access like never before, #DENStartupWeek 2020 got a new look. All DSW sessions streamed through Zoom, YouTube, and directly to the DSW schedule; and you can now enjoy DSW all year long -  sessions and events were recorded and are on our YouTube page.


As we took the magic of DSW digital, accessibility, equality, and inclusivity continued to remain a top priority for Denver Startup Week. This year, we partnered with ACS Captions and LinguaBee for their expertise and guidance to serve participants who are hard of hearing, deaf, visually-impaired, blind, and/or bilingual. For a complete list of sessions that offer ASL translation & Closed Captioning, please click here.


Our Organizing Committee also knew we needed to make some large strides forward when it came to our efforts for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). This started our Organizing Committee down a fresh path with renewed passion for DEI – removing the topic as a ‘cluster’, and infusing these core values into every aspect of our event.


DSW was honored to feature Robert F. Smith, CEO of VistaEquity as DSW’s first Black Kickoff Keynote Speaker. We are also proud to say that DSW 2020 attendance broke down to: 52% women, 42% men, and 6% other/decline to say, continuing our trend of making the entrepreneurial space welcoming to all.


The new format enabled us to level up and diversify our lineup of content. In addition to Robert Smith, we were honored to feature some of the best speakers DSW has ever seen including:


  • Arlan Hamilton, Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital, sponsored by Kenzan
  • Jennifer Fleiss, Founder of Rent the Runway and Jetblack, sponsored by Xero
  • Jesse Itzler, Serial Entrepreneur & Rapper, sponsored by Prologis
  • Katica Roy, 2020 Colorado Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Brad Feld, Venture Capitalist and the Foundry Group, Author
  • Imran Khan, Founder and CEO of Verishop
  • Ben Higgins, Entrepreneur and star of ‘The Bachelor’
  • Dick Costolo, Previous CEO of Twitter
  • Nicole Glaros,. Chief Investment Strategy Officer, TechstarsMentorship

Denver Startup Week would not be possible without our incredible Sponsors. 


The generous support of our partners and sponsors enable this world-class event – making it available to all, and now a truly global audience. Here is a look at this year’s incredible group of Denver Startup Week 2020 Sponsors.


In addition to our Sponsors, bringing Denver Startup Week to life takes the support, skills, and drive of an entire community: entrepreneurs, investors, civic leaders, educators, business pioneers, and more. We’d like to give a huge thanks to our:


  • Platform Partners – In 2020, a multitude of platforms brought DSW to life. Thank you to Remo and Streamyard for partnering to make virtual engagement possible.
  • Production Partners – To stream 10 channels of live content, we had extraordinary support from our Production Partners including: The Public Works, Livealittle, Pink Monkey Studio, and Fireside Productions.
  • Volunteers – Thank you to our small and mighty team of volunteers. From Zoom settings, to helping prepare presenters, to grabbing highlights for the Week, Denver Startup Week would not be possible without our incredible volunteers!
  • Organizers & Speakers – Session organizers craft impactful sessions and the speakers share their knowledge – all for free, all for the benefit of the community.
  • The DSW “Do-ers” – From the Pitch Challenge judges to our incredible mentors, these folks are involved in a myriad of ways that help make the week unforgettable.
  • Control Center HQ – The Commons on Champa was an incredible host and headquarters for the team putting on this year’s virtual event.

And most of all – THANK YOU, our resilient and adaptable DSW community, for helping us share Denver Startup Week with the world. DSW 2021 will be here faster than you can say #DENStartupWeek, and we can’t wait to see you next year!


Take a look at #DENStartupWeek 2020 By the Numbers:

  • 231 free sessions, events, and happy hours, job fairs, workout classes, and celebrations
  • 10,000+ registered attendees
  • 18,000+ Zoom meeting participants
  • 23,000+ views on YouTube Live
  • 49 U.S. states represented
  • 35 countries represented
  • 52% of attendees were women, 42% were men, and 6% were other/decline to say
  • 341, 000 distinct page views on the DSW website

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