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Article from ColoradoInno | After a fully virtual 2020 experience, Denver Startup Week will offer hybrid sessions this fall

See the full article here: https://www.bizjournals.com/denver/inno/stories/news/2021/05/17/denver-startup-week-returns-in-2021.html?utm_source=st&utm_medium=en&utm_campaign=inno&ana=e_n

By Nick Greenhalgh - Reporter/Colorado Inno editor

From startup office crawls, to pitch competitions and happy hours, Denver Startup Week has built its loyal audience over the last decade on the connections made at in-person events.

And, while 2020 was a detour from that programming, organizers are excited to invite people back to the community event this fall in a hybrid fashion.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Denver Startup Week was forced to abandon its in-person festivities in 2020, shifting quickly to a virtual format. The digital event garnered 10,000 registrants and opened the discussions to people around the state and around the world that may not have been able to attend in person.

Even after the event, those 231 virtual sessions have lived online and garnered more than 50,000 views since the start of the 2020 Denver Startup Week.

While the organizing group considered the 2020 event a success, Tami Door, president and CEO of Downtown Denver Partnership and startup week organizing chair, said she’s looking forward to seeing people back at in-person events this October.

“What we also learned that in spite of the digital experience being very strong, the magic of Denver Startup Week is bringing together all types of people in a face-to-face environment where they can build relationships, connect spontaneously and have organic conversations with each other,” she said.

Building on the lessons learned last year, Denver Startup Week will offer an array of in-person, virtual and hybrid events. Door said the combination of experiences will be based upon the topic, the audience and the availability of hosting space.

The benefit to this model is it allows for the spontaneous connection Door said startup week was built on while allowing people from across the world to get a taste of Denver.

She compared the virtual side to people getting an opportunity to “test drive” Denver Startup Week, which runs Oct. 4-8.

“As we look into the future, we will be able to leverage the digital platform that we’ve created to make Denver Startup Week even bigger and expand its audience even more,” she said.

And, with more preparation for the digital side of the event this year, organizing chair Erik Mitisek said the team is exploring additional options to enhance virtual connections.

“I think as we continue to architect Denver Startup Week, the more that we can educate and leverage the tools that we all have to connect, the more rich it will be,” he said.

In anticipation of the event, the Denver Startup Week Organizing Committee has opened its call for submissions for 2021, accepting proposals submitted through June 11.

And, in addition to the new hybrid format, Denver Startup Week announced that Amazon has joined as the title and HQ sponsor for the 2021 event.

Both Door and Mitisek agreed that Amazon’s presence will give extra juice to this year’s event and the team is excited to leverage the tech giant’s network.

“It further elevates Denver as an innovation hub globally and it also starts to bring in the world of the Amazon community outside of Denver into our event, which we’re excited to capitalize on,” Mitisek said.

After a year away from in-person events, Door is looking forward to seeing Colorado’s entrepreneurial ecosystem gather in Denver once again.

“At the core, the community part will absolutely be the essence of Denver Startup Week,” she said.

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