Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City

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9781480564473: Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City

“Startup communities” are popping up everywhere, from cities all over the United States like Boulder, Boston, New York, Seattle, and Omaha to countries like Iceland. These entrepreneurial ecosystems are driving innovation, new business creation, and job growth. Startup Communities documents the strategy, dynamics, tactics, and long-term perspective required for building communities of entrepreneurs who can feed off of each other’s talent, creativity, and support. So if you think Silicon Valley is the only place to start your next venture, think again. These days, great business ideas can come from anywhere, and this audiobook is the smart wake-up call you’ve been waiting for.

Based on more than twenty years of Boulder-based entrepreneur-turned-venture-capitalist Brad Feld’s experience, as well as contributions from entrepreneurs in Boulder and other innovative startup communities — this reliable resource skillfully explores what it takes to create a startup community in any city, at any time. With this audiobook as your guide, you’ll gain valuable insights into building a more vibrant startup community, as you discover how to increase the breadth and depth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem by multiplying connections among entrepreneurs and mentors, improving access to entrepreneurial education, creating events and activities that activate all the participants in the startup community, and much more.

Along the way, Feld details the critical principles for forming a sustainable startup community, and discusses the various tactics you need to put around them. You’ll become familiar with the idea that in order for a community to grow both deep and wide — and to enhance its entrepreneurial density — entrepreneurs must lead the charge themselves. You’ll also see how developing a long-term commitment to the startup community is the only way to realistically become a leader of it.

Feld continues the conversation by discussing how an openness to include anyone who is interested in joining the startup community — from students, researchers, and professors to corporate employees, lawyers, government, and investors — is critical. He also reveals how there has to be activities and events in the startup community that engage everyone in it from top to bottom. So, whether it be accelerators, meetups, or startup weekends, you have to create things that involve everyone.

You can have a sustainable startup community in virtually any city in the world. But you need to know what it takes to really make this happen — understanding everything from the problems that may arise to the power of the community. Engaging and informative, this practical guide not only shows you how startup communities work, it also shows you how you can make them work anywhere.

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Q & A with Author Brad Feld

  1. What is the "Startup Revolution"?
  2. The vast majority of net new job creation in the last 30 years has come from new startups--specifically companies created during this time frame. As the global economy continues to struggle, entrepreneurs, through new startup companies, are leading the way in creating new innovations, new products and services, and new jobs. At the same time, they are rejuvenating the economies of many cities around the world as they create the basis for the next wave of economic growth. There is a startup revolution happening throughout the world--join in!

  3. Where are some of the hot startup communities building today?
  4. As the small town of Boulder, Colorado has gained international prominence as a hotbed of startup activity, many other cities throughout the world are seeing great growth through the creation and development of new startups. Cities big and small, like New York, Boston, Chicago, Portland and Austin, as well as countries like Iceland are seeing their startup communities revitalize and re-energize their city.

  5. Is this book a blueprint for building startup communities?
  6. The book defines the Boulder Thesis, drawn from my 17 years of being an entrepreneur and investor in the Boulder startup community, to create a framework for creating a vibrant, long-term startup community. We explore the Boulder Thesis in depth and give lots of examples of implementation, but overall recognize that one of the powerful things about every city in the world is that they have unique characteristics. The Boulder Thesis is a blueprint, but not a prescription, and is easily adopted to any city.

  7. What inspired you to create the "Startup Revolution" series?
  8. I believe startups are transforming our society. Over the past 100 years, we've gone from an industrial era, where a hierarchical structure dominated business and society, to a post information era where the network is rapidly disrupting the hierarchy and transforming the way we work and live. The "Startup Revolution" series covers each aspect of the dynamics of this change, from Startup Communities, to Startup Life, to specific aspects of business with Startup Boards and Startup Metrics.

  9. Who should read this book?
  10. Anyone interested in entrepreneurship, startups, economic growth, and innovation.

From the Back Cover:


"Innovation and entrepreneurship are at the heart of America's long-term economic growth story. As the nation's first Chief Technology Officer, I heard a great deal of interest in strategies to foster local startup communities beyond Silicon Valley. In this book, Brad Feld captures the essence of what drives the creation and development of startup communities and provides a clear road map for everyone interested in expanding the entrepreneurial ecosystem wherever they live."
—Aneesh Chopra, Senior Advisor, The Advisory Board Company, former U.S. CTO

"Any city in the world can be the home of a vibrant startup community. Many of the principles in this book are similar to the ones we are applying at to help revitalize downtown Vegas and transform our city into one of the leading startup communities in the world. This book and its principles are applicable to any city that wants to reinvigorate itself through the power of entrepreneurship."
—Tony Hsieh, New York Times bestselling author of Delivering Happiness and CEO,, Inc.

"Entrepreneurship and innovation are the key drivers of the emerging creative economy. Startup Communities provides the playbook of how communities can harness the power of creative entrepreneurs that power long-run economic growth and development. Feld gives entrepreneurs and political and civic leaders a powerful framework filled with examples on how to build vibrant entrepreneurial communities."
—Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class; Professor, University of Toronto, NYU; Senior Editor, The Atlantic

"Brad Feld's involvement in the Startup America Partnership since its inception has heavily influenced our thinking and approach to accelerating startup communities throughout the United States. We have shared many of the ideas in the book with community champions—successful serial entrepreneurs around the country—who are leveraging them to build vibrant growing startup economies."
—Scott Case, CEO, Startup America Partnership

"If you care about economic growth at any level this book will help you figure out how you can play a role in your own startup community. Brad Feld's book will become the Myth Buster of Startup Communities. Reality requires collaboration, inclusiveness, a network of leaders, and feeders operating without hierarchy. All hard work and a ton of fun."
—Lesa Mitchell, VP Innovation & Networks, Kauffman Foundation

"This book beautifully captures the essence of what drives a startup community. Brad Feld highlights the importance of having continual activities that engage the entire entrepreneurial stack in order to create a long-term sustainable startup community. At Startup Weekend, we are doing our small part to help as many people around the world experience entrepreneurship, and we are proud to count Brad Feld as a board member in our efforts."
—Marc Nager, CEO, Startup Weekend

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