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Brad Feld outlines “Boulder Thesis” in Kauffman Sketchbook (Video)

Brad Feld spoke earlier this month at Thinc Iowa, and we will release full video from Feld’s talk sometime next week. But for those who didn’t catch the former and can’t wait to see the latter, we have something to hold you over, courtesy of the Kansas City, Mo.-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and its signature Sketchbook Series. 

Feld, a partner at the Boulder, Colo.-based venture capital firm Foundry Group and a noted expert on startup communities, is featured in a Sketchbook video, entitled “StartupVille,” that was released Oct. 8. In the video, which draws from ideas examined in his book, “Startup Communities,” Feld outlines his “Boulder Thesis,” a formula for building what he calls a “sustainable, vibrant startup community anywhere in the world.”

It’s an idea that should resonate with the people of the Silicon Prairie, building startups and ecosystems that support them away from the traditional epicenters of tech entrepreneurship.

Feld cites four ingredients as essential to startup communities: 

  • Entrepreneurs as leaders – Feld divides a startup community into two groups: Leaders (entrepreneurs) and feeders (everyone else). “The feeders have very important roles,” he says. “They become part of the fabric of the startup community. But the feeders can’t be leaders. The leaders have to be entrepreneurs.”
  • A long-term view – A successful startup community must be filled with people who are making a long-term commitment of 20-plus years and are able to weather the successes and failures of entrepreneurs in the community, Feld says.
  • A philosophy of inclusiveness. It takes all kinds of people to make a startup community. “If everybody contributes energy into the startup community,” Feld says, “it will get bigger and grow faster and be more successful and be more fun.”
  • Events that engage the entire entrepreneurial stack – Feld cites things like TechStars and Startup Weekend, which he notes are more substantive than awards dinners or cocktail parties, as vital to allowing the entire community to help startups.

“It’s just this sort of network chaos of entrepreneurs doing what entrepreneurs do, which is create things,” Feld says in closing. “That force of the entrepreneurs to build something bigger than just themselves and their company is so incredibly powerful.” 


Credits: Video from the Kauffman Foundation on YouTube.

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