Tech companies love expanding to Colorado because of lifestyle, skilled workers

Despite a global pandemic, Colorado will continue to be attractive to tech companies.

“We can attract talent at levels that other states just can’t,” says Michelle Hadwiger, director of Global Business Development at the Colorado Office of Economic Development and Trade. “That means companies can find the educated and diversified talent they need here.”

Colorado also is the most similar culturally to the Bay Area, where many tech companies have headquarters. “We share the same fit and active lifestyle and love of the outdoors,” Hadwiger says.

Competing with the big boys

Troy Lerner, chief executive officer of Booyah Advertising, The Denver Post’s No. 1 Top Workplace in the small-size category, could have located his digital advertising firm anywhere, says Aubree Cross, head of marketing. But he liked the idea of building a premier agency that could compete with the best of the best in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles in a former cow town, Cross says.

RELATED: Check out the winners of Top Workplaces 2020

“The big agency Troy worked at before Booyah had an office in Denver. He recalls that his boss there used to laugh off this Denver office, sure there was no business in Denver and baffled as to why the agency would maintain a presence in this city.”

But Lerner had the last laugh. The city continues to be a draw for people who want to leave New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.

“Denver continues to lend itself as the perfect home for our agency and the things we value: the friendly, Western attitude; the proximity to nature and recreation; and the relative freedom from the high-octane and (we’d maintain) unnecessary stressors of some of the largest U.S. cities make Denver an ideal location for our relationship- and people-focused agency. We’re able to attract employees who are eager to roll up their sleeves and work incredibly hard, but who also value collaborating, delivering top-tier service, and not taking themselves too seriously.”

Adding a Denver office

Gary Nafus, senior vice president for enterprise sales at Salesforce, a global leader in customer relationship management software and No. 1 Top Workplace in the large-size category, says Denver’s home to a diverse slate of industries, including aviation, bioscience, financial services, and more.

The city also is an emerging tech hub and was named the No. 10 U.S. city for tech growth and a leading growth market by CBRE in 2019.

“We first set up shop in the region starting in 2013, supporting leading customers including the State of Colorado, the City and County of Denver, Ball Corporation, amongst other top organizations,” Nafus says. “Last year, we announced our new home in the heart of the city would serve as a world-class hub for our local metro Denver employees, where we can welcome our customers, partners, and the community. Our expansion in Denver reflects the excitement here, and we’re looking forward to continuing to grow in the Mile-High City.”

In addition to Booyah and Salesforce, other tech businesses on this year’s Top Workplaces list include:

Gusto processes tens of billions of dollars of payroll and enables thousands of businesses to provide employee benefits like health insurance and 401(k) retirement plans and 529 college savings plans.
Keysight delivers breakthrough solutions in electronic design, test, manufacturing, and optimization.
RingCentral is a leading provider of global enterprise cloud communications, collaboration and contact center solutions. It provides unified voice, video meetings, team messaging, digital customer engagement, and integrated contact center solutions.

More tech companies coming to Colorado

Tech companies continue to announce plans to locate in Colorado despite the economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19. Among the recent developments:

Two Denver tech businesses won federal grants to develop new products. Greetly, which provides systems for companies to check-in and track visitors, received $50,000 through the Small Business Innovation Research program to work with the Air Force. Cipher Skin won a $1.5 million grant from the Department of Defense through the SBIR program. The company will match the grant and work with the Air Force to explore how the military can use and further develop its technology for civilian use.

Denver-based York Space Systems, a satellite manufacturer and operator, and Metropolitan State University of Denver received a federal contract to more efficiently process and analyze data collected from space.

Marqeta, a global card-issuing platform, picked metro Denver for its second headquarters. The company plans to employ more than 500 people in Colorado over the next eight years. Started in 2010, Marqeta provides payment card program clients such as Uber, Square, Instacart and DoorDash.

Global website creation company Wix.com picked Denver for its newest location. The company will start with 200 employees and plans to open its new office this fall. Wix.com has more than 170 million users and employs about 3,200 people across 15 locations worldwide, including its headquarters in Israel and U.S. offices in Miami, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Phoenix.

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