Tech ecosystem

by Phil Kalin

One of the great things about these monthly reports is the snapshot of what’s happening in specific industry clusters. And one of the pictures that pops out to me this month is the IT cluster.

Pages 5-6 of the report highlight six IT or software businesses that are starting or expanding their operations in Denver. These companies span a wide variety of sectors: an interior design platform, marketing software, social fitness, food ordering, software. This is a great glimpse of what’s happening – and it’s just a sliver of the picture.

Take a look at my industry, property and casualty insurance. Denver has become a hotbed of activity in this sector, as numerous “insurtechs” have launched or located here. These companies deploy advanced analytics to better understand and price risks, use artificial intelligence to improve the customer experience, and leverage sensor technology to help businesses and homeowners protect their people and possessions. In fact, Pinnacol hosted an event last fall with six notable local P&C insurtechs (Vertafore, IMAgine Analytics, Spex, Notion, Covered, and our own new platform, Cake Insure), all but one of which are brand new to the market.

There’s a good reason for all this activity across multiple market sectors. The tech ecosystem in Metro Denver is thriving, enabled by some of the best infrastructure for supporting entrepreneurs in the country. Denver Startup Week has become the largest free entrepreneur event in North America. Boulder’s Techstars started as a small accelerator and has become the number one mentor-driven accelerator in the world. The Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network – funded by a $3 million gift from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation to the University of Colorado’s Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, technology and entrepreneurship – is recognized nationally for mentoring startups to get them to the next level. And Vista Equity Partners, while headquartered elsewhere, was founded by a Denver East High grad and has funded a number of tech companies that either grew up or relocated here.

This infrastructure both reflects and is supported by Colorado’s highly educated workforce and entrepreneurial culture. The resulting dynamic environment virtually ensures that growth in the sector will continue, drawing like-minded innovators who want to be a part of this culture. I can’t wait to see where we go.

Phil Kalin

Phil Kalin joined Pinnacol Assurance as CEO in 2013. He has served as the chief executive of both public and privately-backed companies, including large hospital systems, as well as organizations focused on health care data, technology and education.

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