Throughout this book, I've used Boulder as an example of a strong startup community. However, the Boulder startup community is still relatively young (only 50 years old with huge acceleration between 2010 and 2020) and has a number of weaknesses. In this chapter, we'll explore some of these weaknesses along with what some of the leaders in the Boulder startup community are doing to address them over the next 20 years.
Although Boulder has an incredible entrepreneurial density, it actually has five startup communities. I'm involved in the tech community, which I often refer to as software/internet for clarity. The other four are biotech, cleantech, natural foods, and lifestyles of health and sustainability (LOHAS).
Let's focus on the natural‐foods startup community. Celestial Seasonings, started in the 1960s, is one of Boulder's favorite natural foods companies, but did you know that two companies—Alfalfa's and Wild Oats—which make up about a third of Whole Foods, were started in Boulder? Or Izze? Or White Wave? Or Horizon Dairy? The list is long, and it keeps going since there is a robust contemporary natural‐foods startup community spawning new companies every year like Justin's Nut Butter.
I was a personal investor in Justin's prior to them being acquired by Hormel, and I like Justin Gold a lot. I know Libby Cook, the founder of Wild Oats. I know Hass Hassan and Barney Feinblum, the founders of ...