People are investing more money in Colorado start-ups this year

DENVER, Colo.-- It starts with an idea, which can grow into a business with the right motivation and some money.

“60 percent of all residential water-waste happens outdoors,” Rachio CEO Chris Klein said. Klein and his business partners saw the need for an internet connected sprinkler controller six years ago after three years of drought in the Denver area. Now they sell their product across the country.

“We’re solving real water problems in the US and maybe someday we’re lucky enough to solve it in the world, and that’s definitely something that gets me out of bed,” Klein said.

Innovation from companies like Rachio is why people are investing more money in Colorado start-ups this year.

“People see innovations and that talent that drives and creates that innovation, happening here and now they’re putting their money behind it,” said Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation CEO J.J. Ament.

Ament says the state saw almost $500 million in venture capital investment in quarter two of this year, which holds the record for any quarter. It’s a 55 percent increase in this type of investment over Q2 last year.

“We’ve seen venture capital come certainly in the tech space, but it’s been a tech space that applies to agriculture, to financial services, to healthcare,” Ament said. “We’re talking about what could be this year as much as a billion and a half or two billion dollars of venture capital investments.”

Companies like Rachio saw more than $10 million in venture capital investment over the past year. Klein says that money goes towards marketing, sales and hiring more employees to grow his company.

“There’s a long way to go before we’ll be San Francisco, Boston or New York,” Ament said. “We think we can show companies that they can scale more efficiently in Colorado.”

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