Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Two Colorado Springs startup groups merge

by WAYNE HEILMAN wayneh@gazette.com - Published: April 1, 2014

Two Colorado Springs startup groups that share similar missions have decided they'll combine forces and share a name as well.

Peak Venture Group and Startup Colorado Springs recently merged to form Peak Startup, which will help budding entrepreneurs and launch a week of activities this fall to celebrate entrepreneurship in the area.

The two nonprofits began discussing the merger in June because they had nearly identical missions and frequently worked together on projects and events, said Chris Franz, president of the merged group, previous president of Peak Venture Group and a board member of Startup Colorado Springs.

"We found ourselves frequently collaborating and finally decided that we could much better serve the community if we joined forces," Franz said Tuesday in a news release announcing the merger. "Each group had its strengths, and every member of the two boards was unanimous in agreeing that the community would be much better served through a merger."

The merger was completed last month. The combined group will hold its first event, Open Coffee Club, at 7:30 a.m. Thursday at Epicentral Coworking, 409 N. Tejon St. #106. The event will feature

a panel discussion on free resources for startup businesses.

The mission of Peak Startup is to "cultivate a community of innovative entrepreneurs in the Colorado Springs region" by promoting the exchange of information and resources that fuel the entrepreneurial spirit through networking, mentoring and quality educational programs," the group said.

In addition to leveraging each organizations' strengths, the merger gives the combined group links to Startup Colorado and Startup America, said Franz, who also is co-chair of Startup Colorado.

Peak Venture Group started in 2000 and sponsored events that included Pitch Night, where entrepreneurs give presentations to each other and investors about their business; Celebrate Technology, an annual awards program; and Entrepreneur Evenings, a monthly program.

Startup Colorado Springs was founded in 2011 and hosted Open Coffee Club, a monthly breakfast program; Startup Weekend, where entrepreneurs gather to get new businesses off the drawing board; and events with other groups.

Peak Startup is planning to hold a Startup Week Colorado Springs event that will include 30 to 70 programs, similar to events in Boulder, Fort Collins and Denver.

Boulder held the nation's first Startup Week in 2009. Denver began its annual event in 2012 and Fort Collins will kick off its first Startup Week in May.

More details about the Colorado Springs event, including the date, are expected to be available later this month.

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Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234

Twitter @wayneheilman

Facebook Wayne Heilman

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