Peak Startup began life in 2000 as the Peak Venture Group (PVG). PVG filed a void in the Colorado Springs community to bring people interested in entrepreneurship together for education and networking. The early years focused on one main monthly event, the PVG Breakfast. This breakfast consisted of a keynote speaker on an area of entrepreneurship and several new companies pitching their business. These early connections were critical because they brought together people founding, funding, and mentoring entrepreneurs to create a critical mass. Most of the early energy went into mentoring companies both with the pitch for their company as well as how to really build a business and seek growth capital.
After many years separate, Peak Venture Group took over the management of the Celebrate Technology event. Celebrate Technology is an awards event honoring technology companies and innovative people in the community, fostering a positive innovation climate that drives our economic vitality and well being. This event created an opportunity to recognize entrepreneurs and their entities in a formal awards setting. It also allowed the organization to draw nationally known speakers to Colorado Springs such as Steve Wozniak and Brad Feld.
In 2013 the Startup America Partnership was formed by the Kauffman Foundation to support and grow startups in America. Soon after a Startup Colorado chapter was formed, which quickly was the most mature and successful chapter in the nation. A local chapter, Startup Colorado Springs, formed to replicate the model that had been growing in the rest of the state. This included events like Open Coffee Club, Pitch Night, Office Hours, and Startup Cheers. This group shared many of the same passionate people as Peak Venture Group and the two groups decided to merge into Peak Startup in April 2014.
Peak Startup has focused on growing events locally for startups and their supporters. Peak Startup hosts Startup Weekend Colorado Springs and Colorado Springs Startup Week. It fully administers Pitch Night and Founders Network and supports community events like 1 Million Cups. Peak Startup is dedicated to providing many aspects of the ecosystem and works with other individuals and organizations to strengthen the other components locally.
Throughout 2017, Peak Startup reached out to about 100 startup founders. From what they were willing to report, we found that these startups created about 1150 jobs and raised over $83, 000,000 in external funding. Further, Peak Startup hosted over 130 startup activities and events, provided support to over 85 startups, and engaged over 3,700 citizens in the Pikes Peak region through our events and services. These numbers only continue to grow.
Peak Startup serves aspiring, current, and past startup entrepreneurs and their teams. We make efforts to engage women, vets and military men and women, college students, and underserved groups . However, most of our programming can be applied by all entrepreneurs and we maintain an inclusive culture. Our programs are targeted towards startup entrepreneurs throughout the various stages of the startup life cycle no matter age, ethnicity, demographics, or experience.