At Denver Startup Week, which began Monday, folks had another topic beyond tech to chat about -- how Colorado's massive floods are affecting business.
In Boulder, Colo., where major flooding has caused loss of homes, flooded basements and at least eight reported deaths, the tight-knit tech community hasn't lost much business, since most of the flooding has been in the mountains, not in town.
"People are able to work, but everybody's rattled," says entrepreneur Brad Feld, CEO of Foundry Group, a major tech investment firm in Boulder. "People are either stranded or struggling to get to their houses."
The Boulder/Denver area is one of the top tech spots in the nation, home to companies such as AOL's MapQuest and photo apps Pixorial and Photobucket.
Feld, who has helped launch firms such as Fitbit, Cheezburger and Zynga, himself was on vacation in nearby Vail last week, and watching coverage of the floods on TV. Back in Boulder, where he owns a condo, he hasn't been able to get up the road to his primary home in the mountains. He's posted photos of the broken-up road on his Feld Thoughts blog.
Holly Hamann, co-founder of the Boulder-based TapInfluence content marketing firm, says she hasn't had running water in her home since the flooding began last week, and many of her staffers have flooded basements. She closed the offices last week, but thanks to Internet connections, "we haven't lost a beat." Many of her staffers have switched to working in coffee shops.
David Cohen, who runs the Techstars incubator, is based on the second floor of a Boulder office complex, and hasn't even suffered from power outages. "Boulder is fine," he says. "It's not like the town was wiped out. It's up the canyon where roads are washed out."
He spent the weekend turning to Twitter to rally folks to help others.
He tweeted about helping people get their basements in order, and 15 folks showed up. "Twitter and Facebook have been huge," he says.
Benny Joseph, who spent the summer in Boulder getting his GoodApril online tax planning company off the ground as part of Techstars, donated $20,000 to clean-up efforts Monday. His firm was snapped up by Intuit and has moved to California, but "Boulder holds a special place in our hearts," he says. "I'm hopeful this helps people rebuild."
© 2013 USA TODAY under contract with YellowBrix. All rights reserved.