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Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City Hardcover – October 9, 2012

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Editorial Reviews Review

Q & A with Author Brad Feld

Brad Feld
  1. What is the "Startup Revolution"?
  2. The vast majority of net new job creation in the last 30 years has come from new startups--specifically companies created during this time frame. As the global economy continues to struggle, entrepreneurs, through new startup companies, are leading the way in creating new innovations, new products and services, and new jobs. At the same time, they are rejuvenating the economies of many cities around the world as they create the basis for the next wave of economic growth. There is a startup revolution happening throughout the world--join in!

  3. Where are some of the hot startup communities building today?
  4. As the small town of Boulder, Colorado has gained international prominence as a hotbed of startup activity, many other cities throughout the world are seeing great growth through the creation and development of new startups. Cities big and small, like New York, Boston, Chicago, Portland and Austin, as well as countries like Iceland are seeing their startup communities revitalize and re-energize their city.

  5. Is this book a blueprint for building startup communities?
  6. The book defines the Boulder Thesis, drawn from my 17 years of being an entrepreneur and investor in the Boulder startup community, to create a framework for creating a vibrant, long-term startup community. We explore the Boulder Thesis in depth and give lots of examples of implementation, but overall recognize that one of the powerful things about every city in the world is that they have unique characteristics. The Boulder Thesis is a blueprint, but not a prescription, and is easily adopted to any city.

  7. What inspired you to create the "Startup Revolution" series?
  8. I believe startups are transforming our society. Over the past 100 years, we've gone from an industrial era, where a hierarchical structure dominated business and society, to a post information era where the network is rapidly disrupting the hierarchy and transforming the way we work and live. The "Startup Revolution" series covers each aspect of the dynamics of this change, from Startup Communities, to Startup Life, to specific aspects of business with Startup Boards and Startup Metrics.

  9. Who should read this book?
  10. Anyone interested in entrepreneurship, startups, economic growth, and innovation.


"Mr. Feld wants to make it clear that all sorts of cities across the world can become home to job-creating new businesses if only they foster the necessary culture. He sets out a framework for a successful start-up community... if more people contributed to the places in which they live, as Mr. Feld and others have evidently done in Boulder, we probably would have more start-up communities around the world for him to visit."(Jonathan Moules, Financial Times book review, November 15, 2012)

"A favorite question at entrepreneurship conferences is which world city has the entrepreneurial dynamism to become a major start-up capital on par with Silicon Valley. London, Singapore, Tel Aviv, New York and Berlin are usually cited. Seldom, however, do you hear anyone propose Boulder, Colo. That is, unless you are in the company of Brad Feld, an early-stage investor, technology entrepreneur and author of "Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City," published by Wiley. Feld wants to make clear that all sorts of cities across the world can become home to job-creating new businesses if only they foster the necessary culture."(Los Angeles Times book review, December 9, 2012)

"StartUp Communities was designed to engage and inspire entrepreneurs everywhere...definitely worth a look if you're felling fired up about looking beyond the 'Silicon Roundabout' to create real hotbeds of entrepreneurial activity in the UK" (Talk Business, January 2013)


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (October 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118441540
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118441541
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Brad has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur since 1987. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital and, prior to that, founded Intensity Ventures. Brad is also a co-founder of Techstars.

In addition to his investing efforts, Brad has been active with several non-profit organizations and currently is chair of the National Center for Women & Information Technology, co-chair of Startup Colorado, and on the board of UP Global. Brad speaks and writes extensively on the topics of venture capital investing and entrepreneurship.

Brad holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Management Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Brad is also an avid art collector and long-distance runner. He has completed 23 marathons as part of his mission to finish a marathon in each of the 50 states.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By J. Milanette on November 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's a good book, but Mr. Feld exhibits the same confusion many other venture investors have concerning incubators and accelerators. There are two things that I find especially troubling:

1. Incubators and accelerators are not the same thing. Incubators often work with companies for years, not weeks like the modern day version of accelerators, and their clients have survival rates that far exceed the norm (on average surviving 85% of the time). Incubators often have acceleration programs, but they're for companies that have revenues, that have a management team, and that would like to jump (i.e., "accelerate") to the next level with the help of the competent and experienced advisers who work in incubator management teams. The current use of the term "accelerator" has been appropriated by people who needed a convenient term for their venture investment selection process. For a few thousands of dollars and 90-120 days of mentoring, venture investors see if a business idea (almost always in the software/mobile app/game domains) has the ability to scale. It's not about entrepreneurship, it's not about employment creation, it's not about any of the things incubators do to help their community grow. It's about having a very efficient way to grow a portfolio at the least cost. As an investment strategy, it's brilliant. Is it incubation? I don't think so.

2. Regional clusters are important, as Mr. Feld opines. But the conclusion that they can only be led by local entrepreneurs is, to say the least, a bit over the top. By its nature, the ecosystem has to be inclusive, and the leadership shared. Successful ecosystems - clusters - can be led by anyone who has a vision and ability to articulate what could be accomplished for the region, what it should look like, and how to get there.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By bornteaching on September 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's hard to imagine an expert more qualified that Brad Feld to write a book on this topic. Not only is he an extremely accomplished entrepreneur and venture capitalist but he has also spent years supporting and building startup communities around the world.

With the increasing popularity of entrepreneurship, Brad's book provides a critical framework to build a thriving and healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem in any city in the world. At the center of this book is his "Boulder Thesis" which lays out the four key components of a framework for this ecosystem:

1. Entrepreneurs must lead the startup community.
2. The leaders must have a long-term commitment.
3. The startup community must be inclusive of anyone who wants to participate in it.
4. The startup community must have continual activities that engage the entire entrepreneurial stack

Each of these components is explained clearly with helpful examples. Personally, some of the highlights of the book was his section on "Mentors" which explains the key behaviors of a mentor, the "Attributes of Leadership in a Startup Community", and the chapter on "The Power of the Community" where Brad reminds us to "Give Before You Get" (awesome!) and to "Embrace Weirdness" --- any author that reminds us to "embrace weirdness" is okay in my book!

In short, I think this is very helpful and practical book for entrepreneurs, government officials, university leaders, and other entrepreneurial-related fields. As a founder of a startup, I highly recommend it and believe this book can provide fuel for a startup revolution... especially when explored in community.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By scottbalster on May 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found Brad's book as an extraordinary framework and tool in which to work from in building a startup community. He even took the time to meet with some entrepreneurs from our community to help and discuss the book in detail. Below is the excerpt on what we learned:

"We had the fantastic opportunity to meet with Brad Feld last Friday in Boulder. The agenda was focused on startup communities and more specifically how we could apply the concepts in his book to the Loveland/Fort Collins ecosystem.

Ben West, Marshall Smith, and I made the drive over to Boulder and had an opportunity to sit down and have breakfast with Brad and ask him some questions. My takeaways are below:

On Meetups

Brad spoke about the success of the various organic meetups that occur in Boulder. He talked about the beginning of the Boulder Open Coffee Meet Up at Atlas Purveyors. A key point he made is to be consistent about having the meetings every month. He said it is easy to get discouraged when there are only a small group of people starting out at first.

He advised that the focus should be on the quality of the meetup and the value that each participant is getting from the event. Furthermore, to grow the meet up he said to have each participant invite one friend each month. Without consistency of meetups, then this aspect of the ecosystem will never grow and thrive.

Our Action Items:

1. Ben West is likely going to lead a monthly Javascript Meetup and get assistance from Marshall. The plan would be to hold the meetings at DazBog, The Coffee Tree, and possibly at The Armory in Loveland.

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