Company Mersive blog Comparing the Colorado vs. Silicon Valley Start-up Scene

Comparing the Colorado vs. Silicon Valley Start-up Scene


People around the world are intrigued by the story of Silicon Valley and its start-up growth engine, contrasting that with the less well-known Colorado scene. However, Colorado already has an emerging community that is poised to radically change the landscape. Colorado has world class universities and developers, high quality of life, a lower cost of living, great environment and an emerging venture capital community including the Foundry Group, Access Venture Partners, and Boulder Ventures. There are several important considerations about this community in contrast to Silicon Valley culture.

Silicon Valley
Some of the greatest business and technology minds in the world are in Silicon Valley and have given rise to market leading companies such as Google, Facebook, Uber, and AirBnB. Given this talent density, Silicon Valley firms of all sizes typically offer great pay, equity incentives and health care benefits. They also offer flexible work schedules and great vacation options. Maternity and paternity leave is a must as well. Best of all, you are working with talented people who are innovating at a high level every day. You have a good chance to be involved with a great company that will make your entire career, just for being part of the growth rocket ship.

On the down side, the Silicon Valley culture is known to be very competitive, even borderline cut-throat. Every time you think you have made a big accomplishment, there is somebody else who has done something even bigger and better. In some cases, politics and backbiting, not performance, dictate who gets promoted. On the work life balance side, most people do not even use all of their flexible work benefits unless they are free meals or transportation which actually incentivize longer working hours because you get a free dinner and ride home. They feel if they take any time off, they will be upstaged by others in the company who take less time off. It is also quite expensive and much of your additional salary goes to real estate. Every decent home in Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Cupertino or other parts of Silicon Valley is well over a million dollars. There is simply no way to afford that without tremendous pay.


In contrast to Silicon Valley, Colorado has more of a “work smarter not harder” attitude borne out of people’s desire to enjoy the great quality of life the area has to offer. Colorado companies are seeing increasing investment from venture capital firms with 154 companies raising about $1 billion in 2017 according to PwC/CB Insights. Given this added investment, companies are offering attractive compensation and health care packages. Equity and up-side compensation are similarly aggressive to make sure employees get the benefit when the firm does well. Since the cost of living is less with real estate and everyday items less expensive, employees end up saving more and can thoroughly enjoy the life that the region has to offer.

Colorado also has tremendous business and tech talent. One of the biggest differentiators of the local talent base is the value it places on collaboration and teamwork. Are there competitive or cut-throat people in the tech workforce? Of course. They’re just much fewer in numbers than those that work in team-oriented fashion. Adding to the workplace culture, employees oftentimes bring pets to work or even bike to get there. As a state with an incredible climate and environment, this is truly a great advantage. Vacation and paid time off are also encouraged. Employees will not be looked down upon for taking their deserved breaks given the value placed on work/life balance and quality of life.

Though smaller than Silicon Valley in terms of the number successful tech companies (i.e. those that have gone public or gotten acquired), this community still boasts a healthy and increasing number of big time successes including DataLogix, Rally Software, SendGrid, DigitalGlobe, Ping Identity, and Granicus. In addition, large Silicon Valley firms like Google and Facebook have opened local campuses and large offices adding to the influx of talent. In summary, Colorado is like the little sibling of Silicon Valley: younger, growing quickly, and moving to its own distinctive beat.

As one of the fastest growing, larger tech companies in Colorado, the firm is an exemplar of the great culture and community of the region. In addition to the success we’ve had with our customers and in the wireless collaboration market at large, employees are extremely happy with 94% satisfaction and 90% saying they would recommend the company to others. We believe that we have the best of both worlds: the leading software solution in the rapidly growing wireless collaboration market and smart, collaborative employees who are extending that lead. 

If working at a Colorado tech startup sounds interesting, check out Built in Colorado. If working at Mersive sounds interesting, please check out our careers page.