Boulder tech accelerator Boomtown expands its founder-first strategy

Accelerator hosts its 13th cohort demo day this week

By Paul Hagey May 26 2020

Boulder early-stage tech accelerator Boomtown has revamped itself from a local founder-focused accelerator into a multi-pronged accelerator with an Atlanta outpost and a SportsTech program launched in January in collaboration with Comcast NBCUnviersal’s sports media brands (NBC Sports, Sky Sports and the Golf Channel).

Covid-19 interrupted the first class, initially scheduled for March, which will commence later this year, likely virtually.

With its first class in March 2014, Boomtown began investing in entrepreneurs with access to a network of mentors, a 12-week onsite startup curriculum and cash in exchange for startup equity.

At the end of 2017, it launched The Farm in Atlanta in conjunction with NBCUniversal — and, in effect, transitioned itself from a standalone accelerator into one who partners with corporations to invest in and grow founders and startups.

It’s a model the Boulder accelerator honed in its hometown with its Health Tech division, with former partner Kaiser Permanente Medical Group and current partner Copic, and its Hardware and Connectivity Division in partnership with cable industry innovation platform UpRamp, says Boomtown CEO Toby Krout.

Toby Krout

These partners replace the venture capital-centered model, in which accelerators run primarily as onramps to associated venture capital funds.

The pure Boomtown accelerator still runs as well; startups in that program make up a portion of the accelerator’s 13th cohort demo day taking place virtually this Thursday (those in the Health Tech and cable verticals make up the cohort as well).

“We want to help startup founders build better companies,” Toby told BLDRfly. Instead of lean into one unicorn out of a hundred investments, it wants a multitude of healthy companies.

[Read profile of Boomtown co-founder Jose Vietez]

Growth + multitude

Since the accelerator’s 2014 launch, it has invested and mentored approximately 120 startups. Toby says over 85 of those companies still operate, and, collectively, generate more annual revenue (above $100 million) than they have raised.

Some of the standouts include ad data analytics startup FeedMob, which now generates roughly $50 million in annual revenue from its San Francisco headquarters, employee benefits platform ThrivePass and used kids gear marketplace Good Buy Gear.

FeedMob leadership team. Credit: FeedMob

Boomtown’s Atlanta outpost, The Farm, has graduated 40 startups so far, including TheLabz, a music-collaboration startup that helps collaborators get credit, and compensation, when adding their talents to a song.

Header: Boomtown’s 12th cohort demo day at the Boulder Theater. Credit: Boomtown

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to note FeedMob’s annual revenue is approximately $50 million, not $15 million as an earlier version of this story stated.

Paul Hagey

Paul Hagey is BLDRfly’s founder and editor. When not wrangling video, audio and words in the name of story, he’s riding his mountain bike, trail running and hanging with his awesome wife Jen and their young daughter.