Colorado has quietly grown into a national technology powerhouse. While lesser known than Silicon Valley, Colorado is home to tech giants and disruptive startups alike. In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll tour the diverse technology companies and innovators that call Colorado home.
Whether you‘re looking to learn more about the state‘s tech scene, research leading employers, or find the next big startup, you‘ve come to the right place. Let‘s dive in and get to know the tech companies and entrepreneurs putting Colorado on the map!
Dominant Technology Sectors Growing in Colorado
Before getting into specific companies, I want to provide context on the major technology strengths and clusters thriving in Colorado:
Aerospace: With established aerospace corporations and cutting-edge space startups, Colorado is leveraging its history as an aerospace hub to advance into space tech, drones, and other frontiers.
Bioscience and Biotech: Major health centers like University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and companies spun off from universities are accelerating advancements in treatments, devices, diagnostics, and genetic research.
Energy Tech: Both renewable energy startups and fossil fuel corporations call Colorado home. It‘s a prime testing ground for innovations in solar, wind, storage, green hydrogen, oil & gas tech, and more.
IoT and Smart Cities: With advanced research centers and smart city testbeds, Colorado is piloting the future of connected devices, smart transportation, AI-enabled municipal tech, and more.
Cloud Computing and Software: Data centers, IT services, SaaS companies, and enterprise software firms are flocking to Colorado.
Direct-to-Consumer Brands: Colorado‘s hip metro areas, creative culture, and outdoor lifestyle provide fertile ground for breakout consumer product companies.
This diversity and cross-pollination of technology sectors creates a vibrant ecosystem. Now let‘s look at some of the leading innovators and disruptors within these sectors.
Arrow Electronics – Global Tech Provider Powerhouse
The largest technology company based in Colorado, Arrow Electronics (NYSE:ARW) is truly a giant in the electronics and IT sector. Serving over 200,000 customers and generating over $35 billion in annual revenue, Arrow sits at #104 in the Fortune 500 rankings.
Founded in 1935, Arrow started as "Arrow Radio" selling used radios and parts in New York City. It evolved into a leading distributor and supplier of electronics components and later enterprise computing products and services.
After decades of growth through acquisitions under iconic leader Steve Kaufman, Arrow moved its headquarters from New York to Colorado in 2011. It now operates from Centennial, CO providing global technology solutions.
Arrow‘s offerings span from core electronic components to managed cloud solutions and IoT services. Some fun facts on Arrow:
Employs over 20,700 people globally
Has delivered 33% revenue CAGR and 19% EPS CAGR over the past 15 years
Operates over 460 facilities across 5 continents
Joined the Fortune 500 in 1991 and now nearing the top 100
Under its current CEO Michael Long, Arrow continues developing its technological capabilities. It aims to simplify complex supply chains for customers worldwide.
United Launch Alliance – The Go-To for Rocket Launches
Human space exploration would look very different without United Launch Alliance (ULA). This joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing formed in 2006 manufactures and launches reliable rockets carrying critical payloads into space.
Based in Centennial, CO, ULA reported over $2 billion in revenue in 2021 and employs over 4,300 aerospace engineers and technicians. ULA has achieved over 145 consecutive successful launches since its founding.
ULA‘s rockets include the Atlas V and Delta IV families. Customers relying on their launch services include the Department of Defense, NASA, national security agencies, and commercial satellite operators.
Some highlights for this aerospace leader:
- Launched exploration missions to Mars, Pluto, Jupiter, and our Sun
- Enables GPS, weather forecasting, and vital telecommunications
- Partnering with Blue Origin on next-gen Vulcan Centaur rocket
- Over 1.5 million pounds launched into space
CEO Tory Bruno and his team are advancing new frontiers from Colorado. In 2016, ULA announced an innovative vision to develop a "Cislunar 1000" economy enabling people to work and live in space long-term.
Zayo Group – Connecting Global Businesses
In our digital economy, connectivity and infrastructure enable everything else. Zayo Group (NYSE:ZAYO), founded in 2007, owns and operates a high-capacity fiber network spanning over 130,000 route miles to keep businesses connected.
Headquartered in Boulder with over 3,700 employees worldwide, Zayo boasts a massive global footprint after acquiring dozens of regional networks. It now operates in hundreds of markets across North America and Europe.
Zayo‘s infrastructure provides essential services for wireless carriers, media companies, technology firms, and government agencies that need reliable high-bandwidth fiber. A few highlights:
- Over $2.6 billion in annual revenue
- Owns metro fiber networks across 70+ U.S. markets
- Acquired AboveNet in 2012 for $2.2 billion to expand nationally
After a public IPO in 2014 and a recent private equity buyout in 2020, Zayo keeps expanding. It‘s connecting more businesses and data centers to its future-proof fiber infrastructure.
Satellite Imaging Giant Maxar Technologies
Founded in 2017 through the merger of DigitalGlobe, SSL, and MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates, Maxar Technologies (NYSE:MAXR) is a leading space asset and imaging company based in Westminster, CO.
With over 4,400 employees and $1.8 billion in annual revenues, Maxar operates a fleet of Earth observation satellites. This produces high-revisit, high-resolution imagery used across business, government and NGOs.
Maxar also manufactures satellites and spacecraft through subsidiaries like Space Systems Loral. Its imagery enabled vital news reporting on world events like Russian troop movements.
Some details on Maxar‘s capabilities:
- Owns 5+ high-resolution optical Earth imagery satellites
- acquires over 3 million sq km of imagery daily
- WorldView-3 has 30cm resolution from space
- Over $1 billion satellite order backlog as of Q3 2022
Maxar is capitalizing on the huge demand for geospatial data. CEO Dan Jablonsky helms Maxar‘s growth as a publicly traded space technology firm (NYSE: MAXR).
Madwire – Young Tech Star on the Rise
While Colorado tech giants like Arrow and Maxar generate billions in revenue, fast-growing startups represent the future. Madwire is one such startup turned leader.
Founded in 2009 right in Fort Collins, Madwire offers software, services, and platforms empowering small businesses to improve their marketing, websites, listings, appointments, reviews, social media, and more.
In just over 10 years, Madwire has achieved tremendous growth:
- 500+ employees
- Over $100 million in annual revenue
- Serving thousands of small business customers
- Winner of the Top 100 U.S. Tech Startups award
Madwire is led by young founders JB Kellogg and Joe Kellogg, who started Madwire right out of college and still serve as Co-CEOs. Madwire shows how Colorado produces thriving tech startups growing into household names.
CSG International – Monetizing the Digital Customer Experience
Transitioning from selling products to subscriptions, usage, and ongoing services? Then you likely rely on technology from CSG International (NASDAQ: CSGS).
CSG, founded in Colorado in 1982, helps companies monetize and manage the customer experience in the digital economy. Headquartered in Greenwood Village, CO, CSG generates over $1 billion in annual revenue.
With 5,000+ employees, CSG serves leading telecom, cable, utility, and other subscription-based businesses. Its portfolio includes:
- Billing & revenue management
- Customer experience management
- Business intelligence & analytics
- Payments solutions
CSG enables clients like Charter, Comcast, and Dish Network to package, charge for, and profit from digital services. CEO Brian Shepherd leads CSG‘s own transformation into an agile digital services firm.
Webroot – Cybersecurity Innovator Protecting Millions
With cyber attacks growing exponentially, innovative cybersecurity is crucial. Founded as a startup in Boulder in 1997, Webroot delivers endpoint and network security solutions protecting consumers and businesses from threats like malware, ransomware, and phishing.
After over 25 years of growth and acquisition by Carbonite for $618 million in 2019, Webroot now safeguards millions of endpoints across the globe.
Some details on this cybersecurity innovator:
- Employs over 500 cybersecurity experts
- Protects over 7 million businesses and consumers
- Managed Detection and Response (MDR) enables 24/7 threat monitoring
- Leverages AI and machine learning to stay ahead of emerging threats
- Won SE Labs Best Protection Award for Endpoint Security in 2022
Co-founders Steven Thomas and Kristen Talley started Webroot to make online security accessible. Today, Webroot‘s technology keeps users secure across devices.
Major Growth On the Horizon for Colorado Technology
This just scratches the surface of the diverse technology innovators and leaders based in Colorado today. From aerospace to biotech to next-generation startups, the state offers a thriving ecosystem.
Looking ahead, Colorado is poised for massive future growth in fields like commercial space travel, connected vehicles, green energy, precision agriculture, health tech, and more.
Venture funding into Colorado startups keeps accelerating. Its world-class research labs and universities will foster new technologies. With a rich talent pool and engineers drawn by the Colorado lifestyle, expect homegrown and out-of-state tech companies alike to expand here.
While lesser known than traditional tech hubs, Colorado continually proves it can hatch and grow technology giants. The companies and startups here today are advancing innovations that will change lives worldwide.
The next time you rely on satellites for navigation, access blazing fast internet, or protect your devices from the latest cyber threat, there is a good chance you have Colorado technology to thank!
I hope this guide provided helpful insights into the technology innovators and disruptors that make Colorado such a vibrant tech hub. Let me know if you have any other questions!