Friday, August 11, 2000

The Cyber Scene in Denver ~ by Suzanne Lainson

On August 11, Evoke (a video conferencing and streaming media
company that just went public) played host to the monthly
invitation-only Hi-Tech Friday. Judging from the crowd of perhaps
150-200, the three most likely ways to swing an invitation were (1)
to work for Evoke or one of the other sponsors, (2) be a venture
capitalist, or (3) be young and attractive. Given that the male-to-
female ratio was pretty equitable and the event exuded date
potential, I’d say criterion three seemed to be firmly in place. Of
course, when the invitations tell you to that the evening will
revolve around beer, barbecue, and go-kart racing, you know that
fun is the operative word. In fact, business cards were rather hard
to come by because so few people bothered to bring them.

However I did spot some familiar faces. I had a chance to talk to
Dan Feld, who had been in the papers that day with the announcement
that he was heading up SOFTBANK’s Colorado incubator. Interliant
account executive Rick Sanchez was filling me in on the consulting
and professional services his company is providing HOTBANK. Brad
Feld, Dan’s brother, is Interliant co-chairman and SOFTBANK Venture
Capital principal managing director.

Sequel Venture partner Rick Patch was mingling around. So were
several members of the Centennial Ventures team: associate John
Levystsky, associate Rand Lewis, and research and competitive
analysis director Laura Appleton. Centennial Ventures, along with
Evoke, is a founding sponsor of Hi-Tech Fridays. (Both Centennial
and SOFTBANK have provided funding for Evoke.) John and I spent
quite a bit of time talking about where the local tech community
has been, where it is headed, and how we’ve both been pushing for
lots of compelling networking events. Along those same lines, Andy
Cervantes (information director, Tesser) and I exchanged ideas
about Colorado’s high tech image, which Tesser, an interactive
agency, has branded "Silicon Range."

PR specialist Erica Jorgensen, who joined Evoke after having
returned from Europe where she freelanced while her husband was on
assignment with Andersen Consulting, showed me around and made sure
I got my Hi-Tech Friday coffee mug. The company relocated from
Boulder to nearby Louisville less than a year ago and is growing so
fast that it is already running out of space.

I wandered out to the Evoke parking lot where a go-kart track was
being co-manned by Kari Nelson (founder, Recess Active
Entertainment) and John Freudenberger (CEO, The Inside Lane).
Recess is based in Boulder and creates sports events for tech and
other companies. The Inside Lane supplied everything: go-karts,
portable track, a high tech timing system, jumpsuits, and helmets.
A feature of Hi-Tech Fridays is some sort of physical activity.
Last month it had been a climbing wall. (Remember, this is
Colorado. If you don’t do stuff like this, you fake it.)

I headed back up to the balcony and chatted with the gang from
Clarus Public Relations, among them, president Steven Silvers,
senior associate Natalie Wilkins, and Steve Caulk, who used to be
at Clarus but is now a business reporter for the Denver Rocky
Mountain News. Clarus and Ai Group, an interactive agency, were the
event’s co-sponsors.

I also met PR firm BRW LeGrand account executive Zachary Lewis and
Tabor Interactive transformational strategist Sarah Harmon. She was
telling me about her company’s open house on July 19, held in their
new offices in Denver’s Golden Triangle area. As she put it, "more
than 300 clients, talent, industry friends and media folk schmoozed
until well after the party’s intended end. With a jazz trio playing
against the backdrop of an indoor climbing grotto, the party hit
just the right note of hip elegance." (We Coloradoans do love
climbing.) Zachary backed her up. He said it was a great
opportunity to network with players in the interactive industry
"and it was the best business party I’ve been to in a long time…"
Yes, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? The parties. Well, until
the snow falls. Then it’s off to the slopes.

included: Gary Rosenzweig (CEO, CleverMedia), Mike Stemple (CEO, NomadGroup), Richard Honey (CEO, BookAppointment.Com), Frank Rider (CEO,, Colby Fitch (president/CEO,, Steven Brodhead (president/CEO, Centcom Inc.), Catherine Lawrence (president/CEO, Warrior Solutions, Inc.), Brad Crysel (CEO, Business Numerics), Paul Jurasin (CEO,, Craig Wilcox (president/COO, Stilman Advanced Strategies), Tate Kelly, president/COO, BIGPIPE.COM), Jon Otuski (managing general partner, Otsuki Group), Bryan Griffin (CEO) and David Baker (COO, Gigamind), James Downs (president, The Catalog Register), Greg Hanchin (vice president, business development, Navidec), Tom Wilcoxen (EVP/CIO,, Treg Meldrum (CFO, XploreNet), George Chedsey (vice president, FirstNet Learning), Dave Harrison (vice president, sales and business development, WisdomLink), Victor Zimmerman (director, client development, LinkShare), Frank Zhang and Paul Lacjak (, Osman Parvez (operating manager,, Betty Pierce and Melani Hernoud (Secure Network Systems), Ty Bohannon (business strategist, eBusiness Strategies), Phillip Ocampo (alternate channel manager, 24/7 Mail), Jamie Gorman (vice president, business development,, Bill Hartigan (, Tom Keller (Netinfra), Erica Borenstein (Brobeck Phleger & Harrison), Eve Bodeux (principal, Bodeux International), Kenneth Washington (senior engineer, Associated Computer Experts), Paul Kulas (KulasIQ), and Tammy Schiff (Schiff|Solutions).