So, it’s been two months since MMSA CEO Rusty Gregory’s “moon shot” announcement that Mammoth hopes to create 1,000 local technology jobs within the next five years.
58 months to go, and as far we can tell, still 1,000 jobs left to create.
MMSA has thus far made zero investment in its space rocket – though clearly it could launch a hot air balloon.
Joking aside, I set out to ask some industry experts about the announced RecTech vision for Mammoth.
Turns out that one of Mammoth’s native sons, a Mammoth High School graduate by the name of Marc Nager, now runs the Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA).
TVA identifies promising tech companies and then chooses a select few to host for a five-month business “boot camp” of sorts, where it introduces entrepreneurs to industry leaders and also helps start-ups raise seed capital.
In return for $30,000, which helps the entrepreneurs cover expenses during their five month stay, TVA takes a 5 percent equity stake in the business.
In its five years of existence, TVA, according to Nager, has helped 18 companies which now employ 83 people and have raised $12.5 million in investment capital. Nine of the companies are now based in Telluride. 17 of the 18 are based in Colorado.
Prior to taking the job at TVA, Nager started his own tech company called “Start Up Weekend.” Start Up Weekend hosts intensive weekend boot camps for aspiring entrepreneurs. Nager says 300,000 people have now been through the program worldwide with events held in some exotic and unlikely locales (50 events in Iran and 7 events in Iceland, for example).
At the time of sale (to a larger company, TechStars, which does much of what TVA does but on a global, high-dollar scale), Start Up Weekend was a $12 million business with 70 employees.
“Economic development cuts across all political spectrums, all geography, all religions… entrepreneurs can come from anywhere,” says Nager.