Rural Colorado Entrepreneurial Opportunities Increase With Access To New Capital

Greater Colorado Venture Fund raises $25 million fund, in partnership with Colorado Venture Capital Authority; Funds will be used to galvanize, support and expand rural Colorado founders and entrepreneurs in their business building efforts.

DURANGO, Colo.--()--Today, the Greater Colorado Venture Fund (GCVF) announced, in collaboration with the Colorado Venture Authority, a $25M close of GCVF Fund II. GCVF will deploy the initial investments from Fund II over the next five years. GCVF’s Fund I raised $17.5M in 2018 and has since made 29 investments and has realized five exits. The Colorado Venture Authority recently released new information about its statewide efforts to provide greater access to venture funding.

Greater Colorado Venture Fund’s core investment thesis is to identify, invest and support founders in the overlooked rural market across rural Colorado. GCVF is industry agnostic and focused on seed stage companies. Similar to Fund I, Fund II will invest in 25-30 companies with an average initial check size of roughly $500K. The investment focus, within rural Colorado, is on founders and entrepreneurial teams in outdoor recreation, B2B SaaS (Govtech, Cybersecurity), Energy, Aerospace, CPG, and Agtech industries.

“This exciting partnership builds upon our ongoing work to boost Colorado's strong economy, bring good-paying jobs to Coloradans in rural communities, and support small businesses,” said Governor Jared Polis. “As a businessperson, I know that every dollar counts when building a business from the ground up which is why I'm proud of our bold work to support Colorado's innovative entrepreneurs.”

“The impetus for our work originally at GCVF was the Colorado Venture Capital Authority. Colorado is special, in part, because we have leaders that are forward thinking and allocate real dollars to ensure greater access to entrepreneurship and capital resources. This has been an incredible example of the power of public-private partnerships as we all aim to bolster the resources and entrepreneurial outcomes across rural communities in Colorado,” said Marc Nager, Co-Founder, Greater Colorado Venture Fund.

“We continue to be inspired by the quality of founders that we find in Colorado, especially as we emerge from a COVID world. We’re doubling down on our thesis that founders, and those who want to join them, want to prioritize quality location and lifestyle to create both greater personal and economic outcomes for themselves and the communities they are a part of,” Marc added.

With less than 1% of venture dollars invested in Colorado going to companies in rural communities, GCVF is helping drive meaningful change in a greatly underserved and overlooked market. In the past four years, they have invested over $14.5M directly into companies while helping them raise nearly $50M in total. New business starts in America are down nearly 60% since the early 1990’s. Over 59% of all counties in America are in a state of economic decline, and over 50% of all economic growth in the US since the 2008 recession has been isolated to just 20 out of 3,007 counties. In Colorado, 83% of ‘Rural’ counties have median incomes below the state average and all of Colorado’s distressed counties are considered rural.

“Entrepreneurs drive rural communities and the world forward in incredible ways. GCVF has shown that opportunity exists in rural markets to drive competitive returns for venture capital investors. The entrepreneurial energy and impact they help drive feels a lot like what we saw in Boulder a decade ago, just right sized in a beautiful way for rural communities,” said Nicole Glaros, Former Chief Investment Strategy Officer at Techstars and Advisor to GCVF.

“Rural Colorado has a long history of punching above its weight when it comes to entrepreneurial success stories. Companies like Mercury Payment Systems, Osprey, Big B's, Smartwool have shown that meaningful businesses are being built in rural Colorado and are providing long term benefits to their local communities and beyond. GCVF exists to support amazing entrepreneurs in rural Colorado, while providing a playbook that can be shared with the rest of the country,” said Cory Finney, Co-Founder, Greater Colorado Venture Fund.

Grand Junction, Colorado based Cloudrise is an example of business and community impacts from the GCVF. Rob Eggrebrecht and his co-founder, Hillary Laird, moved their lives to Grand Junction intentionally in 2019 as they were starting Cloudrise. Said Laird: “Our team has spent decades in the cybersecurity space, and our decision to build and grow Cloudrise from Grand Junction has created a wonderful advantage. We are able to attract top talent, keep costs reasonable, and enjoy an incredible quality of life that we’ve never had in our careers until now. From helping design an internship program at Colorado Mesa University for talent development to genuine value add investors like GCVF, we find ourselves asking why any founder with the option would do it any other way.”


The Greater Colorado Venture Fund (GCVF) is pioneering venture capital for Rural America by catalyzing entrepreneurial action and spreading opportunities to build sustainable communities in rural America. GCVF invests in Colorado companies with high growth potential located outside of the Colorado Front Range urban corridor.


Marc Nager

Release Summary

Announcement of the Greater Colorado Venture Fund II


Marc Nager