Scott McNealy to Preach Virtues of Colorado at Showcase for VCs

The Colorado Venture Summit will return for a second year, and this time the headline speaker will be Scott McNealy, the co-founder and former CEO of Sun Microsystems, who has become an outspoken advocate for Colorado despite being a Silicon Valley legend.

The goal of the venture summit is to bring together the leaders of Colorado’s top tech companies and venture capital investors from Colorado and around the country. The later part is an important element of its vision, summit chair David Gold said last year when the event was launched. Gold, a managing director of Access Venture Capital, said it could be a showcase that would help promote Colorado startups as they try to raise their profiles and make connections with national VC firms. That goal was accomplished, as the event sold out and more than half the investors in attendance were from outside Colorado.

[Follow these links for recaps of what investors had to say and the perspectives of Colorado CEOs at last year’s summit.]

Another aim was to preach the benefits of being in Colorado and showing how the community could support tech companies. McNealy is a believer, and one of his companies is an example.

McNealy is the co-founder and chairman of Wayin, a startup in Denver that makes software for brands conducting social media campaigns that can also measure return on investment. Wayin has raised $33.1 million since forming in 2011, including a $12.1 million Series C round last year.

While Sun was a quintessential Silicon Valley company before it was purchased by Oracle, it had long had a major presence in Colorado, and its campus between Boulder and Denver was the home to more than 4,000 employees. Many former Sun executives have gone on to take important roles with Wayin.

“With the well-educated talent pool and supportive, engaged government, the benefits of founding companies and investing in Colorado has never been better,” McNealy said in the release. “It’s easy to draw talent to Colorado with the lower cost of living, great weather, active lifestyle, amazing schools, and a commitment to work/life balance that isn’t all talk.”

The summit also will feature Colorado success stories, including a panel featuring the CEO’s behind three of Colorado’s largest recent venture-backed exits. The panel will include Zayo Group CEO Dan Caruso, Rally Software CEO Tim Miller, and Datalogix CEO Eric Roza.

Also on the agenda is plentiful time for networking in the hopes of generating deals.

The event is scheduled for June 11 and will be at Coors Field in downtown Denver. Attendance is limited to the founders and CEOs of Colorado tech companies that have already raised at least $2 million of institutional venture capital, and select investors. Invitations can be requested through its website.

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