Colorado has one of the strongest economies in the nation. For that, it can thank its residents who bring their entrepreneurial spirit and high-tech smarts to all industries, ushering in innovations and advances to spaces from healthcare to finance. Colorado ranks fifth in the nation for tech employment concentration, with 10.3% of its workforce in the tech sector, according to the 2018 Cyberstates report from CompTIA.
In other words, technology isn’t living in a vacuum or a back-office, it’s alive and helping to shape the future of industries. Here are some of the top evolving industries in Denver South.
1. Rocket Science. There are more than 20 aviation and aerospace companies in Denver South, employing more than 4,110 people. As the aviation and aerospace field booms in Denver South, however, the field anticipates a staffing shortage, from senior-level engineers to skilled workers. The bottom line: there is plenty of local opportunity in this growing field.
2. Cleantech. According to the Colorado Energy Coalition (CEC), Colorado ranked fourth in the nation for cleantech industry employment concentration in 2016, directly employing 26,270 people, which was 6 percent gain from the previous year. The five-year growth of employment in the industry was 22.4 percent, well above the U.S. growth rate of 17.6 percent.
And Denver South is home to a number of companies on the cutting edge. These include Advanced Emissions Solutions, Inc. in Highlands Ranch, a leader in clean coal technology, and Englewood-based GevoInc., a renewable chemical and advanced biofuels company that developed the technology to convert carbohydrates to low carbon chemicals and fuels.
Although this field is just a piece of the energy industry, its emerging technologies are creating new possibilities for scalable sustainability and new jobs as well.
3. Healthtech. The healthcare industry in Denver is significant, including 2,000 companies in the Denver South region that employ a total of 13,820 people. With neighbors including the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Children’s Hospital Colorado, and UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, the region is its own petri dish for advances and innovations, specifically as it applies to new technology. For example, Sky Ridge Medical Center is currently offering robotic surgery, with state-of-the-art, robot-assisted surgery platforms that allow surgeons to operate with extreme precision and accuracy.
PrimeHealth is a locally based organization helping to spur the adoption of emerging healthcare technologies that address community and safety net needs. The technology is here, as is the buy-in from health systems, and so – the future is bright, and healthy.
4. Biotech. Beyond health tech, advances in life sciences are also happening here. The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus partners with the Fitzsimmons Innovation Community, which hosts approximately 70 companies with 750 employees and $800 million in grants. Centennial-based AlloSource is the leading manufacturer of fresh cartilage tissue. Centennial-based Cochlear is a global leader in implantable hearing solutions. This industry, again, requires highly skilled workers.
5. FinTech. FinTech, or financial technology, involves any application of technology in the financial services sector. According to Forbes: “FinTech is coming to represent technologies that are disrupting traditional financial services, including mobile payments, money transfers, loans, fundraising, and asset management.” And it’s very present in Denver South.
Western Union, which recently celebrated 155 years in Denver, runs an accelerator program for emerging banking technologies in partnership with Boulder-based TechStars. The program is designed to help entrepreneurs create innovative solutions to pressing challenges in the finance industry “including ML/AI, crypto and blockchain technologies, analytics and omni-channel platforms while leveraging the creative and agile thinking of some of the fintech industries brightest minds.”
Emerging financial technology companies are also setting up shop here. In early April 2019, ScaleFactor, an innovative finance and accounting platform, opened its second national office in downtown Denver. According to company founder and CEO, Kurt Rathmann, “Denver has evolved into a tech mecca, and we are excited to return to the roots of the company and be a part of the city’s booming market.”
The most important trend across industries will be to continue thinking about old things in new ways, leveraging the technology to make it happen. Denver South is well situated to meet that challenge.