Colorado Thought Leaders Forum is thrilled to be celebrating five years as a partner of Denver ScaleUp Network (DenSUN), an annual post-accelerator program developed by Denver Economic Development & Opportunity (DEDO) in partnership with CTLF and Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network (BEN). DenSUN is a six-month intensive training program for selected local startups looking to achieve their next level of growth. This March, CTLF welcomed 18 new emerging CEOs to the 2022 DenSUN cohort. Each selected company has demonstrated innovation and success in their initial capital raising and are on the precipice of accelerated growth. At the heart of CTLF is the belief that great leaders are critical to building great companies, and CTLF supports the DenSUN cohort with programming from our Leadership Growth Experience curriculum, helping the CEOs explore and expand their leadership style and develop rich relationships.

Since its inception five years ago, DenSUN has grown from an initial cohort of six firms to having helped more than 60 local startups, of which 65% have been owned or led by women, indigenous persons, or persons of color. Past participants have influenced the creation of over 480 jobs and raised more than $63 million in capital after participating in the program. One of DenSUN’s core competencies is the facilitation of connections between participants, seasoned leaders, and funding sources. Nearly all participants have remained in Denver and there is a very low failure rate among companies completing the program.

CEO of Applt Ventures, Amanda Moriuchi, completed the DenSUN program in 2020, joining CTLF shortly thereafter in 2021. As a CTLF program member and Board of Advisor, Amanda attributes much of her company’s success to CTLF:

CTLF got me through the darkest time of my professional career, and I know I wouldn’t be here without the support, guidance, and connections I received from this organization. Managing a growing Denver team and four global teams during the period of the pandemic, all while dealing with isolation away from my community, raising a toddler, and being married to a first responder was at times untenable. CTLF and their members gave me the strength to carry on despite seemingly insurmountable odds. Now that we are on the other side of those struggles, my company is thriving.

In the last 2.5 years, AppIt Ventures has experienced tenfold revenue growth—400% in the last year alone. This year, AppIt earned recognition as the top custom software app developer in Colorado, was listed in the top 10% nationally, and Amanda was named a finalist for APEX CEO of the Year in both 2020 and 2021. This is a powerful story of success thanks to the hard work and perseverance of Amanda and her team, and is an inspiring example of what is possible with the support and partnership of a community of heart-led leaders and companies.

CTLF is very proud of our partnership with DenSUN and the impact it has had on its participants over the last five years, not to mention the Colorado economy. Since 2009, CTLF has been committed to supporting and empowering the entrepreneurial spirit and business leaders like Amanda. We look forward to growing our thought leader community and expanding that impact in the next five years.