To kick off the 2020 Innovation After Hours speaker series, attendees at the February event heard a keynote address from Samson Jagoras, Chief Strategy Officer for Madwire – a company that is one of Fort Collins’ top private employers and drove $18M to our local GDP last year.

Samson discussed their major expansions, technology jobs that drive people to our area, and how Madwire is dedicated to attracting tech companies to our region and growing high-paying jobs right here in our own backyard. If you missed the talk, you can watch a video of Samson’s presentation below!

Innosphere is hosting this monthly event series titled, “The Future of Tech in Northern Colorado” in order to give experts and executives an opportunity to express their diverse opinions about the Northern Colorado economy. Each month, a different keynote will speak to opportunities and challenges in businesses – large and small. Future presenters include Hach, City of Fort Collins, Advanced Energy, Colorado State University, a panel of artificial intelligence experts, and others.

Each month, business leaders giving the keynote will:

  • present their point of view on the local tech ecosystem,
  • explain the data behind their views
  • be direct and transparent with their insights, and
  • identify opportunities for our region.

Innovation After Hours is always held on the second Thursday of each month from 4:00 – 6:00 pm at Innosphere in Fort Collins.

Below is an outline recap of February’s kick-off event which was keynoted by Madwire.
All the views and opinions expressed by keynote speakers of the Innovation After Hours series are not intended to be the same thoughts of the host organization or event sponsor.

About Madwire:

  • Helping small businesses grow and thrive
  • Businesses fail due to lack of marketing or marketing innovation
  • A combination of technology with small businesses can create unparalleled growth that increases jobs and the talent pool in Northern Colorado.
    • SMBs + In-Demand Technology jobs = Local Economic Impact + Growth

Madwire – in the beginning:

  • After three months of intense research and development, JB and Joe Kellogg started Madwire, bootstrapping for the next three years.
  • They quickly outgrew multiple offices and now reside in Fort Collins
    • Expanded from a 2-person company to having over 600 employees.
    • Their product, Marketing 360, is an all-encompassing marketing platform designed to help small businesses grow their brand

Challenge we face in Northern Colorado:

  • The biggest challenge in Northern Colorado is talent and income growth.
  • There aren’t enough high-paying jobs, which causes us to lose talent to large MSAs
    • Students want to stay but can’t because there aren’t enough jobs in their desired fields and/or they don’t pay well enough.

Why we need a solution:

  • We are too focused on growth.
    • Our resources are growing as fast as our costs.
  • Need to shift our focus from growth to
    • If we can increase income by creating the right types of jobs, then we can outpace the cost of living.
  • We are committed to the mission, but not acting.
    • We lack a clear vision for economic development.


  • Focus on attracting small companies to make Northern Colorado their home.
    • Small businesses make up 70% of the US GDP
    • Small businesses are extremely important, as there are 30.2 million small businesses, compared to only 16,055 large companies in the US.
  • Focus on attracting small business technology companies to make Northern Colorado their home.
  • Talent and income growth will be a thing of the past.
  • We need leadership at scale.
  • If we solidify the vision of our future, come together as a community and take massive action towards this goal, nothing can stop us.


Upcoming Innovation After Hours in the 2020 speaker series:

Thursday, March 12th:


Thursday, April 9th:


Thursday, May 14th:


Thursday, June 11th:


Thursday, July 9th:


Thursday, August 13th:


Thursday, September 10th:


Thursday, October 8th:


Thursday, December 10th: