About Erik Mitisek

I BELIEVE IN
GRIT [grit]

STARTING UP BACKGROUND

Erik is a builder.  A Colorado native, raised on the Western Slope, he was spoiled with all all that Colorado had to offer, just within hours from his childhood home.  He loved Colorado so much, he never left - and now is deeply committed and inspired to developing Colorado into THE innovation hub between the coasts.  Whether building companies or community, both are integral in creating the innovation ecosystem of tomorrow.  Erik lives in the white space in life and connects ideas to create reality.

Currently, his latest project is he is the President of Imagine Analytics within IMA Financial Group - working to build the future of insurance.  Imagine Analytics is working to deepen relationships between brokers and markets partners, digitally.  Imagine is early, but ambitious - stay tuned!

Prior to that, Erik Mitisek was the founding Executive Director of Project X-ITE at the University of Denver – a campus wide cross-discipline initiative at the intersection of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Technology to fuel the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders on campus.  Launched in 2016, Project X-ITE is a startup within the University and is the front door to industry connecting students and faculty to Colorado innovation at DU.  As an alum, who had a company while in school as an undergraduate, Erik had always had visions for entrepreneurial resources on campus to help those starting up, and was honored to be asked to help create it. 

In March 2016, Governor John H. Hickenlooper appointed Mitisek to serve as Chief Innovation Officer of the State of Colorado, which responsibilities include overseeing the the Colorado Innovation Network (COIN), an initiative the Governor started in 2011, and assist Team Hick in the areas of innovation and technology.  

Previously, Mitisek was the CEO of the Colorado Technology Association (CTA) where he led and represented Colorado’s technology industry through key public policy, legislative efforts, economic development and industry relations to ensure Colorado is one of the best technology markets in the United States.  The association’s  45 person board represents the best of Colorado technology and over 50% of the IT workforce in the state.  While at CTA, he led the creation of the Colorado Technology Foundation, Colorado Tech Tour, Digital Colorado, and was the driving force to create the Commons on Champa with the Downtown Denver Partnership. 

 Fruita, Colorado Circa 1993

Fruita, Colorado Circa 1993

  ****We would recite this before every soccer game in High School.  I still recite it today.

****We would recite this before every soccer game in High School.  I still recite it today.

Throughout his career, Mitisek has been dedicated to building companies and communities in Colorado which has spanned over 15 years in the online software, luxury, consumer mobile, and online real estate industries.

In 2010, Mitisek co-founded Next Great Place, a premium online travel network backed by Trinity Ventures, to help online travelers easily book complex vacations online.

Prior to Next Great Place, he served as CEO of an online software company Claremont Information Systems, led firm-wide business development and strategic relationships for Exclusive Resorts (a Revolution Company) and helped build XACT Radio, a world-class personalized online music company early in the 2000s.  XACT Radio was Pandora - a decade too soon!

To volunteer, Mitisek has been involved in and helping to build Denver and the startup community since 1999. He served on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Technology Association, was a Founder Institute mentor, was an Advisory Board member for the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship, alumni of  Leadership Denver Class of 2006, was a Techstars mentor, and served as Co-Chair and on the Advisory Board of Startup Colorado.

Currently, Mitisek currently serves as Co-Chairman of the Quarterly Forum (QF) an organization devoted to cultivating the leaders of tomorrow in Colorado, today.  QF is also home to The Governors Fellowship, The McKinsey Academy and The Governors Medals of Citizenship Award programs.


From 2012 to 2017, Mitisek solely dedicated time to helping build the Colorado innovation community.  He wanted to operate non-profit and community organizations at startup speed and here is a timeline of some the programs he started up:

 In 2012, as a founder and co-chair, Mitisek led the successful organization of the initial group of leaders that created Denver Startup Week, which was the first and largest event of its kind celebrating entrepreneurship in Denver. In 2017, the program attracted over 19,000+ attendees and was recognized as the largest “free” startup event in the United States.  Today, he still helps lead the organization and serves as a co-organizer.

In 2013, in search of a platform to connect entrepreneurs digitally in Colorado, Mitisek recruited and helped launch BuiltinColorado, now the largest hub for startups and technology Colorado with over 50K+ members.

In 2014, while at CTA, Mitisek was instrumental in forming, capitalizing and launching the Colorado Technology Foundation and the Startup Colorado Community Fund.  Together, they accounted for over $300K in community funding to support talent development, workforce, startups and innovation in Colorado.

In 2015, Mitisek was a founder and partner in leading the development of The Commons on Champa - a 20,000 sq. ft. haven and resource center for those “starting up” and building companies in Colorado.  Within one year, The Commons had served over 17,500 visitors and hosted over 200+ events to further innovation and entrepreneurship in Denver.

In 2016, along with Governor Hickenlooper and key leaders, Mitisek helped lead the development and launch of the National Cyber Intelligence Center – a statewide project and initiative – located in Colorado Springs.

In 2017, grew Project X-ITE @ DU to scale producing over 60+ events in the first year and created and launched the Colorado Universities Innovation Council.

When not starting up, Mitisek can also be found serving on boards as the Co-Chairman of Quarterly Forum, as a Trustee for the Mile High United Way and founder and Board Member of the Good Wood Club.

Since 1999, Mitisek has been on a mission to help make Colorado the most recognized innovation and entrepreneurial center between the coasts. 

Today, we are closer to that vision than ever.


Every dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
— Harriet Tubman

NICE THINGS FOR STARTING UP

  • 2011 PhocusWright Class of 35 - Global Travel Innovator
  • 2012 Top 25 Young Professional of the Year, ColoradoBiz Magazine
  • 2013 Best New Program of the Year - Denver Startup Week
  • 2013 Entrepreneur Community Leader of the Year, Colorado Capital Conference
  • 2014 David E. Bailey Award for Small Business Advocacy, DMCC
  • 2014 Denver Business Journal Power Book Technology Leader