Propeller Aero started out in 2014 in Sydney, Australia, where both our co-founders, Francis Vierboom and Rory San Miguel, were born and raised. While we are a worldwide company, we get many questions about why we chose Denver, Colorado, for our US headquarters. The answer is actually pretty straightforward.
When planning our expansion, we considered a number of US cities in addition to Denver, including New York City, Austin, Chicago, and Portland. But the numbers don’t lie: Denver gave the best balance of location and quality of life. But let’s dive deeper into factors affecting this big decision.
Interior of Propeller Denver office.
Our partnership with Trimble
When we partnered with Trimble, the global leader in positioning technologies, in 2017, we wanted to be nearby for better collaboration and access. While Trimble’s corporate headquarters are in California, their large campus here in Colorado is barely 20 minutes away from Propeller’s office.
Time zone balance and centrality
We’re a tight-knit team, if spread out. Being able to collaborate with colleagues is essential. With a majority of our team in Sydney, we needed to be cognizant of the large time difference. Denver is eight hours off from Sydney, which is actually pretty good. It’s also a reasonable flight time to get from Sydney to Denver, with an average flying time of about 17 hours. This is compared with 21 hours to New York or 18 hours to Texas.
Further, Denver strikes a locational balance between our Sydney office and the remote workforce we have spread out over the globe, which includes people in the Philippines, New York, Sweden, the Netherlands, California, and Poland. (Basically, someone at Propeller is always working.)
Industry and partners
Unlike other cities popping up on the tech scene in recent years as the San Francisco Bay area’s primacy wanes, Denver does tech and serves the aggregates, waste management, mining, and construction industries, which are our bread and butter.
There’s a lot of industry research and universities nearby, too, thanks to institutions like the Colorado School of Mines, Trimble, NOAA, and others, which is great for our talent pool and future partners. Colorado itself is a big mining hub and undergoing a huge new wave of construction, projects for which Propeller is designed to help better measure and manage.
Quality of life
The last, and perhaps undersung, reason is Denver’s excellent quality of life. It has a great cost-of-living index compared to similar sized cities, coming in more affordable than the majority of locations we were considering. In the US, it currently ranks 14th for expense. (San Francisco is the most expensive.)
Further, Denver’s sunny weather can’t be beat. It’s a growing tech center with lots of amazing talent. It’s got all the activities you’d want to do on the weekend, from hiking to skiing to exploring new breweries, in addition to low average commute times and good walkability.
Altogether, we knew there was no better place to launch Propeller’s US office.
Want to join our team in Denver? We are hiring!