Last night I was invited to attended the Catalyze CU-Boulder Demo Day by my friend who was on one of the teams. I had only knew about his company and idea and was eager to learn about the others. The event was wonderfully organized and hosted right on campus at the ATLAS building. The Atlas building is also home to the Technology arts and Media (TAM) program, offering a more technical set of classes to CU students. The pitch decks were beautiful and not too information packed and all the presenters did an awesome job. The companies ranged from “redefining the plastics industry, to creating social impact and selling outrageously themed clothing” according the pamphlet. All of the companies worked extremely hard to get to where they were for Demo Day and had a clear path on future growth and goals.
During the opening remarks, it was mentioned that CU-Boulder recently ranked #19 on Startup Schools: America’s Most Entrepreneurial Universities. The article noted that CU-Boulder got a $4 million grant from Blackstone Group to build an entrepreneurs network for the state. This is most notably apparent on the home Catalyze CU-Boulder’s website; The Equity Free Accelerator. This is one of many ways CU is really starting to ramp up entrepreneurial efforts and hopefully the beginning’s of a bridge between all the startup activities going on in downtown boulder to campus. Silicon Flatirons is another awesome way CU is bridging the gap by hosting numerous entrepreneurial events and discussions over at the Wolf Law building. Wolf Law is also home to CU’s New Venture Challenge (NVC), which has many different facets to it and has great explanation on their own website linked to above. The NVC Competition is “a unique venue to “pitch” your idea to actual entrepreneurs and investors while competing for a cash prize. A great way to gain exposure!” I have attended this event before and it is amazing to hear all these crazy ideas come together under one roof. Oh yeah, how could I forget about Spark Boulder, our very own co-working space for students! I personally helped build furniture in Spark only a night or two before their big launch last spring. Since then the space has really flourished and has hosted too many cool events to even talk about. Some of those events have been; Fireside chats, CU-Boulder Startup Weekend, Catalyze CU-Boulder, Career Fairs and more! It is great to have a place on the hill to hang out with other entrepreneurial junkies and other students building their own business.
Needless to say, entrepreneurial things are happening here in Boulder and more recently on the CU-Boulder campus. I didn’t really dive into the scene on campus or in Boulder until my junior year, after running a small business of my own for a whole year before that. I am grateful for my experience but wished I would have engaged earlier and taken advantage of what was going on all four years instead of my last two.