Published: Sept. 11, 2019 By

Richard Branson, founder, investor, philanthropist, and casual King of Marketing once said, “The best way to learn about anything is by doing.”

Deming Center Venture Fund membersFor the student members of the Deming Center Venture Fund (DCVF), nothing could be more true.

DCVF is a graduate student-run investment fund, providing real capital to real companies in the community. The combined team of Business, Law and Engineering graduate students both learn by application and contribute to the health and growth of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The fund is pleased to share news of its two newest portfolio additions and four newest members.

Portfolio Update 

Pepper

Pepper is a women’s bra company and the first brand to design products specifically for women with small chests.

Founded and launched by Jaclyn Fu and Lia Winograd in 2017 as a Kickstarter campaign, this Denver-based company reached its initial goal of $10,000 within 10 hours. Pepper champions both body positivity and sustainable business practices.

“We started with bras, but we’re building so much more,” says founder Fu. “The Small Squad is our community of women banding together, celebrating each other, and conquering body stereotypes once and for all.”

The company works exclusively with a socially responsible manufacturer in beautiful Medellin, Columbia, Winograd’s hometown. The partners prioritize quality craftsmanship, fair wages, offer benefits, and opportunities to women.

Since DCVF’s investment in December 2018, Pepper has experienced massive quarter-over-quarter growth, tripling its customer base and gross sales. Other metrics such as average customer value and website conversion rate are trending positive.

DCVF is extremely excited to partner with such a socially responsible, body-positive, and economically promising startup.

TermScout

TermScout, founded by CU Alumnus Otto Hanson, is a legal-tech company that helps people and businesses understand the contracts they sign.

The company offers reviews of common consumer contracts for free to people, and provides a suite of services to businesses, including reports on other company’s contracts, consulting services to help companies compete on the basis of their contracts, and certification services to help promote companies with fair contracts.

TermScout officially launched in August of 2019, selling reports on the top five leading cloud providers. The reports summarize the key contractual concepts, such as data security, warranties, and confidentiality, and TermScout’s comprehensive cloud industry report compares the contracts across the top five providers.  You can read the high level summary of their findings here.

DCVF is in full-support of this alumni-founded, full transparency company with a passion for supporting businesses.

Member Update

Associates Amelia Black, Brendon Bourgea, Carl Mueller, and Theland Thomas joined the fund in the spring 2019 semester. 

Amelia Black joined the Techstars legal team in April and works to guide founders through formation, financing, and exit. Amelia began working with entrepreneurs as the Co-Leader of the New Venture Challenge IT Track, a competition where young entrepreneurs pitch their business concept and compete to win over $200,000 in funding for their ventures. She is also a student attorney in the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic and is an executive member of the Barristers Counsel Transactional Division. In her free time, Amelia enjoys biking, skiing, kayaking, and playing with her rambunctious dog, Jack.

As an Aerospace Engineering Master's student, Brendon Bourgea spent his summer working for a small aerospace research and development company fulfilling NASA solicitations. In addition to his technical background, Bourgea possesses entrepreneurial experience in the telecommunications industry as one of three employees at a software startup that led him abroad to Brazil. By joining DCVF, he is looking to round out his combined experience in finance, business and engineering with a valuable introduction into the field of Venture Capital. Bourgea enjoys the Colorado outdoors, spending most weekends camping, hiking or skiing.

Carl Mueller is a third year PhD student in the Computer Science department focused on developing intelligent robotic systems. Specifically, Mueller’s research focuses on developing techniques that enable non-expert users the means to teach a companion robot how to perform a skill. Mueller is also a seasoned software developer and co-founder of his own software company. He hopes that his background and experience in tech will enhance the DCVF's ability to pick successful ventures in an environment heavily dominated by tech (and tech-based) startups. This summer, Mueller worked as an RA, software developer and consultant for the Boulder-based cyber security company Circadence developing automated 'pen-testing' software for military customers.

Theland Thomas is a second-year student at Colorado Law. He spent his summer working at Holland & Hart, engaging in commercial litigation and real estate projects. In the past, Thomas assisted the family business with small-scale real estate investing. He joined DCVF to gain perspective and experience in the venture capitalist community. In his free time, Theland enjoys listening to music, hiking, and cooking.

With the 2019 fall semester underway, DCVF is already off to the races, sourcing, analyzing, and performing due diligence on local companies.

Interested in our help? For entrepreneurs looking for funding, expertise, or more information, please contact the graduate team at contact@cudcvf.org.