Nikki Minzenmayer is the CEO of KartWheel - a specialized transportation company established to transport students with disabilities from their homes to specific buildings on campus. The idea for KartWheel came to Nikki when she was taking an Entrepreneurship class at Leeds with Brad Warner. The class simulated a startup accelerator, and each student was asked to pitch an idea. After hearing all the pitches, seven would be chosen as the most viable options.
Nikki’s inspiration for her pitch - now KartWheel - came from her roommate who had a torn ACL at the time. “My roommate was complaining about how difficult it was to get to class with her injury. I thought, ‘What about a service to help get her to class?’”. And so, KartWheel was born. Nikki’s pitch was chosen by her classmates as one of the seven, and from that point she was able to establish a solid team and begin to bring KartWheel to life.
“Brad has been really awesome. Helping our team and as a personal mentor. I also found that the entrepreneurship trek to Austin was pivotal for me. Talking to entrepreneurs and listening to what they had to say was super inspiring. That experience will definitely stick with me.”
Competing in the New Venture Challenge
“After we received some validation from our classmates, we decided to take KartWheel beyond the classroom. We had heard about the New Venture Challenge from Brad and other faculty around Leeds.” As of Tuesday night, Nikki and KartWheel’s co-founder, Nathan DePuy, competed and won the NVC General Track Finals and will compete in the Championship on April 3. KartWheel is looking to establish itself at CU, expand to other schools within Colorado, and eventually be on campuses nationwide.
Favorite part of being an entrepreneur
“I really enjoy the excitement of it. I always get a little overwhelmed, but I think I have become addicted to that feeling. Every little win feels so good. You’re an artist and your business is your art.”
Nikki describes herself as very actionable. If there is something she needs to get done, she will do it. Her drive and her ambition have allowed for her successes in the entrepreneurial environment. She also accredits her optimism and resilience for allowing her to continue to pursue her goals, even when difficulties arise. The biggest challenge of buildin a business? “I underestimated my own naivety. You take a big step forward and then a few steps back all the time. You just have to keep on keeping on because you dont know whats next. I’ll get one thing done and add five more things to the to do list.”
“You can’t sit around and wait for things to happen to you, you have to make them happen… Action creates action”
One piece of advice
“If your dreams aren’t scaring you they aren’t big enough. I know it sounds cheesy but it’s easy to play it safe and stick to what’s comfortable. Don’t be afraid to have big dreams.”