The chance to be mentored and supported by some of the top entrepreneurial minds in the Boulder community is an opportunity many don’t have the chance to grab. Through an extremely competitive application process, students in the New Venture Launch (NVL) class can expand their network, get funding, and have access to tools to launch their businesses. Last week, I listened to the pitches of the six companies participating in NVL. The first thing I noticed was the energy, passion, and tenacity of these teams. These students are determined to make their vision a reality, and I left feeling more inspired than ever!
Led by the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship’s Faculty Director Brad Werner and Program Manager Betsy Klein, New Venture Launch helps students to drive their startup’s success. Teams receive valuable entrepreneurship insights, mentoring, pitch coaching, introductions to industry experts, and the chance to pitch for seed funding. They also receive guidance to compete in the University of Colorado Boulder’s New Venture Challenge (NVC), where student businesses pitch for $100,000 in funding. Last year, three NVL teams made it into the NVC finals!
New Venture Launch has been a highly coveted course since it began in 2019. Originally taught by the Deming Center’s Research Director Jeffrey G. York, students in this class come from an array of disciplines and range from undergraduate to graduate students. Brad Werner mentions that the people in his class are always “entrepreneurial-minded students ready to test their skills and make an impact.”
For this specific class, these brilliant students were pitching their companies for funding for the first time. It was incredible to see their grit, how knowledgeable they are in their industries, and how passionate they are about growing their companies. Here is a summary of each venture below.
Adapted Skin Care
Ideally, skincare routines should be tailored to unique individual needs. This is what brought together Christina Spruiell, Jacob Betts, and Sravya Karumanchi of Adapted Skin Care. They formulate unique routines specifically based on your skin’s needs including over 16 individual factors, such as age, local climate, lifestyle, and pre-existing concerns. They plan on utilizing a face-mask system that minimizes user error, and can give you the healthy skin you have always wanted!
Tatanka Ska Ventures
Native Americans face unique financial challenges when starting a business. That’s why founder Desmond Bruguier, along with his team members Charles Msilanga and Liz Compos created Tatanka Ska Ventures, a non-profit venture capital company for Native American ventures. They focus on providing underserved Native American entrepreneurs with capital funding, business education, and connections to experienced entrepreneurs to create economic and social impact.
Forty percent of work in the lighting design industry is full of tedious work, including labeling icons, updating prices, and other meticulous tasks. All to prepare their design proposals, which creates huge delays in the design process. Founder Flynn Hill, along with team members Ruby Martinez, and Benjamin Brandenburger created VizBZ to solve this bottleneck through a centralized software program that automatically syncs and updates projects. This new system saves time and money to create builds faster than ever.
Learning a language can be a challenging goal to achieve because it can be a boring and time-consuming endeavor. LingDisco’s team (founder Evan Baltman, Mitch Hamilton, and Ryan Dennie) found that learning languages became more fun by incorporating music. With LingDisco, users can use music as a more engaging and motivating form of learning a language. By singing or listening along to music, people can immerse themselves in a foreign culture from wherever they are.
Founded by Sristy Agrawal, Mesa Quantum is building the “next generation” of quantum devices, along with team members Cameron Ghia, Ty Silver, and Madeline Maersk Moller. Mesa Quantum is in the process of producing chip-sized atomic clocks to be used in smartphones, computers, and everyday devices. These atomic clocks will allow high bandwidth use, precise GPS navigation, and improved connectivity.
The ticketing industry is broken because of scammers and scalpers. Fangarde founder David Banda, along with team member Lily Wasser, wants to bring control back to the market using blockchain technology and smart contracts. By giving protection to the customer and venue, they’re going to bring back reliability to the ticketing industry.
Brad Werner on Empowering NVL Students
Brad is passionate about helping students through the whole start-up process. He notes that
“I’ve spent my career building successful businesses. This is my first year offering my experience to CU Boulder students where my whole focus is on launching viable businesses and helping them move forward.
I love seeing the passion our students have for solving social issues with startups. This class gives them the foundation to generate tremendous impact.”
New Venture Launch class is made possible thanks to generous support from the Intuitive Foundation. We look forward to seeing how the teams progress through their founder journeys throughout the semester. As always, the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship will continue to provide updates on our social media so make sure to keep up with us there! This year we are hoping the NVC winner is an NVL team.