Entrepreneurs Unplugged with Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO JPMorgan Chase

Welcome, and welcome to the University of Colorado Boulder campus. We are so glad to have you for this thought-provoking and enlightening discussion with Jamie Dimon, Nancy Phillips and Brad Feld. I’m so pleased that Brad serves on my Advisory Council. Let’s give our very distinguished panelists a hand.

Our panel will be fully introduced momentarily.

I would like to acknowledge three other members of my Advisory Council who are in the audience today.

  • Rob Strain, president of Ball Aerospace
  • Earl Wright, Chair of the Board, AMG National Trust Bank
  • Dan Caruso, chairman and CEO of Zayo Group

We are honored that Mr. Dimon and J.P. Morgan Chase Bank asked us to host this important discussion on the value of entrepreneurship to the nation’s economic fabric.

I think it is appropriate that we be your host today because this campus is a growing national leader in entrepreneurship.

When Mr. Dimon and Chase proposed this event they said they wanted to define entrepreneurship to include financial empowerment, creating better talent, fill the skills gap and growing merging and small companies. I’m pleased to say that at CU-Boulder we are very involved and successful in all those things. That’s one reason why Forbes magazine last week named us the No. 18 most entrepreneurial university in the nation.

How does a university become a top 20 entrepreneurial university? Certainly with educational programming, experiential learning, innovative students and faculty, and the ability to take an idea to commercialization.

But just as important: it requires a pervasive entrepreneurial culture and mindset across the entire campus, in all disciplines.

Let me give you a couple of very recent examples. Four days ago, six teams of CU-Boulder student entrepreneurs pitched their technologies and start-up companies to potential investors at our Catalyze CU Demo Day, which is an accelerator program designed to help students and faculty launch start-up companies and develop innovative technologies. Their ideas ranged form online legal consultation to hybrid vehicle conversion kits for developing countries.

A week ago, we announced a new wear-able technology developed by two doctoral students in the computer science department that has been optioned to the Boulder company, gaugewear Incorporated.

It allows you to tap on clothing to direct your mobile device. One application that comes to mind around here is that you can use your mobile device while you are skiing without getting it out of your pocket. The students debuted it at last year’s New Venture Challenge, our cross-campus entrepreneurship competition. This idea started as a two-week research project for a class.

The New Venture Challenge and Catalyze CU are just two program on campus. We have a portfolio of more than a dozen entrepreneurial programs, competitions and labs that can be accessed by students from business to music to engineering.

Our latest effort is the Entrepreneurs in Residence program. This is being piloted this fall by CU-Boulder’s Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship to bring mentorship to students and allow entrepreneurs — domestically and around the world — to be part of Colorado’s vibrant start-up community.

This entrepreneurial atmosphere shows itself regularly in the innovation of our students and graduates. Nathan Seidle founded SparkFun Electronics in Boulder while he was an undergraduate student in electrical engineering. SparkFun is an online retail store that sells parts for electronics projects and today, Nathan has 150 employees.

While not every graduate forms their own company, the entrepreneurial mindset of the campus produces graduates who can be an asset to any company through innovation, problem solving or creative thinking.

This spirit of innovation is not confined to our students. I have to give a quick nod to our faculty. Two weeks ago we announced that our faculty researchers were part of a team that developed a wireless device the width of a human hair that can be implanted in the brain and activated by remote control to delver drugs to treat pain, depression, epilepsy and other neurological disorders.

In fact, CU technologies have been the basis of 27 new companies in the last five years. 65 of the 82 companies formed based on CU-Boulder technologies over the past two decades are still operational.

It’s notable that a couple of years ago the Brookings Institution listed Boulder among the Top 5 cities nationwide for patent production, and Bloomberg BusinessWeek recently ranked Boulder No. 1 for start-ups.

Brookings links the presence of a research university, a highly educated and scientifically-trained workforce, and an environment of collaboration to a community’s innovation quotient. We have all that in Boulder, and we are proud to be a part of it.

Introduction of Erik Mitisek, CEO Colorado Technology Association

Now, I would like to introduce a key player who helps bring this spirit of innovation together in Colorado.

Erik Mitisek is the chief executive officer of the Colorado Technology Association, ensuring that Colorado is one of the best technology markets in the United States.

He represents Colorado’s technology industry through public policy and legislative efforts, economic development and industry relations.

Throughout his career, Erik has been dedicated to building companies and communities in Colorado for 15 years in the online software, luxury, consumer mobile, and online real estate industries.

In 2010, he co-founded his most recent company, Next Great Place, a premium online travel network.

Erik has been helping build the Denver startup community since 1999 and today is co-chair of Startup Colorado. In addition, it is my pleasure to serve with him as a board member on Gov. Hickenlooper’s Colorado Innovation Network.

Erik is on a mission to help make Colorado the most recognized innovation and technology center between the coasts, and he is passionate about helping develop world-class talent to take us there.

Please welcome Erik Mitisek, CEO of the Colorado Technology Association.