Spark Startups At CU – Spark Boulder

Ben Buie | 9/17/13

I posted about Spark Boulder back in February. Although it had a different name back then, the idea was the same: to bring a space for entrepreneurship at CU. At the time, we had a solid team working to make it happen, but not much else. A lot has changed since then, for the better.

I remember those February days. A small team of myself (student entrepreneur and club leader), Fletcher Richman (student entrepreneur and club leader), Bill Shrum (student entrepreneur), Lexi Winer (student government representative), Alison Peters (director at the Deming Center), and Dan Bruder (community member) would meet every Friday to talk about the business plan, financial models, executive summaries, and sponsorship campaign.

We had a ton of energy, but despite our efforts, we couldn’t find anyone inside the University that would bear the financial risk to create a space. Despite this setback, we kept pushing forward hoping and knowing that someone would step forward.

Enter Archer Bay. Through what seemed like a random set of circumstances, David Cline at Archer Bay contacted Fletcher. He expressed an interests in being our anchor tenant and bearing the financial risk of the lease. Soon the landlord was taking us serious and we were deep in negotiations.

During the lease negotiations we had other sponsors come forward, some community members like Brad Feld (local VC and entrepreneurial thought leader) and Mike Finey (father of a student entrepreneur at CU) and others companies like Pivotal Labs, ArcStone Partners, Sendgrid, Inspirato, Applied Trust, Proto Test. Thanks to these amazing sponsors, we’ve raised 110k and are well on our way to our goal of 150k.

Along the way we had some other amazing volunteers step forward. Jamie Wise, a communications student and leader of Boulder Creatives, is now heading up much of our marketing and design efforts. He is the lead on the open house happening on Thursday, Sep. 26th at 5:30. Click here for more info. Also, Stephanie Bigelow, an architect student, stepped up on the design team to create the architectural designs and drawings. I can’t thank these two enough for their invaluable efforts.

The latest is that we signed the lease a couple weeks ago and are now on track to open November 1st, 2013.

Although we’ve made a lot of progress, we still need your help. If you’re a student entrepreneur, apply for a scholarship to run your startup out of the space. If you’re a community member, think about a sponsorship and let me know.

Live Project Link:

About the Author

Ben currently works as a contract web developer and business consultant in Boulder, Colorado.

His passion for entrepreneurship led him to study business and learn to code. Although he never anticipated working on the web, Ben has spent the past 9 years learning everything he could about building and operating websites and web assets.

When not at work, Ben spends a lot of his time with family. He is married to a “beautiful” woman and they are raising 4 energetic boys. In his spare time he loves keeping up with technology, playing guitar, eating Sweet Cow ice cream, and painting (although he has very little time for painting these days). Other than that, Ben is a supporter of freedom and liberty, a fluent speaker of Russian, and he tries to be a humble follower of Jesus.

Read more about Ben.