If you’ve ever thought about being an entrepreneur, you must have heard of (and perhaps dreamt of) TechStars. TechStars gets thousands of applications per program and selects around 12 teams to participate. It’s a great experience for the participants, and often leads to investment rounds and great things. But here’s a little secret for you… If you are a student at CU, you are already in TechStars Boulder. Well, not exactly. You didn’t get $18,000. But what you do have is almost everything else, which is much more than the thousand applicants that didn’t make the cut. And the “everything else” is almost entirely free and waiting for you right now.
The big wrapper for all of this is the CU New Venture Challenge. It’s billed as a cross-campus entrepreneurship championship, but it’s much more than that. It can be the incubator for your dream, or a practice run to get the flavor of being an entrepreneur. It’s an opportunity to experience the entrepreneurial process entirely-risk free. For the cost of admission, which is nothing more than a few minutes to fill out an online form, you get connected to mentors, presentations, and workshops.
Because you’re here in Boulder, you’re already in the middle of of the best city for startups. What’s more, the entrepreneurs in this town who support TechStars, Startup Weekends, Incubators, and rest of the ecosystem are the same people who support the grassroots efforts at CU to become an entrepreneurial university. Already this semester, you’ve had the opportunity to see talks by TechStars mentor Howard Diamond, serial entrepreneur Andre Durand, d.school professor John Kembel, and countless others. If you haven’t gotten involved yet, now is the time. You can still learn from Zach Nies (you may have heard about his company’s $84 million IPO last year?), Larry Gold, Nicole Glaros (yes, from TechStars), Jason Haislmaier, and more.
So regardless of your major or your career goals, make the most of being in this amazing place! It may be that one of the best parts of your college experience is entirely cost & risk free!
So follow some of these links and get to work! (Oh, and after the NVC championship, by all means go ahead and apply for TechStars. Because, despite my sales pitch, I understand there’s nothing quite as awesome as going through TechStars.)
There are dozens more links and organizations waiting for you, but it’s time for me to get back to my day job.
Updated 2/6: Nichole just announced the TechStars schedule for Boulder, and the dates line up well with NVC. Make the most of the next few weeks; your competition for the program might include some of your mentors (hint hint hint).