Entrepreneurs Unplugged

On April 24, 2008, the Silicon Flatirons Center launched Entrepreneurs Unplugged.

On April 24, 2008, the Silicon Flatirons Center launched Entrepreneurs Unplugged. The event brought together students, faculty and community members with technical or business backgrounds and an interest in entrepreneurship. The new Silicon Flatirons series resumes in September and will continue during the 2008-09 school year.

The April 24 meeting was a significant success. It attracted an overflow audience of 100 attendees from across engineering, business and law. Guest entrepreneur Dan Caruso, founder and CEO of the Zayo Group, provided information about his experience as one of the leading technology entrepreneurs in Colorado. Jason Mendelson, Managing Director of the Foundry Group (and a leading venture capital firm) and Robert Reich of Me.dium (who founded and leads the New Tech MeetUp) moderated a question and answer session between the audience and Dan. Other notable guests included Paul Jerde and Steve Lawrence of the Deming Center (the Business School’s entrepreneurship arm) as well as Kurt Smith from the Engineering Management Program, who announced the engineering school’s e-ship program.

In their interview of Dan, Jason and Robert drew upon Dan’s twenty-one years of experience in the telecommunications and Internet industries. He explained the steps he took after graduating college with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering that led him to his recent positions leading successful telecommunications companies. Dan spoke about his most current venture as founder and CEO of Zayo Group, the challenges he faced as CEO building ICG Communications into a profitable and successful company, and his final decision to sell ICG to Level 3. Dan also spoke about his experiences as a founding executive member and officer at Level 3 and his post college years in an executive management program with Ameritech, which is now part of AT&T. In addition to Dan’s work experiences, Jason and Robert explored the topic concerning the present state of entrepreneurism in Boulder today.

Entrepreneur’s Unplugged is notable for helping catalyze activities across disciplines at the University of Colorado. The April event is the first of a monthly series that will resume in approximately the third week of September with Paul Berberian, another successful Colorado entrepreneur, as our guest. Each event will provide different perspectives on how a startup is created and launched as well as on the challenges entrepreneurs face in the process. By so doing, the program will provide students with examples of different career paths that have led to successful entrepreneurial ventures. Moreover, each program will provide an opportunity for students, faculty and community members to establish meaningful networks, thereby helping to galvanize entrepreneurism at the University and in the Boulder community.

If you are a University of Colorado undergraduate and graduate student and are interested in becoming involved in the Entrepreneurs Unplugged student steering committee, please contact Jill Rennert at Jill.Rennert@colorado.edu.

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