Dear Silicon Flatirons Friends and Supporters,
The spirit of entrepreneurship is infectious along the Front Range. It’s also clearly a vital part of the CU Boulder experience. Last Thursday was a special night that highlighted, as our Entrepreneurship Initiative Director Brad Bernthal likes to say, “No one goes it alone.” More than 250 people crowded into the Wittemyer Courtroom to watch the NVC 9 Championship. This year’s NVC involved a record 82 companies. Five companies, boasting some of CU Boulder’s most innovative ideas, took the Championship stage. An energetic audience got to hear from the companies that garnered the lion’s share of the NVC 9’s $100,000 in prizes.
Top honors went to Give & Go, the creator of an automated film-editing platform for sports teams and coaches that is 72x faster than the competition. The undergrads running the company are in talks with CU’s basketball team to use the software. Give & Go received $66,000 total in prizes from NVC, including a $50,000 convertible note offered by Anchor Point Foundation (Brad Feld and Amy Batchelor) and The Caruso Foundation (Dan and Cindy Caruso) for being deemed the “Most Fundable Company.” I’m thrilled to write that next year the NVC 10’s Most Fundable Company prize will rise to $100,000!
ReForm took home second place and a total of $21,500 in cash, plus $2,500 through in-kind services. They’ve developed an adjustable socket that continues to fit an amputee patient as a limb changes in shape over time. The company has targeted South Africa for its initial efforts. ReForm also won the new Audience Choice Award and the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Social Impact Prizes. This team is onto a powerful idea.
Gigsicians, a company that teaches music students how to launch their careers and connects these musicians with event planners, took home third place and a total of $12,000, including an unexpected “bonus” prize: a $5,000 cash announcement from Jason Mendelson, one of the night’s judges. The Bedtime Box and PerfectFit tied for fourth place, with teams taking home $4,500 and $3,500 respectively.
The NVC is an extraordinary collaboration of partners across the campus, mentors, company sponsors, and student volunteers. Next year, the campus’s new Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative will take over the responsibility of running the NVC. Silicon Flatirons will remain in a leadership role by running the IT track. For more about the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative on campus and my role as Faculty Director, you can read my article here.
From my vantage point as Executive Director, I am proud of the role that Silicon Flatirons has played as a co-founder and cultivator of the NVC. Over the years, our Fellows served a critical function as NVC Director. Kudos to current Fellow Dave Camerucci for his great work with and leadership of NVC 9. Brad Bernthal provided steady vision and energetic leadership (to say nothing of unusual team introductions and attire) as a faculty liaison. Our Managing Director Anna Noschese does a ton each year behind the NVC scenes. And the Silicon Flatirons staff has made a variety of contributions along the way. We are excited to see and be part of the NVC’s growth as it moves to the campus level.