Rep. Jared Polis, Local CEOs and Venture Capitalists to Judge Student Entrepreneurs during CSU’s Venture Adventure Challenge May 3

Some of the biggest names in Colorado entrepreneurship will be on hand May 3 to help judge Colorado State University’s Venture Adventure Challenge.

Judges for the student business-pitch competition to be held at Rocky Mountain Innosphere, 320 E. Vine Drive in Fort Collins, include Second District Congressman Jared Polis; Brian Thomas, CEO of Otterbox; Peter Adams, CEO, Rockies Venture Club; Ric Denton, CEO, Colorado Springs Technology Incubator; Erik Mitisek, new CEO of the Colorado Technology Association; Kelly Peters of the Northern Colorado Economic Development Corp., and Brad Florin of Colorado Angel Investors.

A total of 15 judges will evaluate the 20 student teams, first in a semi-final round and then in the finals. The top three teams will receive up to $25,000 in cash and in-kind prizes to help launch their ventures.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the students, who come from all across campus,” said Charisse Bowen, director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship in the CSU College of Business, which is sponsoring the Venture Adventure Challenge. “They will be presenting in front of the very kinds of people, if not the actual people, who they would be pitching in ‘the real world.’”

For this competition, teams are not judged by their business plans, but rather on their ability to present their venture in a compelling and confident manner. Each team will have 10 minutes to present, using no more than 15 slides, followed by 5 minutes of Q&A from the judges.

The competition begins at noon on May 3 at Innosphere, Northern Colorado’s premier business incubator. The first round will conclude at 4 p.m. The top five teams will compete in the final round beginning at 5 p.m. the same day. The winners will be announced at 7 p.m. during the awards banquet and reception.

Sponsors of the Venture Adventure include EKS&H, ASI, Smart2Market, Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons LLP, New Belgium Brewing, and Odell Brewing Co.

The event is free and open to the public; the business community is encouraged to attend. To register, go to

The CSU Hatchery
During the May 3 event, the Institute for Entrepreneurship, CSU Ventures and Innosphere also will be announcing the first participants in an exciting partnership to help successfully launch student startups. The CSU Hatchery is a large office suite at Innosphere. The fully furnished space will house the top three student companies that graduate from the Institute’s Venture Accelerator Immersion Lab, a 16-week intensive track program that engages up to 12 student entrepreneurs and their teams in a hands-on training opportunity focused on launching their new ventures.

The student entrepreneurs will be “client companies” of Innosphere for 12 months while benefitting from all the services and programs that come with the affiliation. Innosphere is currently home to nearly three dozen startups working in cleantech, bioscience and technology, including six CSU Ventures portfolio companies based on CSU innovations, and CSU Hatchery companies will be able to interact with these entrepreneurs on a daily basis.

The partnership also includes other local businesses and organizations on campus. The Hatchery offices have been furnished through a generous donation from Officescapes in Fort Collins, and office supplies are provided by the CSU Bookstore.

For more information or to find out how to participate in The Hatchery, go to the Institute’s website,, or contact Bowen at 970-491-2737 or

About the CSU Institute for Entrepreneurship
The Institute for Entrepreneurship in the Colorado State University College of Business is working to make entrepreneurship education and training available to the entire CSU community. The Institute is ideally positioned to make a significant impact in fostering venture creation and commercialization for all innovation emerging from the University. Through a strong cross-campus collaborative initiative, the Institute for Entrepreneurship helps foster an entrepreneurial environment in all eight of CSU’s colleges.

About CSU Ventures
CSU Ventures Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation that is dedicated to the business of technology transfer and commercialization at Colorado State University, bringing innovations and technologies discovered at CSU into the marketplace for the benefit of society. With expertise in intellectual property, licensing, partnership-building, and entrepreneurship, CSU Ventures protects, manages and transfers CSU innovations by connecting individuals and companies with University researchers. CSU Ventures serves as a resource not only to CSU faculty and researchers, but also to industry, entrepreneurs, and investors seeking to further research or commercialize a technology. The work of CSU Ventures results in new products, businesses, and jobs that positively impact economic growth for Colorado and society as a whole.

For more information, go to

About Rocky Mountain Innosphere
Rocky Mountain Innosphere is a 501(c)3 nonprofit technology incubator located in Fort Collins, Colorado, formed to accelerate the success of high-impact scientific and technology startup companies and promote the development of a regional entrepreneurial ecosystem in Northern Colorado. Currently, Innosphere provides 34 entrepreneurial startup companies with resources such as assistance with raising capital, access and connections with academic and government institutions, a network of advisors and mentors, discounted professional service providers, and educational and networking opportunities for realizing business success.

For more information, go to