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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Startup Summer – Applications Close 2/28

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It’s a daily occurrence that a college student emails me asking how they can get involved in the Boulder startup community or any startup ecosystem. This gets me both excited and sad – excited that another young soul is ready to put their energy into the fray and sad that opportunities for them to do so are not readily available or visible to them.

For those students looking to get involved in Boulder and in Denver, I always point them towards Startup Summer, a program out of Startup Colorado.

I like to describe the program as a 10-week immersion program into this startup community. Just as being complete immersed in a culture is the best way to learn that culture’s a language, being immersed in a startup community is, well, the best way to be a part of that startup community. The program does this through placing a cohort of students at various startups as an internship region, giving these students exposure to the top entrepreneurs and mentors, and providing a set of crash courses on entrepreneurship that allows the students to truly understand the discourse. A sample of companies participating are GnipTeamSnapSendGrid, and Revolv. You can find the full list here.

Startup Summer is in its third year. For the first time, there will be two programs – one in Boulder and one in Denver. All the internships are paid. Application close on February 28, 2014 - go get the last few positions while you can.

Oh, and if you’re a company in Boulder or Denver that wants to participate, ping me at brad@feld.com and we’ll see if we can fit you in this year. If not this year, then the next.

Startup Summer In Boulder

Comments (16)

If your company is interested in joining Startup Summer, please email me and I’ll get you plugged in.

Startup Summer, a new program from Startup Colorado, will bring hard working, passionate college-age entrepreneurs to Boulder to work as summer interns for startup companies. We are looking for a total of 30 Boulder-based early-stage companies to participate as we are going to try to accomodate 30 students from around Colorado in the first year.

In exchange for free housing in CU-Boulder campus dorms, Startup Summer interns will spend the summer in Boulder interning with companies, learning about the world of startups, and building entrepreneurial business skills. We will hold a “meet the applicants” Startup Summer Speed Dating Night in the spring of 2012. At Speed Dating Night, a pre-screened pool of intern applicants will attend an open networking event in which companies will meet the various applicants in rounds of short interviews. Afterwards, Startup Summer coordinators will match company preferences with applicant preferences to match interns with companies.

Throughout the summer, interns will work during the day at the company that hires them; in the evenings, they will attend various dinners, events, and workshops. At the end of the summer interns will go through a TechStars-like Pitch Night during which any company can come hear their pitch about “what I learned about starting a business” which has the subtext of “why you should hire me as your next employee.”

We are looking for the first 25 startup companies who will commit the following to the entrepreneur interns:

  1. A decent summer wage (suggest between $10-$15/hr);
  2. An intern position with a supervisor/manager who will commit to constructing a meaningful position and spending at least an hour per week supervising;
  3. At least an hour every other week, but preferably every week, with you and the other company founders talking about the entrepreneurial experience, the lessons you’ve learned and answering the questions they’ll be bringing from their evening activities;
  4. Ideally a few hours during the summer with the person accountable for fundraising to teach the experiences of fundraising; and
  5. Ideally attendance at the summer-ending Pitch Night with a few words of introduction of the intern.

In return, Startup Summer will commit to you:

  1. The selection of the most passionate young would-be entrepreneurs in Colorado
  2. Transportation to Boulder and housing
  3. Immersive intern education at night with sessions including “entrepreneurs unplugged”, “topic of the week”, “peer sharing”, “company field trip” and a variety of other evening sessions.
  4. A process whereby you have input on the selection of your intern

Startup Summer is organized and run by Tim Enwall, David Hose, and David Mangum; it is one of multiple projects being developed by Startup Colorado, an initiative to spur new company creation and entrepreneurial spirit throughout the Colorado’s Front Range. Startup Summer has hired a CU student, Eugene Wan, as a Program Coordinator to assist with logistics relevant to applicant recruitment, initial application processing (vetting applicants for Speed Dating Night), intern move-in, and intern activities during the summer. Although certain skill sets like computer programming might be particularly valuable, Startup Summer is designed to be open to any student with demonstrated passion, dependability, and learning ability.

Companies such as Tendril, SendGrid, Rally, Integrate, Gnip, Orbotix, Trada, Next Big Sound, LinkSmart, Standing Cloud, Sympoz, NewsGator, and TechStars have already committed so you’ll be in good company.

If your company is interested in joining Startup Summer, please email me and I’ll get you plugged in.

College Is Like A Sandbox

Comments (197)

I spent yesterday at University of Michigan with my partner Jason Mendelson (he’s a two time grad – economics undergrad and then law school.) This was my first trip to Ann Arbor and I had a great time. It was fun to have Jason show me his old haunts, our new friend Wes took good care of us throughout the day, and we met a ton of interesting people including a bunch of entrepreneurs.

In one of our early meetings I heard a great line from one of the members of the UM Tech Transfer Mentor-in-Residence program.

The line was “College is like a sandbox if you are an entrepreneur. Falling down doesn’t hurt much.”

This made me think of a brilliant phrase from Alex White, the CEO of Next Big Sound, in his TechStars Demo Day pitch. I can’t remember where in the presentation it was but Jason reminded me that one of Alex’s great moments was when he said something like “We don’t need to raise much money because we are cheap to keep alive.”

Throughout the day we met with a bunch of college students – law school students, undergrads, MBAs, and a few PhD’s. All of them were really lit up about entrepreneurship, were trying lots of stuff, had tons of questions, and challenged us to give them our views and feedback on what Ann Arbor needed to do to create a great entrepreneurial community.

At the end of the day we met with all the members in TechArb. This is the student accelerator – I was blown away by what they were doing. At some point I said to Jason “why doesn’t CU Boulder have a thing like this.” He had an answer that I’m still pondering, but effectively reinforced the initiative that the students and entrepreneurial leadership around the UMich were taking. During this session, I kept thinking “college is like a sandbox – it doesn’t hurt much when you fall down.”

Days like today are incredibly energizing for me. The level of enthusiasm and optimism among the people we met with was phenomenal. Their willingness and interest in learning and trying new stuff was apparent. And their understanding that plenty of things wouldn’t work, but they wouldn’t learn if they didn’t try, was front and center.

To all the folks I met with today, thanks for making my first trip to Ann Arbor really fun and interesting. And, even though I couldn’t care less about college football, good luck against Nebraska this weekend.

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