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Companies chosen to spend a year at the CSU Hatchery as first three businesses graduate

May 9, 2014

Three companies created by CSU students are about to graduate from The Hatchery business incubator at the Rocky Mountain Innosphere in Fort Collins, and five more are chosen to move in.

Members of the 2104 Venture Accelerator cohort, shown with Charisse Bowen, second from upper left, director of the Institute of Entrepreneurship in the College of Business.Three companies created by Colorado State University students are about to graduate from the CSU Hatchery business incubator located at the Rocky Mountain Innosphere in Fort Collins.

The Wild Gym Company, Stuff N’ Mallows and Cam-Keeper have all taken something different from their year building their businesses into viable ventures, ready to compete in the real world.

Five new Hatchery companies were named May 8, when the three graduates were honored at the Venture Accelerator Demo and Mentor Recognition Night, sponsored by the College of Business's Institute for Entrepreneurship.

New companies chosen

The new Hatchery companies are deYrd; Greyfall Training; TurfToes; Tadpole Pedicabs and Living Ink Technologies. Living Ink is housed in the Research Innovation Center on CSU’s Foothills Campus, to use the wet lab facilities, but will have access to all support and services provided by RMI as the develop their greeting cards printed with blooming algae ink in a rainbow of colors.

The companies, which will move into their new offices on June 1, represent a wide range of business models. deYrd (pronounced D-Wired) is a producer of sleek, comfortable, easy-to-use truly wireless ear buds, while Turf Toes creates an innovative and comfortable sandal designed to provide users with a unique experience of walking on grass. Greyfall Training is dedicated to providing tactical solutions and consulting to law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs and federal agencies, and Tadpole plans to offer pedicab tours throughout Fort Collins.

Venture Accelerator participants

Tenants of the Hatchery are chosen from among the participants in the CSU Venture Accelerator program to spend a year bringing their businesses to market, working alongside other entrepreneurs at RMI. Thirteen teams have been working intensely in the accelerator program since December to get their companies investment-ready.

“The mission of the Accelerator program is to educate students and to be an integral part of the entrepreneurship ecosystem by providing real-life experiences, connection to resources, and funding opportunities with the ultimate goal of creating self-sustaining ventures,” explained Charisse Bowen, director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship. “To give more student companies the opportunity to take advantage of the Venture Accelerator Immersion Lab experience, which includes working with mentors and multiple advisors, we will start the 16-week course in Fall semester for the 2014-15 academic year.”

The deadline for student companies to apply to the Venture Accelerator Immersion Lab for the fall semester is June 6; find an application on the Institute of Entrepreneurship website or email Bowen for more information.

The Hatchery is funded by private donations and CSU. While the companies reside at the Hatchery they are also are clients of RMI, with access to all the services and programs available to other companies in the facility.

First year results

Here’s how the first class of CSU entrepreneurs spent their year in the Hatchery:

The Wild Gym Company: David Hunt and Dan Vinson, co-founders of Wild Gym and Monkii Bars, used their year to rethink and refine their product. Originally conceived as outdoor fitness equipment with a mobile app to promote training, the product has morphed into Monkii Bars, portable chin-up bars that can be used anywhere – like in the basket of a hot air balloon.

The pair created a media sensation when their video shoot demonstrating exactly that was mistaken for a balloonist in distress. They have parlayed that notoriety into capital funding for the next stage of their product launch. They also conducted a very successful kickstarter campaign raising $111,000 from what began as a $25,000 goal.

Stuff N’Mallows: Chocolate-chip stuffed marshmallows started as a flippant suggestion on how to make s’mores tastier, but over this past year, Paul Jenkins, Tyler Krenzelok, and James Schrack have turned Stuff N’ Mallows into the flagship product of their Fort Collins Specialty Foods. Stuff N' Mallows come in several flavors of chocolate -- milk, white, mint, and peanut butter – and are now available in more than 44 stores in the region.

The founders are on their way to the Chicago Sweets and Snack Expo this summer to debut Stuff N’ Mallows on the national stage.

Cam-Keeper LLC: Passionate climbers Matt and Jana Glanzer, also husband and wife, designed this unique technology to greatly increase the ease and speed of deploying cams by climbers during ascents. During their time in the Hatchery, Cam-Keeper raised investment capital, developed both their first and second product lines which are on their way to store shelves now, developed relationships with manufacturers, suppliers and retailers, and now stand poised to take their company to the next level.

Contact: Charisse Bowen
Phone: (970) 491-2737