Co-founder of Priceline.com at CSU Blue Ocean Challenge

Jeff Hoffman
Jeff Hoffman

Jeff Hoffman, a successful entrepreneur who has been part of well-known startups such as Priceline.com, uBid.com, CTI and ColorJar, will present the keynote address at this year’s Colorado State University Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge on May 30.

Hoffman will also use his experience as founder of startups and CEO of both public and private companies, as a judge for the Challenge, one of the nation’s richest business pitch competitions with a grand prize of $250,000 available.

“We are thrilled to have Jeff help evaluate our Enterprise competitors,” said Christine Chin, interim director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship in the College of Business at CSU, which is co-sponsoring the Challenge. “We are even more delighted that he will be our featured speaker. His amazing experience as a serial entrepreneur, senior executive, motivational speaker and producer of both Hollywood films and a Grammy-winning jazz album, will provide our competitors and anyone who attends his talk with valuable business and life lessons.”

In addition to his many business interests, Hoffman also supports entrepreneurs and small businesses on a worldwide basis, serving on the global advisory boards of Global Entrepreneurship Week and many others. He supports the White House, the State Department, USAID, and similar organizations internationally on economic growth initiatives and entrepreneurship programs, and has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the national CEO council for his contributions to the field of entrepreneurship.

Judging business pitches

Hoffman will be joined on the judging panel by high-profile entrepreneurs and experts who will decide which companies will go through to the next level of competition. A total of 32 judges will be evaluating the business plans and presentations from competitors in the CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge.

The keynote event takes place at 3 p.m. on May 30, in the ballroom of the Lory Student Center on the CSU campus in Fort Collins. It will be followed immediately by the head-to-head semi-final competition and then the final two-team faceoff that will determine the winner of the $250,000 grand prize in the CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge.

Twenty-eight companies — 13 from universities throughout Colorado and 15 established startups from five states, representing 15 different industries — have been selected to compete in the Challenge. The Collegiate Competitors battle it out on May 27, for a first prize of $20,000, business mentoring from executives at Blue Ocean Enterprises, and the opportunity to move on to compete with the Enterprise teams for the grand prize.

Although the pitching promises to be fast and furious once the competitors take the stage at Lory Student Center, the CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge offers an additional dimension not necessarily found in other business competitions. The teams spent two days in Fort Collins in April, not only receiving valuable training on how to refine their pitches but also insights into how to manage their businesses effectively.

“Even the questions on the application were very thoughtful and made us think about our business, “ said Jonathan Lacoste, COO of Jebbit Inc., who had gone through the Tech Stars program in Boston. “It’s not just about the pitching, it’s also a fun and valuable experience.”

Challenge events are open to the public and free to attend, but registration is required. Go to blueoceanchallenge.com to see a complete schedule and to sign up.

2015 CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge

Enterprise Competitors

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Behavioral Response Technologies

Boulder

Committed to improving the health, welfare, and profitability of production animals. Fresh Cow Manager enables dairy cows that have just calved, or “freshened,” to overcome their health challenges naturally before hormones, steroids and antibiotics are prescribed.

Conspire

Boulder

Finds the strongest path of connections in a person’s extended network to any person or company of interest to get the best introduction to whomever you want to meet—a customer, employer or investor. By analyzing email data, its professional network understands who knows each other and how well.

Content BLVD

Los Angeles

Makes buying and selling product placements fast and efficient for brands, who can now get products placed inside the content their target consumers already enjoy on YouTube, TV, films and more.

Extrude To Fill

Loveland

Manufacturers machines and tooling for molding parts that eliminate shearing of the material and relies on conducting electrically generated heat to melt the plastic.

Kapta

Boulder

An enterprise SaaS platform that helps internal and customer-facing teams to drive explosive growth through collaboration, feedback and execution. The Kapta platform breaks down important goals and objectives into specific actions and tracks measurable results that can be used to manage internal strategies, or customer interactions.

Jebbit

Boston

Allows a brand to drive more revenue and engagement from consumers AFTER they click on a given ad/social post/email message with an interactive question-and-answer experience that overlays landing pages, enticing consumers to learn more and spend extra time engaging with content.

Membrane Protective Technologies

Fort Collins

On-farm testing has shown that Membrane Protective Technologies’ organic, antioxidant technology has improved pregnancy in milking dairy cows that are artificially inseminated by up to 30 percent. This patented technology can also be applied to horses, pigs, turkeys and humans.

Mozio

San Francisco

Allows an app or website to digitally integrate any form of ground transportation, directly in-app or in-path. Google Maps can sell commuters transit cards, airlines can book travelers on airport shuttles or express trains, and OpenTable can reserve limousines or parking spots for foodies in 1,600 locations around the world with 900 partners.

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Notion

Denver

An all-in-one sensor for simplified home monitoring. Eight powerful capabilities are packed into each Notion sensor to make a product that is easier to buy, faster to install and more capable than anything on the market.

OptiEnz

Fort Collins

Breakthrough technology for making real-time decisions – biosensors based on a combination of enzymes and fiber optic technology providing real-time continuous measurement results with the same accuracy as laboratory equipment.

Parkifi

Morrison

All about solving the world’s parking challenges with data. By gathering, filtering and sharing data in real time, Parkifi helps parking owners and operators manage parking far more efficiently and revolutionize the way they monetize it.

QBLabs

Parker

Apple-integrated digital health wearable technology. QB stands for quantitative bioanalytics and its first product, MovementTek, transforms wearable tech, empowering physicians, sports trainers and physical therapists to quantify and streamline client progress for better movement analysis and improved treatment outcomes.

ShelvSpace

Scottsdale

Innovating ways of promoting and selling products into U.S. retail channels by improving the way CPG sales teams manage their business. ShelvSpace lets you put down the paper binders, Power Points and Excel data sheets and replace them with cloud-based mobile tools that make the sales process faster, smarter, and cheaper.

Synkera

Longmont

Designs and manufactures Micro Electric Mechanical System (MEMS) sensors to detect gases in the air and in breath, to improve the comfort, health and safety of individuals worldwide. Synkera’s sensors offer world-class performance in the smallest physical size available.

VerbalizeIt

New York City

A language translation platform that empowers businesses to expand globally through access to a suite of technology tools and a curated community of 23,000 translators through website, mobile app and document translation and video subtitling. The seamless technology and translator community enables businesses to better engage with the global customer across 150 languages and over multiple communication media.

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