FORT COLLINS – Cam-Keeper LLC, a company born at Colorado State University, has closed its initial round of funding and plans to have its revolutionary rock-climbing accessory on store shelves in October.
“Our company was founded in January 2013,” according to Jana Glanzer, co-founder and CEO of Cam-Keeper LLC. “No one thought we would be shipping product in less than a year.”
The company’s inaugural product focuses on active rock-climbing protection. The Cam-Keeper keeps a climber’s cams organized during ascents. The high-quality, patent-pending product is designed to reduce gear entanglement and make installation of cams in cracks faster and easier. The Cam-Keeper also increases the cams’ placement range and makes cam-size selection more intuitive for climbers.
“On a typical climb, you might bring as many as a dozen cams in different sizes,” Glanzer said.
Cam-Keepers will be sold in packages of three, for a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $19.95.
Glanzer, who earned her undergraduate degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management and Innovation from CSU in December, founded Cam-Keeper LLC as part of the Venture Accelerator program in the CSU College of Business’ Institute for Entrepreneurship. Her husband and co-founder Matt Glanzer, a longtime climber and Mechanical Engineer who serves as the company’s Chief Technical Officer, came up with the idea several years ago. His design and research formed the basis of Cam-Keeper LLC.
After a 16-week immersion in everything from filing company paperwork with the Colorado Secretary of State to market pricing with help from mentors, Jana Glanzer pitched Cam Keeper at the CSU Venture Adventure Challenge at the Rocky Mountain Innosphere in Fort Collins in May.
A panel of Colorado entrepreneurs chose Cam-KeeperTM LLC as the top company from among the 20 presenting, and the startup received $10,000 in seed funding.
Glanzer was also selected to be among the first CSU student entrepreneurs to share an office for a year in CSU Hatchery, a space in the Innosphere, the Fort Collins technology incubator, specifically for CSU startups.
Support in The Hatchery
“The Hatchery is a space for Venture Accelerator graduates to learn and work next to other entrepreneurs bringing their products and ideas to the marketplace,” explained Charisse Bowen, director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship. “The three or four top companies from the program are invited to move into the Hatchery for 12 months to have additional support while launching their companies.”
In addition to refining the design and engineering of the company’s numerous outdoor products, Cam-Keeper has vigorously focused on packaging designs, marketing strategy, branding, IP strategy, and sales channel development and all the other activities that go into launching a product. Jana Glanzer also spent the summer raising investment capital. She worked with Fort Collins-based Blue Ocean Enterprises and the Colorado Angel Investors network to secure the cash needed to begin manufacturing the Cam-Keeper products in Colorado.
“Our goal from the start was to source everything within 100 miles of Fort Collins,” she said. “We’re very proud that this is a 100-percent Colorado product. It’s important to us to bring jobs to the state and support companies here so that we can all be successful.”
Cam-Keeper LLC recently hired its first employee, Shane Rabideau, as Business Development Sales Manager. The company is already working on its next design, scheduled to be available later this year. Company designers have been using on-campus 3D printers to create and refine its prototypes.
For more information about Cam-Keeper, go to www.cam-keeper.com. For more information about the Colorado State University Institute for Entrepreneurship contact Bowen at email@example.com or go to the College of Business website at http://biz.colostate.edu/ie