College Press Club doesn’t look like other startup companies. An established market and way of doing business already existed when, shortly after graduation, Alex Kronman ’12 and Ben Quam ’12 founded an online platform to connect advertisers with college newspapers.
But the potential for improving how business is done in the $300 million industry is what sold their idea to executives at Boomtown, a Boulder, Colo.-based and mentor-driven accelerator for startups. College Press Club streamlines the process for college newspapers and local and national advertisers so they’re not making 1,000 phone calls to reach 1,000 potential customers.
It was one of six companies selected to participate in an inaugural program to help the fledgling firm jump to the next level. Nationwide, 170 companies applied for the program.
In addition to receiving $20,000 in seed money, College Press Club is getting advice from a network of business experts and a chance to pitch an appeal to potential investors when the program culminates June 27.
“The market is smaller and more depressed than it should be,” said Kronman, who was editor-in-chief of CC’s student newspaper, The Catalyst, for three years. He said his experience as a student journalist led to the idea for the company.
“What we’re doing is bringing more access and efficiency to student journalists, so they can accomplish a whole lot more.”
But starting a new business is like a roller-coaster ride, Kronman said, simultaneously filled with awesome and painful times. Quam, his business partner and best friend, left earlier this year to pursue another love, working in Latin America.
Kronman now has another partner, chief technical officer Joel Leger of Minnesota.
Through Boomtown, 24-year-old Kronman is learning fundraising strategies, web development, enhancing user experience and other business essentials, on the way to raising an additional $400,000 from investors.
“It’s great to have really brilliant people to get feedback from on a daily basis,” said Kronman, who majored in political science at CC with a minor in journalism.
He credits his years at CC with instilling his entrepreneurial spirit.
“The opportunity CC graduates have to be engaged and innovating with the things they are passionate about is limitless,” he said.
“Entrepreneurship is, at its best, people taking their experiences and making it better for others.”