Digital Advertising Company Plugs Into Denver Community
Spotpost draws on a partnership with DU’s Project X-ITE to find success
The view from the Spotpost office is familiar, to say the least. The company’s headquarters is so close to the University of Denver campus that its founders, Grant Kochmann and Max Evans, can hardly be blamed for still feeling like students — even as their digital marketing business takes off.
After all, it wasn’t that long ago that Kochmann (BS ’18) and Evans (BS ’19) were patronizing the businesses that are now their clients.
The two first met in a computer science class, where they agreed the process for advertising an event on campus (creating a flyer, getting it approved, accessing buildings, hanging things up) was antiquated and, quite frankly, a pain.
“Then we realized there was this whole other group of people who were facing the same problem we were seeing on DU’s campus, but across the city,” says Kochmann, Spotpost’s CEO. “So we pivoted to focus on their problem of connecting event promoters to local businesses they’re trying to advertise with.”
Spotpost was born. And my, how it’s grown.
The company now has its software on 16 screens around Denver, including the Donut House on University Boulevard, the Platt Park neighborhood’s Duffeyroll Café Bakery and nearby Muse Luxury Apartments. Simply plug an Amazon Fire TV Stick into a monitor and businesses have access to curated, personalized advertising. Already, users can choose from more than 100 local events — with more in the pipeline, thanks to a pending partnership with Ticketmaster. And with $40,000 already in the bank, Spotpost plans to expand its reach, courting advertisers and businesses beyond Denver.
Not bad for a couple of computer scientists who had no marketing experience and little more than an idea a couple years ago when they approached DU’s Project X-ITE, an incubator and community for student entrepreneurs.
“When you get into Project X-ITE and start meeting all these mentors, [you learn that] if you want to build a company, it has to be bigger,” Kochmann says.
Kochmann and Evans became convinced that their company was viable enough to become a career after two stints in X-ITE’s intensive Pioneering Summer program. Over the course of 10 weeks, the program sends students to tour local startups and meet with mentors who help them beef up their businesses.
“The sheer number of connections we’ve made with some of the smartest people in Denver is insurmountably helpful,” says Evans, Spotpost’s director of operations. “We had workshops on every skill an entrepreneur needs: everything from building our pitch to public speaking to who to hire and how to raise money.”
Even after graduating from Pioneering Summer and DU, the support has continued. Kochmann and Evans still meet regularly with their Pioneering Summer mentor, Nick Coppolo of Spire Digital. Meanwhile, Project X-ITE provides Spotpost’s office space and access to on-campus resources.
“We know starting a business isn’t easy,” says Nina Sharma, Project X-ITE’s managing director. “And our goal is to set our X-ITE alums up for success as they take their businesses to the next level. Having dedicated office space, interaction with other entrepreneurs who are also working on their businesses, internet connectivity and access to other resources helps with their transition.”
In return, Kochmann and Evans — and their business partners, Chief Technology Officer Evan Reierson (BS ’19) and Head of Product Nick Sundermeyer (BS ’19) — hold office hours, using their real-world experience to advise aspiring entrepreneurs.
“Take advantage of the resources Project X-ITE offers, even if you just have a basic idea or if you don’t have an idea and want to create something and work with someone who does have an idea,” Evans says. “It may be intimidating at first because you’re surrounded by all these incredibly smart people. It’s fun right out of college to work with your friends and work on something you actually care about. Take that first step and you definitely won’t regret it.”