Alumni-Owned Ventures

From restaurants, to personal coaching, to publishing books, and even global nonprofit organizations, CU Denver alumni can be found throughout our communities. Patron a CU Denver alumni-owned business or venture and easily stay connected with the Lynx community. 

If you are a CU Denver graduate with a venture please share via the submission form at the bottom of this page.

Arts & Media

The Baraniworks Fine Arts Business Card

The Baraniworks Fine Arts Service

Joseph Barani '00 | Artist

Barani is based in Sheridan, Wyoming.



Megan Ellsworth '20 | Singer-Songwriter

Now a double-graduate from the University of Colorado Denver’s award-winning programs, Music Business and Songwriting, she is living her passion as a touring folk singer-songwriter under her last name, Ellsworth. People recognize Ellsworth as a lyrical storyteller and an infectious performer. Her songs are raw and distinct while enjoyably reminiscent of folk greats before her. A friend of innovation, Ellsworth looks forward to experimenting with the folk genre and enriching her songwriting. That said, all of her songs have a core, a purpose that Ellsworth will never waver from. 

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fooLPRoof Contemporary Art

Laura Phelps Rogers '13 | Owner

FooLPRoof's alternative business model makes it possible to showcase emerging artists.  We provide access to a stable of artists to purchase works from the gallery and to also consider our art consulting, leasing and fabrication capabilities to help our clients with both residential and commercial projects as well as site-specific works in the commercial and residential sectors. 

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Gray Corner Audio

Jesus Parra '03 | Owner

Gray Corner is a boutique audio production studio based in Florida’s Treasure Coast delivering foley, soundscapes, and sound design for video games.  Our aim is to help your game studio create amazing games using original audio assets produced specifically for your project, thus giving it a customized sonic identity to help you tell a story. Whether you are looking for UI sound effects, audio post for cutscenes, or a turnkey game audio solution, Gray Corner can help.

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Liquid Luck Productions

Ian Kellett '13 and Lauryn Kellett '14 | Owners

Liquid Luck is a Colorado-based video production house formed by Ian and Lauryn Kellett. Lauryn & Ian, a husband and wife team, founded their production company in 2011. The couple has always been passionate advocates for creating film in Colorado and giving work to local filmmakers. The Liquid Luck team specializes in business branding, documentaries, and television series. They strive to share messages that should be heard, finding the passion behind every project they work on. From conception and scriptwriting to shooting and editing, Liquid Luck will bring your vision to life through film.

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McBoat Photography

Shameka McBoat '06 | Owner

McBoat Photography is a Global Wedding, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Event and Portrait Photography Company photographing clients all over the world since 2005. We enjoy capturing little stolen moments, the wow-factor of "Is this really me?" and working with unique clients each with their own stories to tell. Giving back is extremely important to us as we realize the importance of community and taking care of each other. We offer a 10% Military Discount and a 20% Non-Profit Discount.

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Rob Shearer Film

Rob Shearer '12 | Owner

Rob Shearer is an award-winning filmmaker based out of Denver, Colorado. His work ranges from narrative and documentary projects, to corporate videos and commercials. With a passion for telling stories, he is constantly finding ways to translate a client’s product or brand into an engaging and compelling story. 

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Sarah Herkes Photography and Design LLC

Sarah Herkes MA '16 | Owner

The maternity, newborn, and family photographer for moms who want classic and timeless images to cherish for years to come. I’m Sara (she/her/hers), a Frederick, Colorado and Longmont, CO photographer that loves to work with Colorado moms who want timeless imagery that combines elegance with Colorado rugged backdrops.

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The Songwriter Diaries Podcast

Caroline Stump '20 & Megan Ellsworth '20 | Creators 

The Songwriter Diaries is a podcast created by Caroline Stump '20 and Megan Ellsworth '20 that explores the songwriting process. Both Songwriting and Music Business majors at the University of Colorado Denver, these young women hope to shed a light on the creative and analytical aspects of the industry. By interviewing fellow songwriters, mentors, and industry professionals, Stump and Ellsworth showcase a wide array of valuable perspectives on pursuing a career in music.


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BRAVE Series

Janyne McConnaughey PhD '06 | Author

The BRAVE series, authored by Janyne Mcconnaughey, Ph.D., Trauma-Informed Author, and Advocate, provides an opportunity to understand the lifelong effects of childhood trauma and both a path and hope for healing.

  • BRAVE: A Personal Story of Healing Childhood Trauma
  • Jeannie's BRAVE Childhood: Behavior & Healing through the Lens of Attachment & Trauma
  • A BRAVE Life: Survival, Resilience, Faith & Hope after Childhood Trauma 

Book covers of two Rick Etchells publications

Etchells Publications

Richard Etchells '72 | Author 

"Getting a degree from CU Denver prepared me to know how to problem solve and how to run a business" says Rick Etchells.

Rick is a retired electronic packaging engineer by trade and a traveler and author by choice. A lifelong interest in history and traveling turned into a passion upon discovery of Route 66 many years ago. From that spawned a desire to travel the two lane highways of America and share  experiences with others. Etchells developed and maintains the magazine indexes for both Route 66 Magazine and American Road Magazine in addition to several of his own publications. 

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Forever Wild, Forever Home: The Story of The Wild Animal Sanctuary of Colorado

Melanie Shellenbarger PhD '08 | Co-Author

Less than an hour north of Denver roam more than 500 large carnivores - including over 200 bears, 70 African lions, and 70 tigers. Now living at The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado, these magnificent animals, and their rescues from around the world, are the focal point of this groundbreaking book about courage, resilience, and hope. Forever Wild, Forever Home honors the nobility of the animals who call the Sanctuary home, and the heroic labors of those who care for them.

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The Free Agent Mindset: How contrarians are Shaping the Future of Work

Scott Jones '15 | Author

The Free Agent Mindset is about finding your place in this new work environment and positioning yourself as an independent worker. It will make you look at your career differently by laying out the future of work and allowing you to see options that you may not have seen before.

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A Gracie Greene Adventure: The Magical Plant

Eric Wilson PhD '14 | Author

The adventures of Gracie, an inquisitive 7 year old, and her 4 year old brother, Matteo, are chronicled in this thoughtful and engaging series of eco-conscious children’s books. Check out The Magical Plant and Luna’s Gift.

Once Again: A Novel 

Catherine Wallace Hope '92 | Author 

An imaginative, emotional debut novel for fans of Ann Patchett about one woman's fight to save her daughter from repeating a deadly fate. Once Again is the 2021 Colorado Book Awards winner in the Science Fiction/Fantasy category.

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Understanding Nonprofit Law and Finance 

Erik Estrada MPA '06 | Author 

This book addresses the 48 fundamental principles of nonprofit law and finance, comprised of 24 legal principles and 24 finance principles. Each chapter contains at least one case study from the nonprofit sector to bring these principles to life and to give the reader context for the rules of law and finance addressed in that chapter. It’s geared toward anyone interested in learning more about the top issues in both nonprofit law and finance, including philanthropists, volunteers, students, or professionals working in the nonprofit sector. 

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West Side Girl

Anita Solick Oswald MS '97 | Author 

My book helps support Off the Street Club, Chicago’s oldest boys and girls club, in the West Garfield Park neighborhood. CU Denver’s support of and focus on diversity aligned with my work to increase opportunities for diverse businesses and to write and tell my stories.

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You Can Play Sports

Todd Stoltenberg MBA '13 | Creator 

A first-of-its-kind children's book, it's a touch and feel book featuring eight popular sports, each with a modern illustration and diverse cast of characters, a fun rhyme that teaches key terminology, and a ball on each page that's made from material that actually looks and feels like the real thing. You Can Play Sports is also currently in the process of creating other sports-related products and content for babies and toddlers.


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Axiur LLP

Travis Tung MS '16 | Founder

Disrupting the Accounting Conversation. From startup consultation and forecasting through tax prep and software selection, our team is dedicated to removing the anxiety from the accounting process, so you can have fun with your business.

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Bright Eyes Creative

Alexandra Phillips MS '20 | Founder and Principal Creative Consultant

Our mission is to help businesses and entrepreneurs build future-proof holistic brands that are infused with creativity, innovation, and inspiration through content, design, social media, and brand strategy that further your own mission, products, and services. 

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Kaspo Inc.

Matt Kaspari '05, MS '10 | President and CEO

Matt Kaspari, started Denver-based Kaspo in 2003. They are focused on carrying out their mission to Bring Brands to Life through the strategic use of branded merchandise. Matt and his team specialize in event marketing and appreciation to build loyal clients and engage employees around the “why” of a brand. They have one simple rule and that is to work with people they enjoy working with.

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Marta Spirk

Marta Sprik MA '12 | Founder

All about helping people step into their entrepreneurial potential. With over twenty years of experience as a teacher, translator and interpreter, Spirk has been able to engage with her audience to support them through the toughest of times. With her 5-Step Engage to Serve Method™, she gets right to the point with strategies that actually work for entrepreneurs who struggle to show up confidently and engage their audiences with their offer. She also hosts The Empowered Woman weekly podcast and created the Get Seen, Gain Trust & Get Paid Masterclass that helps women identify how they're positioning themselves to their audience and how to nurture them into paying clients. 

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Untapped Learning

Brandon Slade M Ed '11 | Founder and CEO

Untapped Learning is an education startup that helps middle school, high school, and college students who have executive function challenges like ADHD and dyslexia. Our mentors work one-on-one with students to develop organization, time management, planning, and self-advocacy skills. We build strong, trusting relationships in order to hold students accountable from a non-parent, non-teacher perspective. Our goal is to empower students to gain confidence, be resilient, and problem solve—benefiting them in school and beyond.

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The Vivid Leader

Jahnavi Brenner MS '05 | Founder

"CU Denver expanded my network which laid the foundation for a career pivot from Sales into HR and eventually the launch of my own business, The Vivid Leader" says Jahnavi Brenner. 

The Vivid Leader is a leadership development coaching and consulting firm that aims to create organizations with high engagement, performance, and productivity. 

Health & Wellness

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Barre Forte

Sarah Brittenham MBA ’13 | Owner & CFO

Barre Forte was founded in 2012 when we opened our first studio in Denver, CO. Our clients were amazed by their results and we knew we needed to open more studios so others could experience our challenging workout. We developed an affordable licensing program to expand Barre Forte across the country. Now, with multiple studio locations, a barre teacher certification program, and licensing opportunities nationwide, Barre Forte has officially arrived on the fitness scene.

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Mile High Fitness & Wellness

Kim Farmer ’94 | Owner

Denver’s #1 Corporate Wellness and Mobile Personal Training Company is national and works with organizations and individuals across the county.  Offering onsite and virtual wellness solutions for companies, schools, hospitals, senior facilities and more; and personal training and nutrition coaching for individuals.

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School of Breaking

Chase Evered ’07 | Co-Founder

We offer Breaking and Hip-Hop dance classes and programs for students of all ages and backgrounds. Whether you are looking to learn the dance foundations of Breaking and Hip-Hop, jump into the competitive world of Breaking, or get involved in your local Hip-Hop community, our instructors are here to educate, inspire, and guide you to express yourself freely in a supportive, welcoming, and creative environment. 


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Brasserie Brixton

Amy Keil MArch '14 | Owner

Neighborhood focused, unpretentious French food and drink in the heart of Cole, Denver. Open for both dinner and brunch.

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Coriander Flavors of India

Harman Baidwan ’98 | Owner

Comfort food with a twist. Known for its currie dishes, Coriander combines sauces, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, and more spices to create elevated Indian food.

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Holidaily Brewing Company 

Karen Hertz, MBA ’05, Owner

Hertz survived melanoma and thyroid cancer in her early 30’s, leading to a treatment plan including a gluten-free diet. As her passion project, she founded a gluten free brewery.

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Inhouse Orders 

Marcus Gallegos '21 and Jian Peng MS '19 | Owners

Marcus Gallegos '21 and Jian Peng MS '19 started Inhouse Orders in 2019. At the time Peng was waiting tables and Gallegos was completing his first internship. Eventually they learned about the Rutt Bridges Venture Fund which is an early-stage, micro-investment fund operated by a team of CU Denver students, faculty members, and professional advisors. As owners and creators of Inhouse Orders, Gallegos and Peng have helped dozens of restaurants across Colorado survive the pandemic by creating cost-saving online ordering solutions. 

Inhouse Orders is a simple, easy-to-use online ordering platform built to maximize revenue retention, minimize hassle, and mobilize data & analytics for independent and family-owned restaurants.

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Native Coffee Club

Jake Stechmeyer ’13 | Owner

Colorado’s coffee subscription delivering specialty coffee, free drink cards, and merchandise from different local roasters to your door.

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Ryan Anderson ’15 and Alysia Davey '15 | Owners

ZOMO is owned by couple and CU Denver alums Ryan and Alaysia. Influenced by their families’ migrant history, the menu offers a unique mix of Asian and American cuisine.


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Indigo Bee Co.

Emily Brereton '10 | Owner and Maker

Indigo Bee Co. was grown out of a passion to create beautiful, quality, handcrafted items. Emily aspires to create simple and elegant designs with the wild soul in mind. Jewelry made to enhance the natural beauty of your femininity and accompany you on all your adventures. All items are made by Emily Brereton, in Charleston, South Carolina.

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oVertone Haircare

Maegan Scarlett ’12 | Co-Founder

It’s conditioner that colors your hair. oVertone coloring conditioners allow you to wash in bold hair color right from your shower in less than 15 minutes. The hair-healthy semi-permanent color conditioners are also:
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Free of sulfates, parabens and ammonia
  • Suitable for all hair types


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Global Livingston Institute

Jamie Van Leeuwen PhD '07 | Founder

With our core focus to Listen. Think. Act. the mission of the Global Livingston Institute is to convene global communities to learn and advance best practices in community development and create equitable, sustainable, and culturally responsive solutions to challenges in the areas of health, economic development, and the environment.

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Women's Global Empowerment Fund

Karen Sugar MA '08 | Founder and Executive Director

The mission of Women’s Global Empowerment Fund is to support women through economic, social and political programs, creating opportunities while addressing inequality; strengthening families and communities.