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University of Colorado student discusses Denver-based startup

A University of Colorado at Boulder graduate is set to speak to local entrepreneurs about her experiences starting her Denver-based mobile marketing company called SpyderLynk. The young woman gave up a good job in order to launch her idea. Six years later she employs 14 people that work to develop and sell "SnapTags." SnapTags are customized codes that consumers with a camera in their smartphone can use to go to anywhere on the Internet. The idea came to the young entrepreneur when she was traveling. After seeing an advertisement in a magazine for something she wanted to purchase on the internet she did what she always did and folded the corner of the page back for later reference.

That resulted in a pile of magazines and no way of conveniently storing the data for retrieval later. She would later look at this as a lost opportunity for the company and that's when she came up with the idea to start her own company. She did not think a company would want to put a bar code on an advertisement, but they would put their logo there. She came up with the idea of a circle around a logo that would have breaks in it that could create an optical link from print to online. Consumers could then capture that logo with the circle in their cellphone for later reference.

After moving into the basement of her parents' Denver home she started to convince family and friends to invest in her idea and teamed up with a former co-worker to launch the company. After raising $3 million with her informal network and the help of a private equity company she now provides her product, brand named "SnapTags," to around 40 different clients, which includes major magazines such as Glamour, InStyle and People. She also provides SnapTags to major international brands, including MillerCoors, L'Oreal, Toyota Motor Corp. and Coca-Cola.
If there is one thing the young entrepreneur would tell other aspiring entrepreneurs it is to align yourself with 'as many smart people as you can' who have the experience you lack. This includes previous entrepreneurs, investors and legal advisors knowledgeable in business law and funding. By having a diverse and knowledge network of experts on hand there is not a problem that cannot be solved quickly with a simple phone call, she said. Having professionals who understand your needs and the battles you are likely to face can make a major difference in the success or failure of your business.

Source: The Gazette, "Q&A with Nicole Skogg: Idea for business came in a snap," Wayne Heilman, Sept. 9, 2012

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