Game about virtual pets puts students on fast track to entrepreneurship

December 17, 2015

University of Utah MBA student Tim Cooley wanted to find a way to make exercise more fun. He started with a simple question: What if walking a pet —even a virtual pet —could be made into a game? With help from the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the David Eccles School of Business, he and a team of other students joined forces to do just that. They created StepPets, a game where players compete with pets they earn by walking and increasing their fitness goals each day. Earlier this month, Cooley, along with Topher Nadauld, Binoy Mohanty — who both were Entertainment Arts and Engineering graduate students at the U — and Eleora Nelson, a local Salt Lake City artist, watched as their creation hit the ITunes store. After raising more than $10,000 through the U’s Get Seeded and Bench-to-Bedside programs, they were given $20,000 from Zions Bank to take the company to the next level. This month, StepPets, through its parent company Random Breakfast, launched in the Apple App Store. The students are available for interviews about their product and their journey to becoming young business owners.
Tim Cooley |Phone:619-301-9180 | Email:

Holiday shopping

November 20, 2015

It’s no secret that for many, the holiday shopping season starts well before the turkey and mashed potatoes ever hit the Thanksgiving table. Holiday sales are advertised earlier each year, with many retail stores announcing this week that they will open on Thanksgiving to get a jumpstart on the holiday shopping tradition known as Black Friday. Will consumers be able to shell out as much from their pockets as previous holiday seasons? How does the holiday shopping season impact the economy overall? What impact does it have when stores like REI and Nordstrom make pointed remarks about staying closed on Thanksgiving? James Wood, Ivory Boyer Senior Fellow at the U’s Policy Institute and David Eccles School of Business, can speak to retail sales data and the forecast for the economy as the holiday season gears up.
Phone: 801-581-7165 | Email:

S.J Quinney’s Amos Guiora to speak at Utah Global Forum on Aug. 26

August 21, 2015

Law professor Amos Guiora, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Sen. Jeff Flake (R. Az.) will speak at the Utah Global Forum, which will facilitate a dialogue on how businesses can expand beyond local borders and develop a strategy of expansion into the global marketplace through importing opportunities and service exports. The program brings together experts from across industry, all with a single objective: move Utah businesses to the global business stage to meet the challenges of today’s business environment.

Salt Palace Convention Center, 100 S. West Template, 9:45 a.m.

World Cup – U grad develops soccer cleats; new venue for student entrepreneurs will help foster similar innovations

June 19, 2015

After receiving support and guidance from the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the U, MBA graduate Cam Cameron started a company designing high-quality and performance soccer cleats at a fraction of the price of name brands. Cameron and his ambassadors travel the world donating soccer cleats and supporting the growth of soccer. They focus on supporting and developing institutions and players most in need so that anyone who wants to play soccer has the opportunity. Students like Cameron will soon have a new venue to spark creativity and entrepreneurship in 2016, when the new Lassonde Studios debuts on the U’s campus. Lassonde Studios will be a place for young visionaries to have an around-the-clock environment to bounce ideas off of others who also are working through plans that may one day become the next cutting-edge technology. The 160,000-square-foot Lassonde Studios will have a 20,000-square-foot garage on the main floor of the residence hall, complete with 3-D printers, laser cutters, prototyping tools and company launch space. Above will be four floors of housing, with students allowed to choose between pods, lofts and traditional rooms. The U is currently in the midst of recruiting the 400 best students nationwide who will comprise the first class of students to live in the unique environment. Contact Thad Kelling for more information.
Phone: 801-587-8811 | Email: