Santa Clara University

Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

CIE Newsletter September 2006 - Back to School



Changing Education, One Book Rental at a Time

By Hannah Gordon

When Colin Barceloux ‘03 (pictured below right) was an undergraduate at Santa Clara University, he felt the pinch on his walletundefined every quarter when it came time to buy books.  He worked at two jobs and, like over 60 percent of students at Santa Clara, Barceloux received financial aid.  However, books were an out-of-pocket expense.  Buying the books was not even the worst part.  The real pain came at the end of the quarter, in the midst of finals, when Barceloux waited in line to sell his books back.  Half of the time the store would not give him a penny.

“I started thinking about the process: you buy the book, you use it, then you try to sell it back.  The sell-back is really a rental,” said Barceloux, now the President of allows students to rent their books for the term of their class and then mail the books back in pre-addressed postage-paid envelopes.  Students can even use the company’s erasable highlighters to highlight in their books, but still be able to return them in “like new” condition.  The rental cost is about one-third of the cost of buying books.   Currently, is the only company offering this service. 

“Our goal is to try to make education more affordable,” Barceloux said, “I won’t be satisfied until everyone can rent a book.” launched a year ago, and this year will focus its efforts on pilot programs at Santa Clara University, San Jose State, and Harker Prep School. 

So how did a kid two years out of college become the President of his own company?  Barceloux took his Santa Clara education and applied it to the real world, with a little networking help from his alma mater.

“Colin is highly coachable.  With a couple of mentors, he can go very far,” said Andy Hospodor, Santa Clara professor and CTO of

undefinedBarceloux graduated in the middle of the dot-com bust in 2003 but landed a job as a contractor at Google using his degree in Operations & Management Information Systems.  He eventually found permanent, full-time work at an ad agency.  With his book-renting idea burning in the back of his mind, he started contacting colleagues to make his idea reality. 

“Our management team (pictured left) is a good mix of seasoned veterans and up-and-coming go-getters,” Barceloux said.  That team consists of Hospodor, VP of Technology Ra Roath, VP of Sales and Marketing Joe Ramsey, CFO Valerie Burniece, and Director of Customer Service Patrick Russell.

Barceloux has also used Santa Clara’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) for support and will present to its eCouncil, a group of alumni who give back to the university by providing consulting, connections and encouragement for new startups. 

“CIE has been an outlet for me.  (CIE Director) Kevin Holmes '01 has offered peers for me to relate to,” Barceloux said.  “We are really excited to be involved with the Center and wouldn’t be as a far along or successful without it.”  Starting a company in his mid-twenties has not been without its challenges but the CIE has helped remove barriers for his startup: “Starting a new business, every day you wake up and are faced with new obstacles.  Hopefully, when you go to bed, there are fewer obstacles than when you woke up.”

For more information, please visit


Alumni Creates Real-life Venture to Mentor Entrepreneurial Students

By Hannah Gordon

You know the guy who gives a genuine "Hello" to everyone on campus when he walks to class?  He's on the Inter-Greek Council, Campus Ministry, Student Government, Sailing Team and every other formal and informal organization you could think of. 

If you’ve ever wondered what happens to that guy after graduation: he becomes a successful entrepreneur. One such guy is bringing you much-needed laundry, water and summer storage service this year.

undefinedSean Patrick Tario '02 (pictured left) has been involved in launching and/or running four start-ups in just the past 5 years, including Bronco Student Services, SCU's student run on-campus laundry, dry cleaning, summer storage and water service provider. His start as an entrepreneur came on the third floor of Dunne Hall when a friend threw out an idea for an online collegiate retail site. Tario challenged him to make it happen and was born. 

“I went from getting up at 11 a.m. for my 12 o’clock class to waking up at 5:30 every morning and starting work,” said Tario, a member of AllDorm’s executive management team from 2002 to 2005. If you ever have the chance to meet Sean in person you will see that he hasn't stopped this habit since, as can be seen by the many people, projects and ideas that occupy his time throughout the year. 

Bronco Student Services began while Tario was a senior working at and then freshman Michael Mason '06 approached him for advice in starting a campus laundry service. “Sean is a real straight-shooter. He was never afraid to tell me if he thought an idea stunk! It can be harsh, but an honest opinion you can trust is worth its weight in gold,” Mason said. 

Tario mentored Mason over the years and went on to work with two other companies before buying Bronco Student Services with the vision of "creating a business run by students, for students, to teach them the skills essential to entrepreneurial success." Tario has hired a team of SCU students that are "focused on doing everything they possibly can to provide students with needed and affordable services that make their time more efficient and enjoyable at SCU." 

As for now, if you are looking for next-day laundry, dry cleaning, water, or summer storage service you can find it all through Bronco Student Services.

You can find out more about what Bronco Student Services offers including employment opportunities by visiting


Student Organization Competitions Foster Entrepreneurial Spirit

By Hannah Gordon

When Santa Clara students compete in the Engineering and Business Alliance Business Plan Competition for $10,000 in prizes, they benefit from the hard lessons learned by Mohammad Musa ’03. Musa tried to start his first company in 2004 while pursuing his Masters’ degree in Computer Engineering at Santa Clara University. 

undefined“Things did not work out that well,” said Musa, who currently works full-time at the semiconductor start-up Sonics while finishing his Masters’ degree. “I thought, ‘There is so much information I wish someone had told me about how to start a company.’”

Rather than keep his trials and tribulations to himself, Musa decided to gather fellow students he knew who were interested in the start-up world and launch the Engineering and Business Alliance (EBA). With funding provided from the Dean of Engineering, EBA held its first Elevator Pitch Competition in 2005.  Students had two minutes to pitch their idea to a panel of judges, without any visual aids, and five minutes total including a question and answer session. In 2006, the EBA hosted its first Business Plan Competition with the $10,000 in prizes donated by SCU alum John Ocampo.

The EBA partners with the MBA student organization Entrepreneur Connection to serve Santa Clara’s future entrepreneurs.

“Since Mohammad and the EBA have taken it from the engineering perspective, we are a complement to them,” said Jay Allardyce '07, President of Entrepreneur Connection, an MBA student, and Manager of Mergers & Acquisitions at Hewlett Packard. 

“The EBA and the EC meet regularly to make sure we are leveraging from each other as opposed to providing conflicting messages and events,” Allardyce added.  “We have different but similar audiences so it is a collaborative effort to combine the abilities for students from the engineering and the business schools.”

undefinedTo expose MBA students to the realm of Venture Capital and Startups, the EC will play host to the Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC), which will be held on campus Jan 19th, 07. The focus of the VCIC is to provide students with the hands-on experience in evaluating new ventures, their funding models, and placements relative to their competitive landscape. Being located in Silicon Valley provides Santa Clara MBA students an advantage in the startup and venture capital realms. It is through the EC’s mission, Enable the Silicon Valley Entrepreneurial Mindset, that part-time MBA students are able to test and foster their startup ideas during the course of their MBA program.

In addition, the EC is starting a program called, ‘Entrepreneur in Residence,’ where an undergraduate student will be selected for mentorship by M.B.A. students who are members of the EC.  “This approach provides undergraduates a unique opportunity to tap into the graduate student population for guidance in formulating, testing, and creating new ventures through the experience and trials that members of the EC mentoring group have experienced through their own endeavors’. Not only will our select undergraduates partake in this program, but so will Graduate MBA and Engineering students,” confirmed Allardyce.

“All of us are here to drive the entrepreneurial spirit at Santa Clara.”

  For more information, please visit the EBA at, and the EC at


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