Newsmaker Q&A: Pitch-perfect plan: Crank up the volume

Loveland-based Decibullz LLC won the inaugural Colorado State University Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge business-pitch competition in May, taking home $250,000 in cash, six months of business coaching and other prizes aimed at helping founder Kirk Kirkpatrick scale his brainchild business. He shared how he got into making custom earphones in the first place, and what he plans to do with the new funding.

Question: What brought you to the Blue Ocean Enterprise Challenge and how did you prepare for it?

Answer: Charisse Bowen, director of entrepreneurship at CSU, told me about the BOEC.

Q: Why do you think Decibullz was the winning venture?

A: I think Decibullz won because of our fierce passion and great products. We were able to show the judges how far we have come in the last year with lots of hard work and very little funding. I think they knew the $250K would go a long way in our hands.

Q: What are you planning on doing with the new funding?

A: Grow. We want to build the company to create great jobs and great products that make people happy.

Q: What did you learn from participating in the challenge?

A: I have learned that I’m not alone. There are people out there doing the same things I’m doing, facing a lot of the same challenges I’m facing.

Q: Where did the idea for Decibullz come from and what made you decide you wanted to try to sell it?

A: I invented Decibullz out of necessity. I couldn’t find any comfortable headphones that would stay in my ears. I made the first set just for me, and later that year I made custom earphones for my friends and family for Christmas presents. Everyone liked them so much that they encouraged me to start the business.

Q: What’s do you think is the hardest thing about pitching a business plan and why?

A: The hardest part about pitching a business plan is getting whomever is listening to understand and believe in your vision. You’re selling the future and that’s a tricky thing to do.

Q: What’s your long-term vision for Decibullz?

A: I see Decibullz as becoming a major player in the earphone and hearing-aid markets by continuing to produce innovative and disruptive products and technologies. I see Decibullz creating great jobs and becoming a positive force in our community.

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