“I’m here to help people.”
Matt Kaspari’s inner voice has been telling him that for a long time. It’s an instinct many people can relate to, the desire to be of service. But translating this urge into a career path can be tricky. It takes a born entrepreneur to find a way to create something brand new that satisfies the itch.
Education leads to entrepreneurship
Kaspari earned his BS in Mathematical and Statistical Science at CU Denver in 2005 and followed up with an MS in Applied Mathematics in 2010. Coming from five generations of engineers, he could easily have worked to fit himself into that mold, but he says he knew from the start engineering wasn’t for him.
Kaspari had started working when he was 12 years old, cleaning the shop of an uncle who produced awards and trophies. Not satisfied to sit back and watch the adults run the show, Kaspari started a “side hustle” selling bubble gum out of his locker in middle school.
By the time he was in high school, Kaspari had convinced his uncle to train him in sales. Kaspari remembers, “I was selling awards to high schools, four or five at a time, and that was great. But then one day I found this sunglasses clip that we had produced with a logo on it, and I asked ‘What is this?’ and my uncle told me, so then I asked ‘How many did they order?’ and he said 4,000 (or something like that). And the light went off in my head!”
Kaspari quickly calculated the profits after inquiring about the product markup. He asked his uncle why they weren’t selling more high-volume items. His uncle said he liked running the business he had been running for most of his life; he didn’t want to run a sales team or act as a middleman for products he didn’t produce himself.
But Kaspari saw the future. He saw an opportunity that shops like his uncle’s weren’t taking. The more he thought about it, the more excited he became, “I was like ‘This is good! This is going to be my chance.’ “
Eventually, Kaspari’s uncle “pushed him out of the nest” and prompted him to start a company of his own.
Starting his own company
Kaspari started Kaspo, Inc. in 2003, when he was a 20-year-old CU Denver undergraduate.
“I started a marketing company because I think the point of marketing is to reinforce or change behaviors,” Kaspari says. “Impacting human behavior is so powerful, and can be really important.”
Kaspari wants Kaspo, Inc., to increase consumer loyalty for brands he believes in, helping these companies make the biggest impact they can. “Marketing helps businesses grow, and I pick and choose what businesses I help,” Kaspari says.
He gives each client his full attention and loyalty, so that they can have more success through exceptional marketing. He knows, “My impact can be really large, even as one person, or one small company, because I have a role in my clients’ success.”
Kaspari uses a mathematician’s precise mind to determine a potential client’s ability to add to the common good or detract from it, and he chooses clients that he knows can make the world a better place. His client base now includes the Colorado Avalanche, Chipotle, Larabar, Muir Glen Organics, and many other recognizable brand names.
Where his liberal arts degree carried him
Kaspari sees a liberal arts degree as the ultimate preparation for a person who wants to start his own business or succeed in his field. “When I hire, I need problem solvers,” he says. “I got that ability myself from my degree.”
Kaspari continues to give back through community service. He has volunteered his time with the Challenge Foundation, Environmental Learning for Kids, Cans for Hope, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Arthritis Foundation and the Colorado Student Leaders Institute.
He often speaks to young people, coaching them on how to be loyal to the voices in their own heads. “Life is short, you gotta love what you do. I want to tell you it is possible.”
Guest Contributor: Tracy Kohm, Director, Marketing and Communications, CU Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences