- SCU Business Home
- About LSB
- Exec Education
- News & Events
- CIE Home
- Undergraduate Programs
- Graduate Programs
- California Program for Entrepreneurship (CAPE)
- Alumni & Friends
- About the CIE
- News and Events
Changing Education, One Book Rental at a Time
When Colin Barceloux ‘03 (pictured below right) was an undergraduate at Santa Clara University, he felt the pinch on his wallet 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 BookRenter.com.
BookRenter.com 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, Bookrenter.com 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.”
BookRenter.com 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 BookRenter.com.
Barceloux 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 www.bookrenter.com
Alumni Creates Real-life Venture to Mentor Entrepreneurial Students