Lassonde Studios helps startups like Sole Case thrive.

written by: Logan Mickel

photos courtesy: Sole Case

Charles Rind, founder of Sole Case, doesn’t know how many pairs of shoes he owns. “The number I usually tell people is 100,” he laughs from his office in Lassonde Studios, overlooking the U of U campus. “It changes because I have to sell them to pay for the business.”

That’s right. The founder of Sole Case has to sell his shoe collection to finance his own business—which makes stackable display cases for shoes. The cases sell for $55 each and have found success among fellow “Sneakerheads.”

Born in South Korea and raised in Seattle, Rind is just one example of the motivated talent brought to SLC through the U of U’s Lassonde Institute. In the past 16 years, Lassonde has helped launch more than 730 student startups.

Just last year, the Institute completed their new 5-story residential hall—Lassonde Studios. It’s a lot like any other dorm you might come across: sofas, tables, cafe, prototyping and printing labs, 3-D printers and a laser cutter.

Okay, Lassonde is nothing like any other dorm, which is why Architectural Digest named it one of the nine best new university buildings in the world. Just to earn a spot, Sole Case had to go through an exhaustive application process.

Rind says it’s been worth it, as Lassonde offers a number of resources for the aspiring entrepreneur. The most useful is access to experts, who counsel students in law, taxes and other challenges you don’t see on Shark Tank.

Is there anything Rind wants aspiring startups to know? “Entrepreneurship sucks,” he jokes. “You definitely have to want it. But it’s more than just wanting it. You definitely have to put a lot of dedication and sacrifices into your company.”

And sometimes that means selling your own shoes.

Pierre Lassonde’s [founder of the Lassonde Institute] ten rules of life:

1. Say “thank you.”

2. Never miss an occasion to throw a party!

3. What do you want most in life?

4. Live your passion.

5. Feed your soul.

6. Explore your faith.

7. See for yourself that the Earth is round.

8. Give faith a fighting chance.

9. Leave a better world behind.

10. Keep your speeches under ten minutes!

See more inside our 2018 Mar/Apr Issue.

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