Jared has founded, funded, and/or run several high-tech start-ups, including Bluemountain.com, the most popular electronic greeting card site on the Internet. From 1996 to 1999, he served as CEO and led its business development team until he sold the company to Excite@Home in fall of 1999. He also founded Proflowers.com, now the largest domestic direct-from-the-grower Internet flower company, Dan’s Chocolates, and Frogmagic.
He’s a member of the Colorado chapter of the Young Entrepreneurs Organization, was named one of the top ten young entrepreneurs by Success magazine and in 2000, he was named Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
Also in 2000, Jared founded the Jared Polis Foundation to improve the quality of Colorado schools and to encourage Colorado citizens to become proactive in their educational and technology communities.
The Jared Polis Foundation operates three major programs: Technology for All Colorado, the Education Station, and the Jared Polis Education Report. “We refurbish computers that are given to us, fix them and then donate them to Colorado schools,” says Jared. “We also develop technical curriculum for grades K-7th and distribute it free to schools, and it’s pretty widely distributed within Colorado. We also have an education station, which is a mobile computer lab that we drive to schools and kids can experience the curriculum on the bus and then we give them CD’s with the curriculam to take with them.”
2000 was a busy year for Jared. He also became the Vice Chair of the Colorado State Board of Education. He has very strong feelings about the need to improve the quality of Colorado schools and was instrumental in getting Proposition 23 on to the ballot and passed in November of 2000.
Currently most of Jared’s time is spent focusing on his responsibilities for the Board of Education specifically in recruiting and retaining quality teachers, improving technology in education, and working closer with local school districts. “I spend more and more time on the State Board of Education these days,” he says. “It’s a good feeling to know that I could have a positive impact in Colorado and the next generation”
Jared grew up in Boulder with two younger siblings and aside from few years when his family moved to San Diego, Colorado has been his home. He is single and divides his time between several residences in Boulder and Denver. “I travel a lot, but I live here by choice,” he says. “Denver is my favorite city in the country. I love the weather, the size of it, it’s perfect.”
Jared spends his free time playing softball, he’s on three teams, but wishes his schedule allowed him to play in more games. He also loves to hang out with Toby, 3 ½ year old border terrier, play tennis and ski. “I’m recreational outdoorsman, he says. “No hunting, fishing or golf. I’m not good at anything that involves patience.”
For a 27 year old, Jared Polis seems to have an amazing perspective and firm foundation and outlook on life. Concerning future plans Jared says, “I enjoy the balance between the non-profit, for-profit and public sector and all thee are very meaningful in my life and I feel privileged to be involved in all three realms. In the past, I’ve been a bit of a workaholic, and I’d like to become more athletic, and travel more in the future. I went to India and Japan over the holidays and I'd love to go back to Russia
What are your volunteer activities? The State Board of Education takes up a lot of my time and that is a volunteer position and a lot of my time also goes to the Jared Polis Foundation.
Which social event is your favorite? DCPA events and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.
Favorite Restaurant? Hapa Sushi in Boulder and the one in Cherry Creek
Who is your hero and why? I admire different aspects of many different people… maybe Gandhi.
Who is the most interesting celebrity you have ever met? Bill Clinton because he was fascinating, and I’ve met a lot of celebrities and most of them aren’t as interesting in person
If your life were a movie, who would you want to play your part? Matt Damon, but sometimes people say I look like Edward Norton, and I’m not even sure who he is
Saturday night at midnight is most likely to find you: Home, on my computer
Do you have any Pets? A 3 ½ year old border terrier named Toby
What word describes you best? Passionate
How would you like others to describe you? Sincere
What was your first job? Selling tomatoes on the street corner that we grew in our garden when I was 11, in Boulder.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Deceit
What is your greatest indulgence? Travel
What is the best gift you have ever given? I gave my brother busts of all of our family members for his bar mitzvah.
What or who is the greatest love of your life? Business and politics, I love them both equally.
What is your current state of mind? Peaceful
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Something that I haven’t done yet
What is your most treasured possession? A fossil of a clam that I’ve had since I was a kid.
What is the quality you most like in a man/woman? I wouldn’t really distinguish between the sexes, so I’d say intelligence for both.
Favorite books / Writers? Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, The Foundation by Isaac Asimov, I also like the writers Phillip K Dick and Mark Twain.
What is the best advice you have ever received? Don’t take advice.