This Halloween weekend, ATI will host its 5th 3 Day Startup, where teams of students will create, develop, research and market and finally present their entrepreneurial ideas on Sunday, October 31st at 6:30pm at the West Pickle Research Auditorium.
“This is always one of the most incredible experiences to watch” said ATI IT and Wireless Director and 3DS host and mentor, Bart Bohn. “Talented students from a multitude of disciplines team up and transform themselves into entrepreneurs in just a few short days. I’m looking forward to the launched companies and the heat seeking missiles they create”
3 Days of the startup
Austin Business Journal Article by Sandra Zaragoza
3 Day Startup, a nonprofit born from a University of Texas student organization, is preparing for its next crash-course practical exercise in entrepreneurism while it works to export its model to universities throughout the country and abroad.
Since being formed two and a half years ago, 3 Day Startup has empowered young entrepreneurs to build tech companies through its signature event, 3DS. Just as it sounds, 3DS provides an environment for creating startups over a weekend.
The event brings together 40 people, mostly graduate students, from a variety of disciplines across the university, such as computer science, engineering, film, business, law and design. Participants start by brainstorming and selecting several business ideas to execute. They then work on those ideas, according to each’s interests, over three days, and pitch their startup concepts on Sunday. The organization provides work space, food and drinks so the students can concentrate on their efforts.
The aim, 3DS’s website states, is that many will “build enough momentum among a network of motivated people to sustain the company beyond the weekend.”
So far, several 3DS alumni have done that, creating startups such as Moodfish, Perblue, Adtuititve, Famigo, Hurricane Party, MAPP and Scoop. And that success has spurred interest in replicating the event at other universities.
With 3DS’ blessing, a group of university students held their first 3DS event in Auchan, Germany, this year. Likewise, students at the University of California, in Berkeley plan to hold their first 3DS next semester. And six to eight other markets have shown an interest in doing so this year.
“We decided to turn it into something more sustainable and scalable, and that is when the nonprofit came into being,” said Jeremy Guillory, co-director of 3DS and one of its first participants. “We want to expand in schools that may have a small entrepreneurial community and little access to startup [resources]. Colleges like Auchan [Germany] and the University of Wisconsin in Madison have awesome technology scenes and businesses. They are thirsty for learning more about startups.”
The next 3DS at UT — the fifth such event at UT since the organization was founded — will be held Oct. 29- 31 at the Austin Technology Incubator. To keep up with demand, the nonprofit’s leaders plan to host one 3DS event per semester.
While 3DS is looking to expand its vistas, it is also strengthening its ties to Austin’s startup landscape, which helps provide mentoring and financing to the companies that it helps to create.
Although at its core 3DS is a learning event, it is designed to be a catalyst for economic development at the startup level.
“Our goal is that the teams that come through the weekend will want to continue to pursue these ideas, and turn them into real companies that release real products and make revenue,” said Cameron Houser, a 3DS director and recent MBA graduate.
So far, it has proven to do just that.
Since its inception, companies created by 3DS alumni have taken in $2.5 million in funding and created more than 30 jobs.
Q Beck, an MBA student at McCombs School of Business and co-founder of Famigo, participated in 3DS in April 2009. Famigo makes mobile games that enable families and friends to play together.
“I brought the original seed on the idea for Famigo to that event, pitched it, and over the course of the weekend, we created the first road map of the company,” Beck said.
It was there that he met his business partner and caught the eye of professionals from the Austin tech community.
“As far as all of the dominoes falling, [3DS] is the reason the company exists,” Beck said, adding that Famigo attracted seed funding from startup accelerator Capital Factory this year. The funding enabled Beck to work full time on the venture during the summer.
And while 3DS seeks to cultivate specific ideas, it also cultivates entrepreneurial spirit in general. At least one idea that was not selected by any 3DS team was later developed by people who met at a fall 3DS event. Hurricane Party, an online tool that helps users find and create spontaneous parties, is also a Capital Factory graduate.
Beck, who will be an adviser during during the next 3DS, said that there is an excitement during the event that is motivating.
“I think it is a great opportunity to gather a bunch of talented individuals from different backgrounds and different expertise, … caffeinate them and have a bunch of people supporting and helping them move from an idea to a real company,” Beck said.
Houser agreed that coralling students from different disciplines, who share an interest in entrepreneurship, has helped make the event a success.
Generally, developers will work on the technology, designers will work on design, law students will work on legal issues, and marketing students will work on branding the technology. But students can work on whatever aspect of a project they want.
“If you are a coder and you’ve always wanted to pitch to investors, you can be part of that presentation,” Houser said. “The idea is learning by doing and even stepping out of your comfort zone sometimes.”
The event culminates on Sunday night with the groups pitching to a panel consisting of angel investors, venture capitalists, local entrepreneurs and UT professors.
Famigo, which launched its platform several weeks ago, raised a round of angel funding and hopes to eventually raise funding from institutional investors.
“It accelerated the process. We definitely wouldn’t be as far as long as we are now,” Beck said.