Students Create New Technology Companies at Three Day Startup
For 56 hours in late April, students from across the University of Houston campus converged at the C. T. Bauer College of Business to eat, sleep and breathe the business of technology.
For the second consecutive year, the college hosted Three Day Startup (3DS), an event that drew participation from 40 UH students to form collaborative teams to bring to life new technology companies before presenting their business plans to investors in a final round of pitches.
What did students come up with?
DuelAcademy—A multiplayer math learning game for middle school and high school students.
EXit—A mobile app that helps you get over a difficult break-up.
DirectToStore—A reverse showroom concept where you install an extension in your browser and it gives real-time local pricing information when shopping at places like Amazon.
SnapSyllabus—A mobile app that allows you to upload your syllabus and download all the events to a calendar.
Bracer—A fashionable bracelet with interchangeable sensor modules that allow you to track your activity.
Hosted by the college’s Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, the event encouraged students to find counterparts for teams who could serve in business, design, coding, advertising and legal roles. The students stayed on campus for the entire weekend, hammering out ideas, pulling together resources and analyzing the viability of their plans.
Bauer Professor Hesam Panahi organized the event. He also serves as the faculty advisor for Red Labs, the UH technology accelerator housed in Bauer College that launched earlier this year.
“3DS is meant for students to engage in entrepreneurship and find out what they need to do to progress the company,” Panahi said. “People hold onto their ideas and think it is so valuable, but it’s not just about the idea. It’s about the execution, and that is our goal for students during 3DS.”
Founded in 2008 at the University of Texas and now a national initiative, 3DS has gone viral in the last five years — more than 20 events on four continents have resulted in 16 companies and $4 million in startup capital.
The weekend began with brainstorming sessions in which dozens of pitches were winnowed down to the five most compelling. The 40 entrepreneurs then formed five teams, choosing colleagues with complementary skills. Mentors from the local startup community were on hand to lend support.
By Saturday, anyone who wasn’t writing code got kicked out to do market-validation research at local businesses. On Sunday night, the teams made their final pitches — this time in front of the public and a panel of investors and established top management from Houston’s startup community.
“I learned that a lot about coding and how hard web developers work,” pre-business major Olivia Durr said. “I also learned about all the things you have to take into account when starting a business, and a lot of the focus is on marketing.”
“It was a very fun and innovative environment, and everyone is here to help each other, which I appreciated,” she added.
The experience proved valuable for the tech entrepreneurs-in-training, Panahi said.
“One of the strengths of 3DS is it allows students to use this opportunity to find out what are the beginning steps to creating a company,” he added. “I think that’s great not just for the college and university itself, but for the city in general.”
Click here to see
more pictures from 3DS.
By Amanda Sebesta