Participants Collaborate to Create Companies in 72 Hours
For the third year in a row, University of Houston students from different disciplines converged on campus with a common goal — kick-start innovative new companies over a 72-hour period during the 3 Day Startup program organized by the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at the C. T. Bauer College of Business.
From April 4-6, teams made up of more than 40 students of various majors, from management information systems and computer science to digital media and marketing, took their initial ideas for new technologies and presented branded products ready for market to mentors, investors and members of the Houston business community.
Eight teams kicked off the weekend by drafting business plans and conducting market research on technologies similar to their startup idea. However, the most instrumental portion of 3DS occurred on Saturday morning as participants were not just encouraged, but required, to leave campus to gather consumer data and feedback on their startup’s technology.
“The goal of 3DS is to give them a real entrepreneurial experience,” said Bauer Clinical Assistant Professor Hesam Panahi, who spearheads the annual event. “Finding out who their customer base will be is instrumental to their success. By talking to consumers, it helps the thought process, allows them to visualize tangents that might make their product or business plan better, and provides opportunities to course-correct during the formative stages of creating their company.”
Although 3DS is structured around teams, it is not a competition, Panahi said. Rather than a list of winners with prize money at the end of the weekend, the goal of the event is to serve as a forum for feedback for the budding entrepreneurs from a panel hand-selected based on their prominence and experience within the Houston startup community.
Once the students collected their market research, they prepared their final pitches to present to the panel.
“This is a learning experience for all of us to take our concept to the next level,” management information systems junior Lucy Macedo said. “Being able to work as a team exposes you to ideas and points of view that maybe you didn’t think of or see before.”
Macedo and her teammates worked on “Friendscapade,” a group scheduling application that helps plan social outings based on interests and then offers a group discount coupon for that venue or activity. She and her business partners researched the market’s current leader in coupon apps, Groupon, to identify needs that aren’t being met for current and future users before embarking on formulating a business plan for their newly improved mobile app.
“There are so many products and concepts out there that businesses are in need of to help enable efficiency and growth, but most of the time there hasn’t been anyone to fulfill the demand,” computer science junior Fabian Buentello said. “The 3DS program teaches us in a real-life, fast-paced scenario what it takes as an entrepreneur to be able to create the technologies to better these companies.”
3DS is part of Bauer College’s overarching goal to serve as a hub for entrepreneurship on the UH campus and in the Houston community. The participating 3DS startups can apply for acceptance into the summer term of RED Labs, the startup accelerator for UH that is housed within Bauer College and led by Panahi. There, teams will spend three months using the workspace and resources provided by RED Labs to perfect their technologies in the hope of obtaining funding and putting a finished product out on the market for consumers in the Houston area and beyond.
What did the students
come up with?
B-Chattr — a beacon-powered hyper local anonymous chat room application that provides analytics to businesses so that they can provide a better experience for their patrons.
Roots — an educational mobile app for children to solve arithmetic problems with fun and addictive gameplay similar to Angry Birds
Startship — financial planning tool for startups that helps manage funds and help prevent failure
Communicub — a platform that connects daycares with parents, allowing parents to get real-time information about their children’s activities at the daycare including health and safety reports
Qkrtix — a service for small indie venues to quickly & cheaply verify attendee identities and their tickets
Buoy — elegant hardware device that makes beacon technology scalable for developers (that was 3D printed this weekend, by the way)
Rigel — software designed to increase the speed, efficiency, and safety of the fracking process of oil well drilling and related service providers.
Soulio — a platform for audio professionals to showcase their portfolios for collaboration and employment opportunities
Friendscapade — a scheduling application for group activities with a simple voting interface
By Danielle Ponder
Three Day Startup 2014
For three days in April, students from across the University of Houston campus unite at the C. T. Bauer College of Business to work on developing their very own tech startups at the University’s third annual 3DS event.