Students Turn Ideas into Reality at 3DS

Published on December 2, 2014

Bauer Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship Hosts Annual 3 Day Startup

3 Day Startup

On Nov. 21-23, students from across the University of Houston campus came together to kick start a technology company during the annual 3 Day Startup (3DS) program.

Engineers have workshops. Chemists have labs. And on the University of Houston campus, young entrepreneurs have 3 Day Startup.

UH students across all disciplines teamed up this fall to do the near-impossible — kick start a technology company in 72 hours, during the annual 3 Day Startup (3DS) program hosted by the C. T. Bauer College of Business Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship.

From Nov. 21-23, seven student teams formed, made up of members with various skills from coding and design to finance and marketing. With one initial idea for a tech-based company, each team worked from the bottom up to create marketing plans, research viability and work through financials.

Students left 3DS with an understanding of the fundamentals they need to have nailed down before starting a business, said Olivia Durr, an entrepreneurship senior who helped to organize the event. She added, they explore how to validate their ideas, ensure market need and determine if their technology is something people want to use and buy. Mentors help students keep their ideas on track.

“The mentors help the students ask the right questions and figure out the problem they’re actually solving, how they’re going to fix it and why people want to use this technology,” Durr said.

The weekend culminates in the form of pitches, where teams present their products ready for the market to mentors, investors and panelists from the Houston startup and technology communities.

Former SURGE project manager Dan Petrarca said 3DS is a great way to engage students in the city’s growing technology industry.

“As a mentor, the best thing you can try to do is actually ask questions and help them deconstruct their ideas so you can give them a different point a view and different challenges that they might not see at that moment, but they would in the future,” he said.

While Friday evening is spent forming teams and organizing concepts, Saturday presents a real-life challenge: validating ideas with local business owners. Students present their concepts to local business owners to gain feedback.

“This is a really great test run of how it is in the real world. You have a limited amount of time to think of a great idea and how to produce that idea,” management information systems student Parisa Koochack said. “It’s a great fast-paced way of understanding a concept.”

After presenting their market research and pitches to the panel, several of the students will now take their ideas to the next level and apply to the university’s accelerator, RED Labs, which is housed in Bauer College.

The participating 3DS startups can apply for acceptance into the summer term of RED Labs, led by Clinical Assistant Professor Hesam 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.

By Ann Lynd

Teams presented these final pitches on the last day of 3 Day Startup.

FreshDrop – a vending machine for healthy, fresh and filling foods in the workplace.

JumpIn! – brings students together anonymously to make better grades.

Parties Tonight – offers a quick filter of local parties from your smart device.

NiteOut – seamlessly provides outing options based on your interests.

PoliTrend – brings high-level analytics to low-level politics.

Dioth – a voice-activated command software for gaming.

Fyarm – an online platform to connect local farmers and restaurants.