Tag: 3 Day Startup San Antonio

Lyft Launches in Austin Without City Approval

images-3Despite restrictions, Lyft, the ride sharing company known for its cars emblazoned with giant pink mustaches, launched Thursday in Austin.
“The Austin community’s overwhelming calls for more transportation options have been heard,” according to Lyft’s blog post. “After a petition started by ATX Safer Streets garnered nearly 4,000 organic signatures from Austin residents – many of whom left comments explaining their need for Lyft and other ridesharing services – Lyft will now be providing friendly, reliable, and affordable rides throughout the Heart of Texas beginning tonight at 7 p.m.”
Lyft provides its ride-sharing service through a free app on an iPhone or Android smartphone. Customers download the app and then they can schedule a ride by inputting the time and place. For the first two weeks, Lyft is offering free rides to customers in Austin.
Lyft is known as a peer-to-peer ride sharing program which means its drivers use their own cars to provide rides to others. The drivers do have to pass a background check, according to Lyft.
“With Lyft, passengers are connected via smartphone to background-checked community drivers – which include a food truck owner and middle school social worker in Austin – all easily recognized by the furry pink mustaches on the front of their cars,” said Katy Dally, spokeswoman for Lyft.
The company is holding a kick off party to celebrate its Austin launch Friday evening at Bungalow on Rainey Street.
While Austin’s City Council formed a task force to study the issue of ridesharing at its recent meeting, the council did not approve the practice. And the city’s transportation department has issued a statement warning Lyft that its drivers could receive citations and have their vehicles could be impounded if they are found in violation of current laws.
“Lyft is not operating illegally in Austin nor San Antonio, as taxi and chauffeur laws in those cities do not apply to Lyft,” Dally wrote in a statement. “In Austin, the city’s passing of a resolution to create a new regulatory structure for TNCs demonstrates that the current structure does not account for emerging and unique business models. We are committed to staying at the table and continuing to work with the City, as we have in jurisdictions across the country.”
Austin is Lyft’s fifth city in Texas. The two year old San Francisco-based company launched in San Antonio in late March but it met with opposition from the city’s taxi cab industry and city officials. Uber also launched in San Antonio in late March and it also met with opposition.
San Antonio’s Police Chief William McManus warned Lyft and Uber drivers against providing rides for pay or else they would be cited for violating the city’s vehicle for hire law and their vehicles might be impounded.
The City of San Antonio formed a transportation study and has held hearings on the ride sharing services. Meanwhile, Lyft and Uber continue to operate and they have begun charging people for rides.
In Austin, Lyft created a Youtube video explaining why it chose the city and also outlining the need for its service including issues such as traffic congestion and drunk driving.
Yellow Cab Austin President Ed Kargbo released a statement regarding Lyft’s launch calling it an “illegal operation” with a “complete lack of respect for the City of Austin.”
“We strongly advise everyone to ask for proof of commercial insurance before using any illegal service,” Kargbo said in a news release. “While they choose to sidestep the rules, we’ll honor a commitment to addressing our city’s challenges through legal transportation options that prioritize the safety of both riders and drivers, including innovations like the Hail A Cab app. We will also continue to respect the process set forth by the Austin City Council — one that is in place for the protection of our residents and visitors.”
Lyft’s service is not illegal, Dally said.
“Despite what Yellow Cab representatives might say, Lyft does protect all passengers and drivers with commercial insurance,” she wrote in a statement. “In fact, Lyft offers three times the insurance coverage as an Austin taxi, and also has more strict background check and DMV driving record check requirements.”

Five Startups Pitch at 3 Day Startup San Antonio

Reporter with Silicon Hills News

Image 1 (2)Five startup teams pitched ideas at the latest 3 Day Startup San Antonio event last weekend.
Cristal Glangchai and the Venturelab team ran the event, which was the ninth 3DS San Antonio. Trinity University sponsored the event hosted at Geekdom.
Thirty-five students participated in the 3 Day Startup. They went through all the phases of starting a company, including the idea phase, market validation and research, prototyping, and pitch preparation.
“The event has been really eye opening,” said UTSA Sophomore David Barrick. “It’s been very hard. We’ve been shut down a lot by the mentors, but there has been very good feedback and constructive criticism, especially for our group.”
Mentors for the event included Cole Wollak, Richard Ortega, Michael Girdley, Pat Condon, Kaoru Fujita, Niraj Kumar, Nick Honegger, and Cristal Glangchai. They worked with each team to refine ideas and perfect pitches right up to the final pitch Sunday night. After giving their final pitch, a panel of Judges including Rackspace founder Dirk Elmendorf questioned each team’s presenter. The other panelists included Sweb Development founder Magaly Chocano, UTSA Entrepreneurship professor Anita Leffel, Trinity University Entrepreneurship Professor Luis Martinez, and Pressable founder Vid Luther.

Image 2 (2)The following five startups presented:

Code Venture

Presented by Trinity freshman Kylie Moden, Code Ventures is creating an iPhone and iPad app that teaches kids how to code at an early age. The app takes a story book approach, and entering the correct coding syntax for each lesson will make the story characters talk or interact. The lessons are designed for kids ages 7 to 12 and will help them take the very first steps into the coding world. The demo shown was programmed to teach Java, but Moden says the app could be easily adapted to other languages.
Code Venture’s app will give away the first lesson – or chapter — for free, with additional lessons costing $4.99. They will target the app to parents that are already professionals in high tech jobs, such as those at Rackspace Hosting and USAA. The app will also be marketed to the homeschooling community, which Moden plans to reach by going to homeschooled conventions and conferences.
Code Ventures is looking for a mentor specializing in CS education and a graphic designer.

Seat Check

Seat Check is creating an app based solution to a rather disgusting real world problem: dirty toilets. Trinity accounting graduate Sergio Giralt opened the presentation with a video of a public bathroom user’s worst fear – having to clean the toilet seat.
His solution, Seat Check, will use both a disinfectant wipe dispenser and an app which functions like a prepaid card. Using the app’s “bump” feature, a user will be able to make a wipe dispense from a machine without having to touch anything else in the restroom. The wipe can then be used to sanitize the toilet and can be flushed after use. The app will cost users 25 cents to 50 cents a wipe, depending on the deal struck with the venue location.
Seat Check plans to market the solution first to Regal Cinemas, but also wants to target restaurants, gas stations, and arenas. The startup is looking for an initial investment of $15,000 and wants to hire someone who can help build the actual product dispenser. The investment will help them move their first prototypes into the movie theaters.

Fashion Connection

Fashion Connection’s business model is based on a simple assumption: Men hate to shop. UTSA sophomore Rohit Saxena’s solution is to connect male shoppers with fashion experts who can help them shop — either through a video consultation service or connecting the shopper to a fashion connoisseur to walk them through the store.
The online consultation would start at $19.95 for 30 minutes and the connoisseur service would start at $39.95 per shopping session – though the startup did not define how long it would last. It would differ from similar services offered in other stores in that the connoisseur could be available to shop anywhere. Potential connoisseurs would have to upload a fashion profile of themselves to be considered by the startup and would be paid as contractors. The service would start in San Antonio and would begin advertising primarily in local malls.
Fashion Connection is looking for graphic designers and web developers to help them put their service together.


Presented by Rackspace developer and running enthusiast Gus Ireland, BodyH4X helps athletes know when they are overworking themselves by providing a way to track their body’s cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress related hormone that can make the body covert muscle to fat as a survival mechanism, hindering athletic performance.
Every person has a specific cortisol baseline, and BodyH4X helps runners establish that baseline by using a mouth swab litmus test. After testing their levels, users will record them in the BodyH4X app by utilizing their smartphone’s camera to input the swab color and record a level. Additionally, the app will import data from a runner’s fitness tracking device, such as FitBit, to compare those levels with the athlete’s performance data. Ultimately, this will help athletes determine when they are losing performance to high cortisol levels.
Ireland plans to market the product to runners, bikers, and swimmers. The app will have a free version that tracks cortisol levels along with the performance data and a paid version which will give athletes predictions and warnings about their workout routines. The paid version is $25 a month.

Local Care Package

Local Care Package was started to create a way for distant parents to order packages of San Antonio products for students attending colleges in the city. Presented by Graphic Designer and Marketer Leslie Tolbert, the startup has already begun to form partnerships with various businesses around town to create the packages. Parents can choose from several pre-assembled packages or can select from a list of products. According to Tolbert, it is both a good way for parents to show that they care and a way for local businesses to find new customers. The packages will range in price from $30 to $100.
Local Care Package hopes to partnership with local universities and campus organizations to get their service advertised on flyers and newsletters that go out to parents. They will also work to build a team of drivers in San Antonio. They have already received their first order from parents in Honduras, who they connected with while doing market research.
Of the many startup ideas pitched at the previous eight 3DS San Antonio events, seven companies have gone on to receive a combined total of $2.6 million in funding.
While most 3DS pitches will not result in successful companies, panelist and UTSA entrepreneurship professor Anita Leffel sees the events as critical to producing future entrepreneurs.
“It gives them self-confidence,” Leffel said. “That is what I like so much about this type of program, why we did it at UTSA and will now do it every semester. I’ve watched people blossom.”
Pressable founder and panelist Vid Luther sees 3 Day Startup as having an important link to the Geekdom ecosystem, as many of those first 3DS participants still pursue startups at Geekdom.
“You see entrepreneurs over here that, while their ideas may not be the ones that they are pursuing today, they were able to make networks and connections that got them to build and work on the things that they are currently working on,” Luther said. “I think long term it’s very hard to tell how successful this will be but short term it’s a very good networking thing that allows you to do more than just your résumé.”

Geekdom is a sponsor of Silicon Hills News

Five Teams Pitch at 3 Day Startup San Antonio

Simon Barnett pitches ScriptFit at 3 Day Startup San Antonio

Simon Barnett pitches ScriptFit at 3 Day Startup San Antonio

Five teams pitched Sunday night at Geekdom at the culmination of the latest 3-Day Startup San Antonio.
The teams included Menu, a software program to allow customers to easily order takeout from restaurants, MicroStoreIt.com, a matchmaking service for empty commercial warehouses and consumers, Ripcord, an iPhone app that sounds an alarm and gets help, ScriptFit, a marketplace for academic papers, and Team Me Up, a sports league organizational Facebook app.
More than 30 people participated in the weekend long event in which they brainstormed ideas, formed companies, did market research, created prototypes and business plans and then pitched in front of a public audience.
“This kind of event brings the idea of accelerated proficiency to life,” said Bill Schley, author of the Unstoppables, a bestselling book on entrepreneurship. He volunteered to mentor the teams throughout the weekend. “We can create millions of more entrepreneurs if we just move people in motion quickly. It’s all about taking that first step and overcoming fear.”
The 3-Day Startup program has already launched dozens of companies in Central Texas including Hoot.me, Famigo, Embarkly, Grapevine, Monk’s Toolbox, ParLevel Systems and more. Some of them have gone out of business, others have been acquired and some have gone on to raise money.
The experience of participating in a 3-Day Startup weekend can convince someone to ditch his or her day job and go all in on entrepreneurship.
“It was intense. It was great. We spent at least 12 hours every day working nonstop,” said James Rubino, a medical professional and python developer who led the five-person MicroStoreIt.com team. “It’s a great experience for anyone even toying with the idea of being an entrepreneur. This was a priceless experience.”
Stephen Dyer, a chief operating officer for Garrison General Contractors, pitched Menu, an online ordering system that connects to a restaurant’s point of sale software. He said the company’s idea changed throughout the weekend and after meeting with potential customers and getting feedback on their original idea of a ranking system for menu items. The team plans to continue to develop their idea and perhaps pitch it to the Geekdom Fund, a seed stage investment fund.
At the end of the weekend, 3-Day Startup San Antonio organizers give out gold cans of red bull as awards to teams and individuals who put forth the most effort. Simon Barnett, a senior at Alamo Heights High School, received a Play-Doh award because he was too young for Red Bull.
Barnett, a member of Geekdom, gave the pitch for ScriptFit.
“It pivoted a lot before we got to a final version,” Barnett said.
A few of the members of the six person team are going to continue on with the idea and plan to work with the University of Texas system to further develop it.
“This was definitely a great experience,” Barnett said.

Inside 3DS (Part I)

By Ian Panchèvre
Reporter with Silicon Hills News

3dssatxDon’t tell anyone at Geekdom or Trinity, but I am a spy. I’ve harnessed my inner secret agent to assume a false identity – misrepresenting myself as an entrepreneur whose skills include the ever-so-vague “business strategy” and “ideation” – in hopes of being selected as a participant for 3 Day Startup.
What would I uncover if granted an opportunity to report on the event from the inside? Nefarious plots? Devious activity? Morally questionable practices? I could only imagine.
My ploy worked. It’s 1:30 AM and I’ve just returned to my abode after a fast-paced Day 1. Here’s how things went down:
3DS_Activity1First, it’s worth pointing out that for some nonsensical reason, the city decided to schedule a parade through downtown San Antonio on the same day as 3DS. Apparently there’s this thing called “Fiesta” going on. Clearly, the city didn’t think about the potential issues this scheduling decision would cause, because it absolutely wrecked havoc for 3DS participants. Closed streets and heavy traffic made navigating downtown exceptionally difficult. Very few people arrived to the event on time, yours truly was not excluded from the hassle.
I conquered this initial hurdle by parking a ways away and walking the rest of the distance – all while hoping (praying?) that the skies above did not suddenly release heavy rain during my period of vulnerability.
I made it to the 11th floor of the Weston Centre dry and in reasonably good spirits. Time to mingle. But first, let’s talk to people I already know because that’s easier than making new friends.
Okay, now we’re in the main room. Designers, developers, and “idea guys” of all ages were assembled together, listening to the event organizers introduce themselves, talk through logistics, and thank sponsors.
Now we are to break off into small groups. Stickers were carefully placed on our name tags, each representing an item or character that identified our pre-assigned group. I was seriously confused. My sticker looked like an urban street performer, and yet there was no such group. I eventually found the other, equally-confused, “wrestlers.”
“Groups A, B, and C would have been easier,” I thought to myself. But that probably wasn’t the point.
At this moment, the event became a little more personable. Prior to the small group sessions, a mixture of excitement and anxiousness stirred in the air. The mood relaxed once we were with a smaller group of peers.
Under the guidance of Greg Cerveny, a Geekdom community leader, we introduced ourselves and then briefly pitched our ideas.
Elvira Gonzalez, a 3DS veteran who is participating for the second time, explained that she “gained a lot of experience” the first time through, and so she “came back to learn more.” Gonzalez pitched two ideas to the group, a rating system for college athletic programs and coaches, and a parking tracking system for universities.
Paulo del Barrio, a UTSA student with a business background, was excited about the opportunity to “meet partners and supporters” for his project, an inventory management system for bars and restaurants.
Hector Villarreal, a young programmer, pitched his vision for an interactive whiteboard while noting that he was “learning so much and feeling comfortable pitching his idea.”
What came next would make the truest social Darwinist proud. Not everyone could win. Only one (or maybe two!) startup concepts would advance from each small group and earn the right to be pitched in front of the entire 3DS body.
My education startup, Prepd.In, was selected to advance. Success!
But I didn’t want to monopolize the opportunity. I, along with the rest of the group, encouraged Wesley Zernial to further develop his concept, a marketplace for grant writing, and pitch it as well.
3DS_Activity2At some point in this process, we became aware that food was available. Despite that insight, we decided to continue working on our pitches. The cost? My dinner was a slice of bread topped with corn. Darwin may also have some thoughts on that.
At any rate, we resumed our work; exploring ways of communicating our startup’s market opportunity and business model in a concise and persuasive manner.
Time to pitch. Prepd.In is called. I rise. I speak.
And now I listen.
The startup concepts that were presented ranged from the mature (DeansListJobs.com, 3D Pathos, Node Scanner, and CUBESpawn already had a bit of business and product development under their belts) to the interesting (Forever Young and Diversify Your Crowd sounded promising) and the redundant (I won’t name specific startups here, but plenty of them were pitching concepts that were already being done).
Once we completed the pitches and a brief Q&A session, we then voted as a group. Six startups were selected to be pursued during the remainder of the weekend.
The Republic of 3DS did not select my own.
Though disappointed, I can’t say that the outcome was entirely unexpected. My startup is pursuing a niche market opportunity that isn’t particularly flashy. And though I felt I had articulated a real opportunity for a viable, self-sustaining business, it ultimately didn’t resonate with an audience that would never use the product.
I was now face-to-face with “Dilemma.”
Do I join another group to be a good sport and roll with the nature of the event? Ah, but I so desperately want to devote my weekend to this project, my project, a real business, that I am actually starting! Do I go rogue and work on it anyway? If so, do I poach others from the established groups or do I fly solo?
While seeking advice from others, an interesting turn of events unfolded. Zernial, the other participant from my small group that pitched his startup – a marketplace for grant writing – had an idea.
His startup concept was actually selected. And since startups would be potential users of his product, he wanted to work with another startup to model his own endeavor off of.
“We can work together!” he reassured me. “And maybe we can file some grants for your business too.”
Okay, that sounds like a good deal.
The rest of the evening was spent in a conference room with a team of five other participants. After brief introductions, we got to work. We started by learning from Zernial the nature of the grant writing process. This exercise helped us identify actors and pain points. Then we hit Google. Soon enough, we had a shared excel sheet on Google Drive outlining all the “players” in our space. Limitations were identified, ideas were discussed, and the outline of a product began to emerge on a lean canvass mock-up.
Meanwhile, mentors frequently dropped in, asking us about our problem areas, differentiators, and ideas for monetization.
At one point, something rather miraculous happened. We went to GoDaddy to begin the ever-so-frustrating process of looking for domain names.
“I like grantsrus.com.”
“Nope, that’s taken too.”
“What about grantsforme.com?”
“Wow! It’s available.”
Ten dollars later, we had secured our company name and URL – GrantsFor.me
That was unexpectedly easy and exciting. We like the name and we like the overall business opportunity. Furthermore, I was flattered that the group voted me as their CEO.
Now the real work begins. Let’s get to it.

“Inside 3DS” is a series written by Ian Panchèvre. It covers Three Day Startup, which is an event organized by Trinity University and hosted at Geekdom, from the perspective of a participant. Stay tuned for Part II.

Disclaimer: Geekdom is a sponsor of siliconhillsnews.com

3 Day Startup San Antonio Accepting Applications

Have you always wanted to launch a tech company but didn’t know how to go about it?
Well now is your chance to learn. 3 Day Startup San Antonio takes place Nov. 16 to 18 at Geekdom, on the 11th floor of the Weston Centre downtown.
The program is like getting a mini-MBA in a weekend. It is all about forming a company in three days. About 40 students and professionals gather to brainstorm ideas on the first night and then they vote on the best ones. They spend the rest of the weekend hashing out business and marketing plans, programming websites and creating their business. Throughout the weekend, the participants interact with mentors who have actually built businesses. They also get catered meals and all kinds of drinks and snacks. The program culminates with a pitch session to a panel of judges and investors on Sunday night.
And often the business doesn’t end there. Several 3 Day Startup ideas have become viable businesses including Cabstr, Grapevine, Embarkly, Console.FM, JiveTickets and many more.
To participate, you must apply for a spot. The organizers are looking for people “with an entrepreneurial drive, including backgrounds in Computer Science, MBAs, law, graphic designers, PR, business, etc.”
“We believe 3 Day Startup is a great way to get the community excited about entrepreneurship and to spend an intense weekend with creative people who want to actually bring an idea to life as opposed to sitting back and listening to YATAE (yet another talk about entrepreneurship),” according to 3 Day Startup San Antonio’s Website. “It’s also a social and business experiment to see how much a group of passionate people can accomplish over the course of 60 hours.”
If you want to learn more, there’s a super secret meetup Thursday (Oct. 18) night at Geekdom starting at 7 p.m. and followed by a happy hour at Tycoon Flats.

Alan Weinkrantz, who serves as a mentor during the 3 Day Startup San Antonio program, recently created this video of Cristal Glangchai, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Trinity University and organizer of 3 Day Startup San Antonio.

Apply for 3 Day Startup San Antonio

This weekend a special 3 Day Startup takes place at Home Away’s headquarters in Austin.
And another 3 Day Startup is scheduled for the weekend of April 27 at Geekdom at the Weston Centre in downtown San Antonio.
The deadline to apply to participate is April 18th. And there’s a top secret meet up at Trinity on April 12 to learn more about the event.
Alan Weinkrantz, a PR expert who resides at Geekdom, has written this post on what 3 Day Startup is and why you should apply to attend.
To get a glimpse of what it was like at the last 3 Day Startup in San Antonio last November, check out this story I wrote about it. I was impressed with the level of passion and commitment the participants had and their creative ideas and execution in a short period of time. At the end of the weekend, the entrepreneurs pitched their companies to a group of judges and investors. In fact, several companies have spun out of 3 Day Startup including Hoot.me.

Five companies under development at 3 Day Startup San Antonio

About 40 aspiring entrepreneurs gathered Friday afternoon at Geekdom downtown for 3 Day Startup San Antonio.
They brought sleeping bags, backpacks, computers and tents.
They had plenty of fuel to get them through the weekend with two refrigerators filled with Red Bull, sodas, gatorade, juice boxes, water, beer and fruit. An entire shelf held dozens of different kinds of snacks including Cheez-Its, Oreo cookies, Snickers bars and granola bars.
They spent an hour getting to know one another before breaking into eight color-coded groups to brainstorm ideas to create a new company. From 3:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. they worked in different offices hashing out their ideas on white boards. More than a dozen mentors and organizers also helped the participants formulate their ideas.
Luz Cristal Glangchai, associate director of Trinity University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, oversees the program.
Nick Longo, who founded Coffeecup Software, and now heads up the Geekdom, and Todd Morey, who helped create Rackspace’s cloud business, would pop in and out of the offices, offering advice.
Longo told the green team to keep in mind “what problem am I trying to solve? How large is my market? And can I execute it?”
He told them that there are a lot of sites like Prezi, Woofoo forms and Chargify that already exist that could help them mock up a website.
Morey told them to keep in mind the cost of acquiring customers.
“Going viral is not a strategy,” Longo said. “Google Ad words is not a strategy.”
The green group came up with an idea for putting a friendly face on a computer repair service targeted at the elderly and people with learning disabilities.
Longo recommended googling “The Pirate Metrics” on acquiring and retaining customers and to follow advice articulated by Eric Ries in his book The Lean Startup.
“If it takes too much money upfront it’s non-executable,” Longo said.
The yellow group listed a bunch of problems on a white board and then brainstormed solutions for them. They included a parking app to reserve a parking space, a grocery list helper app and a language app to help learn a foreign language.
Ryan Kelly, owner of Pear Analytics and a mentor, suggested the group gamify the language app.
“Make learning a language more fun,” he said.
Around 6 p.m., the groups broke for a catered dinner of Dicky’s barbecue brisket sandwiches, potato salad and beans. And then they went back to their offices to create powerpoint presentations and solidify their ideas.
At the pitch session, the groups presented their ideas on a giant screen. The pitches ranged from a dating app to cloud computing platform. The first pitch was for GolfAverage.com, an in-depth statistics site for golfers, which keeps track of a current game and past performance, followed by Penny for Your Thoughts, a documentary on homeless people and a sustainable clothing line.
Other ideas included BookZingo.com, a marketplace for college students to sell their textbooks, Transparent Mortgages, a site for first time homebuyers and those with credit issues, Clan, an app for music sharing, Spear Phishing, a virus and malware prevention platform, Hole in the wall, a local restaurant review site, Approachab.ly, a dating app, Kudotree, a personal recommendation site and Babbling, a program to learn a foreign language intuitively.
In the end, the group voted by putting their heads down with closed eyes and raising their hands for the idea with the greatest chance of success and the idea that they most wanted to work on. Each member had two votes.
Ideas around the hot trends of mobile, social and location garnered the most interest. The final five ideas with the most votes included GolfAverage.com, Approachab.ly, Babbling, Clan and Spear Phishing. The group leader stood before the crowd and told them what kinds of skills were needed to build out the company and then people decided whether they wanted to work for them. The largest groups formed around Approachab.ly and Babbling. Around 10 p.m. they headed for offices to get back to work. Meanwhile, Clan bit the dust. And Hole in the Wall re-emerged as a company with five people wanting to work for the idea.
“That’s going to happen,” said Rachit Shah, one of the original founders of 3DS.
“Another company will probably fail before the night’s over,” said Cam Houser, another original founder of 3DS. Four University of Texas graduate students in business, computer science, engineering and law started 3 Day Startup in 2008 and now they run it full time as a nonprofit organization.
“It’s an entrepreneurship education program for university students,” Houser said. “We were grad students and didn’t feel like the student potential for entrepreneurship was being met. More could be done to help students start ventures.”
The idea is a popular one. 3DS has put on programs around the world including China and Germany.
“You have to apply, submit a resume, pitch an idea and get interviewed,” Houser said. “Most of the people who want to participate in a 3DS are pretty passionate.”
The San Antonio program was the 17th 3DS.
“It’s free to participants,” Houser said. “We’re giving them a scholarship.” It costs around $500 per person which includes catered meals, snacks and drinks and place to hold the event. Corporate sponsors contribute the bulk of the money.
“The only time they leave the building is to talk to customers,” Houser said. “On Sunday, their eyes are bloodshot and they smell bad but they’re really fired up.”
The 3DS organizers do have rules. They don’t let pre-existing companies pitch and they don’t allow anyone to pitch porn sites.
“It ranges from an idea on a napkin, up to they’ve done a lot of market research and they have a site in mind,” Houser said. “We provide an exciting and high energy environment that resembles a startup with long hours and overlaying order onto chaos.
So far, 16 companies have spun out of 3Ds that have raised $4 million, Houser said. They include Hoot.me, FanDash, Console.FM and Famigo.
FanDash, formerly BandDemand.com, is one of the startups to spin out of the San Antonio 3DS program.
The founder of Hurricane Party pitched his idea but no one wanted to do it, Houser said. But he did meet five of his six members of his team at 3DS, he said. The company is now called Foreca.st and is doing well.
Christian Salmagne from Aachen, Germany, brought 3DS startup to his hometown last summer. Forty students met at the RWTH Aachen University and at least one of the companies is still up and running, Salmagne said. The company is Tamyca.de, which stands for Take My Car. It’s a peer to peer personal car sharing site.
Salmagne attended the San Antonio 3DS. He’s currently doing a three month fellowship at the Austin Technology Incubator to learn about entrepreneurship so he can take his knowledge back to his hometown to help with Germay’s startup community.
“I’m helping people and observing,” Salmagne said. “I like to experience this energy. You get addicted to it.”

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