Tag: 3 Day Startup

3 Day Startup at Geekdom Nurtures New Entrepreneurs

Founder of Silicon Hills News

Stephanie King with the rest of the Spotduct team at 3 Day Startup San Antonio

Stephanie King with the rest of the Spotduct team at 3 Day Startup

Stephanie King attended a 3 Day Startup program at Geekdom in San Antonio last weekend with an idea for a company.

“I quickly realized I needed more focus,” she said.

Instead of pitching her idea, King joined Spotduct, a startup focused on creating short videos for brands tied to a prize for consumers who watch them.

Spotduct, a four-person team led by Will Shipley, produced a 30 second video promoting Hint water. At the end, viewers were asked how many bottles of Hint appeared in the video. Those who got the correct answer, 11, won a prize. The Spotduct team plans to build an online interactive video platform by earning revenue from pay per click video quizzes tied to the videos they create.

“It was a good experience because it taught me what it takes to pitch our idea to investors,” King said. “We also worked on an idea under pressure and we had to create a viable product in a weekend. That’s a skill set you can’t get anywhere else.”

Spotduct was one of seven startups that spun out of 3 Day Startup on Film, Music and Fashion last weekend. The 80/20 Foundation funded the program. It’s one in a series of thematic 3DS programs held at Geekdom, the coworking and technology incubator downtown.

More than 40 people participated in the weekend bootcamp to create a company. The other teams included Jukebox, a subscription music box, Dreamland, family friendly events focused on the arts, Syndicated Video Network Television, branded Internet-based TV channels, Noiiz, a marketplace for musicians to sell their creations, Puro Pinche, a mobile events calendar focused on San Antonio, and Campfire, a video storytelling site.

On Sunday, the teams pitched before a panel of judges who asked questions and provided feedback on their ventures.

The Jukebox team at 3 Day Startup

The Jukebox team at 3 Day Startup

The Jukebox team wants to provide a monthly subscription based box that gives people a novel way to experience music. The box would contain a promotional CD from an independent musician along with band swag such as T-shirts, guitar picks and more.

The idea is similar to Barkbox and Birchbox and other subscription-based models. The team included Tim Slusher, Candyce Slusher, Cynthia Marshall, Hannah Zhoa and Sean Mcleod. The box is aimed at the 16 to 30 year old age group. Each box is estimated to cost $15.

Jukebox expects to send out its first boxes by August, said Candyce Slusher.

The Puro Pinche team built an entertainment events calendar site optimized for mobile viewing.

Stephanie Guerra, founder of Puro Pinche

Stephanie Guerra, founder of Puro Pinche

Stephanie Guerra launched the blog Puro Pinche in June of 2010 and now she’s looking to expand the site and monetize it.

Nic Jones, Greg Vallejo and Miles Terracina worked with Guerra to create the mobile events site.

“I’m a Geekdom member,” Guerra said. “I’ve seen startups come and go out of Geekdom. I wanted to be a part of it and see how my company could grow.”
Vallejo is a student at CodeUp at Geekdom.

“I came to this wanting to plug into the entrepreneurial community in San Antonio,” he said.

The team behind Syndicated Video Network Television wants to tap into the city’s rich broadcasting history to create streaming online TV channels, said Luke Horgan, its founder. He created an example of a San Antonio channel at Purosa.snvtv.com.

“The next generation of TV could be created here,” Horgan said.

Join a Special 3 Day Startup Focused on Cyber Security in San Antonio

unnamed-1Did you know San Antonio has the second largest concentration of cyber security professionals outside of the Washington, D.C. area?

The bulk of them are at the National Security Agency’s (also nicknamed as No Such Agency) Texas Cryptology Center. The NSA leased and renovated the old Sony chip manufacturing plant in 2005 and was expected to hire as many as 1,500 workers. The NSA’s facility has two buildings for a total of 475,000 square feet, including a data center.

Even before the NSA, San Antonio had deep roots in the cyber security field with the U.S. Air Force Intelligence Agency at Lackland, nicknamed Security Hill and the University of Texas at San Antonio recognized by the NSA as a center for academic excellence in information assurance education.

So it just made sense for the first Cyber Security 3 Day Startup to take place in San Antonio. 3DS selects 45 people to participate in the weekend long program in which the group breaks up into teams and form startups, create a prototype and then pitch their companies. The 80/20 Foundation is sponsoring the Cyber Security 3 Day Startup.

The Cyber Security 3 Day Startup is now recruiting “passionate individuals with an entrepreneurial drive, including Computer Science (PhD, MS, undergraduate) MBAs, law students, graphic designers, PR, business undergraduates, etc” to participate in its program to be held May 23rd through May 25th at the old Geekdom on the 11th floor of the Weston Centre.

To apply for the program, please visit Cyber Security 3 Day Startup.

First 3 Day Startup Program at UTSA

Reporter with Silicon Hills News

3DS GenericThe University of Texas at San Antonio held its inaugural 3 Day Startup event last weekend.
Friday afternoon, 35 students began working to create startups with viable business models within a 52 hour deadline.
At the final presentation Sunday evening, the students pitched six startups to a panel of judges, including Flashscan3D CEO Mike Troy, CEO and President of Liquid Networx Don Douglas, and Harvey Najim Center for Business Innovation and Social Responsibility Director Suz Burroughs.
“What we have done today here is begin to introduce entrepreneurship across the campus,” UTSA CITE Assistant Presenter at 3 Day StartupDirector and 3DS mentor Anita Leffel said. “All of you are in one way or another entrepreneurial. You will be more willing to take these risks, to stand up and fight and work for what you believe in and for improving our city.”
Leffel led the 3DS mentoring team along with entrepreneur and angel investor Michael Girdley. The mentoring team also included Cole Wollak of SA New Tech, Nathan Roach of RAM Law Firm and Greenhouse, Ev Kunetsov of Rackspace, Richard Ortega of TrueAbility, Andrew Trickett of the UTSA Texas Sustainability Research Institute, Jerry Wassum and others. UTSA’s CEO student organization helped organize and recruit for the event. The 80/20 Foundation sponsored the 3 Day Startup.
While it’s the first 3 Day Startup at UTSA, it’s not the first one in San Antonio. Rackspace hosted the first two 3 Day Startup programs at its headquarters a few years ago. Since then, Geekdom has hosted several 3 Day Startup programs. The program originated at the University of Texas at Austin and has since gone global as a way to easily teach entrepreneurship in a weekend.
Out of the 35 original students at UTSA, 28 made it to the final presentation. The others dropped out. The program is not easy. It’s demanding. And few of the participants sleep. Throughout the weekend, the students worked on creating business models with the lean canvas approach. They learned verbal strategies to explain their ideas concisely and court potential customers. They did primary research – talking to San Antonio businesses about their ideas and changing them if no one was interested. They practiced pitching over and over while getting constant input from mentors.
At the final presentation, some of the business models were completely different from the original idea, which is quite common in the 3 Day Startup process.
One of the startups, Smart Bar Technologies created a bottle-weighing pad that helped bar owners keep track of their most expensive spirits. They plan to design an app for the pads that will allow bar owners to monitor the bar in real time and find out if their bartenders are over pouring or giving away drinks. While the team knew they wanted to do something to help bars, their idea constantly changed throughout the weekend.
“We pivoted nine times,” said Luis Sauceda, the Smart Bar Technologies’ presenter. “We went from a machine that would pour drinks for you, to an application that will show you how to bartend, then we were going to do solar panels, and then we came back to this.”
Another team changed their idea completely. The resulting startup, Gift Gram, is a mobile app that sends personalized video messages along with a digital gift card. The app generates revenue by taking a portion of its gift card sales — possible because they can get a discount buying cards in bulk — and by selling premium video message templates.
Schedutary, which also had changes, is a mobile calendar app that – after some initial data input and use – can guess what appointments a user might have in the future and will reschedule existing appointments by notifying the user of free time in the future. The app will also be able to sync with existing calendar applications such as Google Calendar. The team also wants to tie the app to Facebook, so friends can find out if the user is busy and why.
Several original startup ideas withstood the three days of testing. Emergensleep designed an enclosed, rectangle-shaped sleeping pod, inspired by Japanese capsule motels, that can be quickly deployed when needed or stacked to gather like red solo cups when not in use. Nick Villarreal, who had the idea ready for 3DS, envisions the pods being used in disaster relief situations in place of traditional cots because pods are faster to set up and stackable as bunks.
“Ninety two million people are how many people were displaced worldwide by disasters last year. What do you do when that many people have no place to sleep?” Villarreal asked. “It takes a lot of time to set up a whole bunch of cots. You have to figure them out and put them in a spot. This one you can just pull out and place in that spot.”
Engineer-aiding startup Listo also got their idea through unscathed. Listo is a web application that combines parts catalogs for different construction industries into one list on one website, simplifying the process of finding and buying specific parts for engineers. Eventually, the Listo team wants to make the lists searchable by industry, part availability, price, and so on. The startup will make money from both ads and premium listing options from manufacturers.
The most popular idea at Fridays pitch meeting, Kommingle, also made it through to the final presentation. Created by Anton Moczygemba, Kommingle is a web based app that allows restaurants to push out special coupons at strategic times to get more traffic. The application is designed with a map so users can see what deals are available at what times. Additionally, however, the app helps friends organize group discounts at specific restaurants were the discounted rate increases with the size of the group. Kommingle will charge participating restaurants a one-time activation fee as well as a monthly fee.
While some presentations were rockier than others, panelist Susan Burroughs was impressed with many of the business concepts.
“I think a lot of them were very, very strong. In the first idea, I really enjoyed seeing somebody presenting from storytelling and from their heart rather than being an actor and having everything memorized,” Burroughs said. “I also felt like the last presentation was incredibly strong (Emergensleep – stackable sleeping pods.) I absolutely love social enterprise and the idea that you can do significant good in the world while still making a profit and paying your rent.”
Both Burroughs and fellow panelist Mike Troy have participated in several 3DS events. Troy believes 3DS is invaluable in showing students how the real world works.
“There is so much in school about being right. The real world operates on, ‘do the best job you can in a certain amount of time that you are given,’” Troy said. “Be okay with that, you know, and then come back and revisit it later if you really need to.”

Seven Teams Presented at 3 Day Startup Austin

Reporter with Silicon Hills News

20131020_205208Three Day Startup began in 2008 as a project of some University of Texas graduate students who thought entrepreneurship, like many other areas of study, really ought to have a lab where students could make experiments and—if necessary—blow things up as part of the learning process.
Since then it has evolved to 73 programs at 30 universities in the U.S., Israel, Chile, Thailand, Spain, the Netherlands, Columbia and more.
Seven teams, plus one dummy team, presented Sunday night at the Austin Technology Incubator after working on their projects since Friday night, often staying up until 4 a.m. and being sent out to get at least six hours of market validation. They presented before an audience and a panel comprised of Jason Seats of Techstars, Josh Kerr of Written, Jeff McMahon of Open Labs and Fred Schmidt of Capital Factory and Portalarium.


Biquity is investment banking using bitcoin, an unregulated online currency. The practice is illegal in the U.S., but is being used in several Latin American companies where there’s restricted access to equity financing. Biquity would work as a kind of transaction validation escrow service between a company auctioning shares and a company or individual buying shares. Because there are no foreign capital controls on bitcoin, the transaction would not be subject to limits or federal or bank-driven fees
The problem, as Seats pointed out, is that while the lack of oversight means lower transaction costs it also means there’s no oversight to protect parties. The remedy for that is that bitcoin now has futures contracts connected to local currency to ensure that the price agreed upon stays consistent relative to other types of currency. Once the transaction is made it may be easy to convert the bitcoin into local currency that is protected.

Snip Book

Snip Book is an app for hair stylists to capture information about their customers, cataloguing images of haircuts or dye jobs they’ve given, with the specific angle of the cut or the color of dye so that if customers come back asking for the same cut or color they had before, the stylist can easily call up the information. The team’s presenter said 90 percent of the 1.6 million stylists in the U.S. rely on repeat customers for their business’s survival, so being able to recall a cut one gave a client several months ago is important. The original model would be subscription based for about $20 a month with add-on services such as client scheduling. The app could be scaled horizontally to be used at nail salons, tattoo parlors, etc.
The problem, the panel pointed out, was that a lot of this could be done on Evernote. But, Snip Book would also push the hairstyles to social media, such as Facebook, and enhance marketing.


Alza is an app designed to help users avoid losing time in distractions like getting lost for hours on Facebook or oversleeping. Alza collects data from users’ calendars, social media, and other apps, and sends you notification if it sees users playing candy crush instead of studying for the test or presentation they have to give tomorrow.
With other apps and computer tools, people have to manually track their time, pressing a start and stop button. But with Alza, it’s all done automatically. The team planned to do a monthly subscription and also work with organizations like Groupon. If someone has a productive week, they get extra discounts on restaurants and entertainment.
Fred Schmidt asked if this would help him if he was wasting time at the golf course and one team member said it would use his phone’s GPS system to see whether he was where he should be during that time.
Another problem was that iOS sandboxes apps, preventing the app from seeing whether or not a customer is wasting time on another app. But the worst liability was that audience members said they would turn the app off after one session of nagging. A lot of people don’t want to waste time but they don’t want their phones telling them what to do, either.
Parents might buy it though.


EventApps.com is an app for small to medium sized conference and event planners. The simple, module-based app lets users plan and promote events without investing a lot of time in creating a short-lived app or a lot of money—though the price point was $100 for an event with fewer than 200 attendees and $1,000 for events with more than 200.

Sally Stone with Match Setter

Sally Stone pitching Match Setter

Schmidt pointed out that during the recent Captivate conference, rooms changed frequently depending on the number of actual attendees for each session as well as the noise level in the exhibition hall. The ability to do live updates is crucial for events. That would require a cloud based system
The panelists also questioned the jump from $100 to $1,000.

Match Setter

Match Setter is an app for tennis players to find pickup games in their geographic area with other players who have roughly the same skill level. Presenter Sally Stone said many players can’t find games when they have the time to play them or if they do their opponents aren’t as good a player as they claim. Match Setter not only lets people rate their own playing but allows others who have played them to rate them as well. It creates a community of tennis players and also allows players to plan games around what skill sets they want to improve on.
The team planned to monetize Match Setter with a subscription, but the panel recommended having sponsors, such as tennis ball manufacturers, instead. Having the app free to users would create critical mass necessary to find other funding models.

Looksy TV

Looksy TV uses small cameras to collect analytics on crowds in restaurants, bars and other establishments that enable venues to gather useful data on their traffic and also let prospective users check in on whether a particular restaurant is too crowded, empty or otherwise lacking ambiance the customer is looking for.
Similar to Scene Tap in its function, the application differs in that, instead of identifying approximate ages and genders of patrons it uses a cartoon filter to obscure the faces and identities. It only allows a user to see a 30-second window into a particular establishment, locking the person out for 15-20 minutes after that glimpse to prevent stalking.

Chiron Health

Andrew O’Hara with Chiron Health

Andrew O’Hara with Chiron Health

Chiron Health is a secure, web-based application that allows doctors and psychiatrists to visit with patients online. The ultimate goal would be to provide better medical care in rural areas where doctors are in short supply. Though presenter Andrew O’Hara, who is completing his masters in medical infomatics, acknowledged that early adopters were more likely to be urban dwellers such as executives who prefer to take a 15-minute visit via internet rather than expend the time to actually go to the doctor’s office.
The company would charge a fee for the service, taking its cut after the doctor gets paid. More than 20 states require insurance to pay for medical telechats the same way they would pay for in-person visits, O’Hara said, and more states are coming on board.
The panel asked whether the platform was defensible when huge medical conglomerates could take over the market at a moment’s notice. O’Hara said Chiron sees the opportunity to partner with other healthcare technology companies in the next several years to help launch the product.

The final presentation brought three men to the stage…one a typically scruffy startup guy and the other two ridiculously pretty, ripped men in recently ironed clothing proposing a Craigslist-style site for musicians to purchase supplies. Music Matrix was a piece of Moth to Flame Productions’ movie about the startup world Funemployment.

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.

HomeAway teams up with 3 Day Startup to foster new companies

By Luke Carrière
Special contributor to Silicon Hills News

Ever wanted to start a company but didn’t know the exact market or have the exact expertise? 3 Day Startup is teaming up with HomeAway, a recently IPO-ed Austin startup, to challenge, inspire, and help students and recent graduates to create companies in the travel space. The goal is to meet co-founders, work with great mentors, and build momentum for your new tech startup. We would like to invite you to apply to this exciting new event, which will be held the weekend of April 13th to April 15th. Please apply as soon as possible as we have rolling admissions.

We’ll combine the regular 3DS format – sixty hours of little sleep, high intensity doing, including market validation, prototyping, business model generation, etc – with HomeAway’s unique insights in the travel industry to help you create new companies. HomeAway has generously agreed to donate access to their API, their top executives, and has agreed to host free boot camps on the travel space in general and specifically, the $85 billion vacation rental market. The experiment here is simple: what happens when you combine 40 brilliant participants, 3DS’ proven methods for company creation, and the insights and expertise of a $2 billion company? As always, you, the participants will own the company. (That’s right, HomeAway isn’t taking any equity in companies that come out of the weekend, although they have acquired a lot of companies (16) in the past few years.)

Accepted participants will be mentored by some of HomeAway’s finest employees, including Chief Technology Officer Ross Buhrdorf. Over a dozen rockstars from HomeAway’s engineering, marketing, and sales departments will also be on hand at the event to help you build your companies. If you’re interested in participating in this unique new event, please click here to apply.

Austin-San Antonio tech start-up incubators, accelerators and other programs

So many central Texas start-ups have taken off recently and some of them may need a boost to get to the next level.
This list of Austin and San Antonio incubators and accelerators help companies with a leg up in the marketplace.
Some of them have rigorous application and screening processes. Check them out to find the one that’s right for your venture.

Tech Ranch is a for-profit incubator founded in 2008 by Kevin Koym and Jonas Lamis. It offers co-working space for start-ups, consulting services and specialized programs to help entrepreneurs launch their ventures. Its flagship programs are Camp Fires, which are informal gatherings on Friday, Venture Forth, an 8-week program, and Pioneer Program, a weekly meeting coupled with monthly rent for office space.

Capital Factory, founded in 2009 by Joshua Baer and Bryan Menell, is a seed-stage technology accelerator for startups. It runs a 10 week program that begins in May and runs through August. It ends with a Demo Day in September in which the companies pitch to potential investors, media and others.

TechStars Cloud is the newest accelerator for high-tech startups in the Silicon Hills area. It’s based at the Geekdom in downtown San Antonio. The inaugural class of TechStar Cloud companies kicks off in January. Each company receives $18,000 and access to another $100,000 loan. The 12-week program ends with a Demo Day.

Austin Technology Incubator, founded in 1989, has helped more than 200 companies. It’s part of the IC2 Institute at the University of Texas.

Texas Venture Labs at the University of Texas helps accelerate startup companies in central Texas.

SXSW Accelerator 2012 – this is the fourth year for this competition which features 48 start-up companies pitching to an audience of investors and experienced entrepreneurs. The judges then choose 18 finalists who give a final pitch and then the winners are chosen.

One Semester Start-up at the University of Texas debuted this fall. The companies will pitch to investors and others on Thursday. Professor of Innovation and Murchison Fellow of Free Enterprise Bob Metcalfe, Joshua Baer of Capital Factory and John Butler, Director of H.K. Entrepreneurship Center at the University of Texas head up the program.

This Friday, Ash Maurya, founder of Spark59 and author of Running Lean, is putting on a one-day workshop at Tech Ranch Austin. The program, which costs $249, starts at 9 a.m.

Other programs designed to spur innovation among the entrepreneurial mindset include:

3 Day Startup

RISE Austin

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