3rd Annual NOLA 3 Day Startup Produces Two College-Centric, Big Ideas

3 Day StartupLast weekend, students from UNO and Tulane came together for the 3rd Annual New Orleans 3 Day Startup held on the University of New Orleans campus.  Although this year’s group of students was a more intimate group than previous years, there was no shortage on big ideas.  As the teams developed their ideas and noshed on chicken strips, jambalaya, and eggrolls over the weekend, they were mentored by Edward Cheron from EventureTec, Justen Martin from Surge Forward, and local techie Travis Laurendine.

Both teams delivered clever college-centric ideas during the Sunday night pitches that were evaluated by guest panelist Jeff Serpas of GE Capital.

One team delivered a message that challenges students to heed their entrepreneurial ideas and to embrace failure.  Mentioning in their pitch on Sunday night the statistic that nine out of ten startups fail, the teams pointed message that failure is okay takes a counterintuitive stance that encourages students to “Come Fail, With Us.”  The idea is that many students don’t pursue an idea or something they feel passionate about out of fear of failure, which is something this startup spoke authentically about acknowledging their first business idea they previously developed was a failure.  The team used 3 Day Startup to pivot and move into the second iteration of their business over the weekend, creating a business they feel would help fuel the college entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The other team focused on ubiquitous social engagement by college student called Social Interest.  They created a social networking platform that allows students on college campuses to create and promote spontaneous events on campus for other students to immediately join.  Whether it’s sending a blast about a pickup game of flag football in the quad or a group studying Chemistry 101 in the library, the website would allow students to have real time access to all types of events that students themselves create and send out through the platform.  Of course, both 3DS teams have the vision of scaling their ideas beyond college campuses, but for now they are smartly starting in an environment where they have definite expertise.

Three Day Startup is an event that began several years ago in Austin by a couple of students at University of Texas who were tired of seeing their tech savvy pals migrate from their beloved city out to Silicon Valley for big companies or promising tech startups.  Seeking to eliminate the local brain drain of tech talent to basically keep their friends around, they created a weekend event where students can come together and build the basics of a startup tech business over the course of a three day long event.  The hope is that by the end of a weekend of toiling through the night, a team might have a business that merits seed funding.  Three Day Startup is held in multiple cities and has had at least a dozen creations receive funding. This same model is also utilized by Startup Weekend that presents the same unintimidating platform for creation, collaboration, and entrepreneurial opportunity.

Three Day Startup organizers for this year’s event are Christina Murphy and Becky Willoz, who are students in UNO’s Computer Science program and both officers of ACM Chapter at UNO. The event was facilitated by Hesam Panahi from the University of Houston.  Participants included Charlie Bentley, Ethan Levy, Sam Lensgraf, and William Jordan, all from Tulane University, and Dinidu Perera, Josh, Eaton, and Phil Schwartz, all of UNO.

The hope is that next year they will have more students apply from all regional universities and raise the profile of the event by connecting the winner of 3 Day Startup with the Idea Village and New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.