3 Day Startup is an entrepreneurship education program designed for university students with an emphasis on learning by doing. The idea is simple: start tech companies over the course of three days. 3DS can be thought of as a lab for students with a passion for entrepreneurship, just how chemistry students spend much of their time in labs testing, failing, creating and learning. The event attracts young men and women talented in computer science, web/mobile app development, graphic design and a variety of business majors.
I had the pleasure of participating at 3DS Creighton over this past weekend. The event took place in the Heider College of Business on Creighton’s campus. The weekend was kicked off on Friday at 4PM with a 3-hour brainstorming session. We were divided into random teams and threw everything we had in our minds, onto paper. At 7PM, a member from each group pitched 2 of their top ideas to the entire group. Of the total 12 ideas pitched, the entire group then voted on the top 5 ideas kindergarten style, heads down, hands up. Groups then organically formed around the 5 ideas and the respective founder.
From there it was off to the races. Saturday morning teams were strongly encouraged to do first-hand market research out in the community. Who experiences the problem that you are aiming to solve? Find them, ask questions about that problem and listen. DueIt, a time management app, asked people in the Old Market about their pain points in organizing their own schedule. NineDot, a web platform aimed to connect businesses to talented interns via test projects, talked to businesses about their struggles with finding quality interns and with young talented developers struggling to get internships due to lack of experience. This was maybe one of the most important parts of the process, as teams were able to better understand the problem they were solving, validating that problem. Saturday night, teams gave a test pitch to the entire group, along with a panel of mentors that poked questions. Most teams used that feedback to work into the early morning of Sunday.
In the final push, teams worked diligently to finalize business models, put together their presentation slides and practice their pitches. 7PM came around and the companies were ready to go. Around 100 people gathered to watch the pitches in the Hixon-Leid auditorium and via live stream. Also in attendance were the 4 esteemed panelists, including Dundee’s own Mark Hasebroock. The panelists, along with all in attendance were more than impressed with the quality of the presentations and feasibility of the ideas.
DueIt: Simple time management app that notifies you when you have free time
Popular Vote: Political engagement app that connects constituents to their representatives in their state capitol and in D.C.
WorkNinja: The “Kayak.com” for finding and scheduling home service providers (HVAC/Plumbing).
NineDot: Platform connecting businesses looking for interns with talented tech students, using test projects as a measure of qualification.
GoldenGrail: Online community and ecommerce platform connecting passionate collectors.
I pitched on behalf of the WorkNinja team. The biggest positive I took away from the experience was developing a process of analyzing and testing ideas. I often have cool ideas that I think could be turned into companies, as we all do. However, being able to transform the “cool idea” into a feasible business model is a different skill. Analyzing the problem through data, defining and validating the problem and then working out the kinks in the solution. I found this process to be much more effective than the contrary, focusing on the solution or the coolness factor. The coolness factor needs to be present as well, but if it isn’t solving anything real, it’s not all that cool.
Pete, Dundee Intern