UT students pitch business, product ideas


Shweta Gulati

 Psychology senior Justin Crites interacts with a student at Cofounder Speed Dating on Tuesday evening. 3-Day Startup hosted the event to allow UT students with business ideas to collaborate with each other.

Amanda Voeller

A 3D camera company and an interactive grocery store map are some of the many innovative ideas circulating at the Longhorn Startup Camp.

3 Day Startup hosted the UT Entrepreneurship Week Idea Generation Workshop on Tuesday to help students begin to think about how to approach and pitch startup ideas. 

Rishi Shah, Plan II Honors Program economics and history senior, said to first focus on talking to potential customers to sell a product before it is built, even if you think you have an innate understanding about what people want. Shah said to speak to 20 customers before dedicating yourself to an idea.

“If you don’t talk to them, you don’t know what they want, and this is something we really emphasize,” Shah said.

Finding out the “market pain” — the problem the product will address and who suffers because of it — is also important, Shah said.

“Once you’ve presented your problem, you’re in a much more compelling position to present a solution,” Shah said.

Cam Houser, UT alumnus and CEO of 3 Day Startup, presented an example pitch about a website that would stream channels of sports commentary to provide people with choices of what type of commentary they want.

Following the workshop, “Co-founder Speed Dating” allowed UT students with business ideas to meet other students for possible cooperations.

Students had ideas including an hourly e-book renting service, an electronics buyback company and a party-planning business.

Psychology senior Justin Crites pitched an interactive grocery store map to help customers find the products and brands they want.

3 Day Startup is an entrepreneurship boot camp for students to create businesses over a weekend. 

Longhorn Startup Camp, which began in 2012, is home to businesses created mostly by UT students including Lynx Labs, a 3D camera company, and reQwip, a beta company which will sell, rent and donate sporting equipment, Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency director Nick Spiller said.

Spiller said Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency is trying to acquire space more central to campus and is in positive negotiations with people who want to financially support the organization. The activities are part of the agency’s UT Entrepreneurship Week, which is a week-long series of entrepreneurship-promoting events that bring together various campus organizations.

“We’re trying to foster a dedicated place for entrepreneurs,” Spiller said.

Published on March 6, 2013 as "UT students pitch startups".