Earlier this month, the Austin cleantech community hosted a Cleanteach Three Day Stratup (3DS) an immersive learning-by-doing entrepreneurship event. Over 65 aspiring entrepreneurs from across the state applied to participate, and a diverse mix of 40 participants ranging in age from 19-55 were selected to spend their weekend pitching ideas, forming teams, and crafting innovative cleantech startups.
The Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) led the statewide event with support from its partners in the Southwest Regional Clean Energy Incubation Initiative (SRCEII) network. The SRCEII network includes university and commercialization partners from across the state, including: Pecan Street, Inc., the Research Valley Innovation Center (College Station/TAMU), the Hub of Human Innovation (El Paso/UTEP), and the Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship at UTSA (San Antonio). ATI’s objective is to lead consistent and ongoing collaboration among research universities, innovation partners, and the private sector that will build and enhance the regional network of mentors, investors, and entrepreneurs poised to lead in the cleantech economy.
3DS trains individuals across a range of core entrepreneurship skills, such as brainstorming, collaboration, customer discovery, rapid prototyping, mentor engagement, and investor pitching. On Day 1 of the event, 27 different ideas were pitched by participants. After the votes were tallied, 6 teams formed around themes as diverse as an e-bike retrofit kit, a microgrid in a box, a smart shower head for hotels, an app to prevent food waste, energy generation from industrial wastewater, and smart trash cans paired with education programs to sort waste and prevent littering.
On Day 2, the teams went into the community to conduct customer interviews in the morning and spent the afternoon workshopping their companies with feedback from a robust community of mentors. Over the course of the weekend, 17 on-call experts made themselves available for 38 hours of interviews, and 24 mentors were on-site for a combined 78 hours of mentoring! Considering the entire program ran 72 hours, it’s an understatement to say that the cleantech community in Austin literally showed up in a big way to support the startups that were formed through this program. Bravo!
On Day 3, the teams scrambled to finalize their business models and pitches with even more mentor support. Each team then had the opportunity to pitch in front of a panel of esteemed judges from the community with a live audience of other participants, mentors, and community members. Check out the great data in the photos below!
A big thank you to our entire community of mentors and a special thanks to our judges, who peppered the teams with great questions and inspired fear in them throughout the weekend.
- Preston James – Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) – The University of Texas at Austin, Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship, Growth, and Renewal + Co-Founder/Chairman – E3 Angel Network
- Samuel Kim – Managing Partner at Bandgap Ventures
- John Paulos – angel investor
- Jason Bethke – President & CGO, Fathom
- Eddy Trevino – State Energy Conservation Office, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
- Neal A. Guentzel M.S., J.D. – Technology & IP Management Specialist, UTSA
Although 3DS does not believe in announcing “winners,” it’s clear that the event was a success and that new entrepreneurs were both challenged and inspired by their immersive experience. If you missed the application deadline this year and want to get involved next year, we’d love to have you!
This event would not have been possible without the support of DLA Piper NEST and our hosts at WeWork University Park. Thank you!
The NEST is where starts-ups access the best in emerging growth legal services and advice. DLA Piper created the NEST to serve the specific needs of early-stage, high growth companies. In the NEST, we couple technology with proven processes to provide efficient legal services when companies need them most. The NEST program is a unified approach focused on nurturing start-ups from formation to funding and on to a high-growth flight path.
WeWork provides small businesses, startups, and freelancers with beautiful workspace, inspiring community, and meaningful services. With weekly events, personalized support, flexibility, and access to thousands of like-minded entrepreneurs around the world – WeWork is the perfect place to grow your business in 2016. WeWork has two locations right here in Austin! WeWork Unviersity Park is located near UT’s beautiful campus and just a few minutes from downtown. University Park offers beautiful views of the rolling hills, the Austin Capital, UT’s stadium & more! Our Congress location sits in the heart of downtown Austin at 6th St. and Congress Ave. To learn more about joining the community, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 855.593.9675.