For Those About to Rock
Bart Bohn, a Director at the Austin Technology Incubator, began the 2011 Spring 3 Day Startup Austin (3DS) in an inspiring and surprising way: he set the mood for the evening by playing MGMT’s “Time to Pretend” at full blast to the crowded room of participants.

This is our decision, to live fast and die young.
We’ve got the vision, now let’s have some fun.
Yeah, it’s overwhelming, but what else can we do.
Get jobs in offices, and wake up for the morning commute.

These lyrics speak to the entrepreneurial spirit: becoming an entrepreneur provides a path away from a dismal office job life. And for many, 3 Day Startup is the first taste of what an entrepreneurial life entails. This hands-on, learning-by-doing program introduces students to the challenges and opportunities  of entrepreneurship and strengthens entrepreneurial communities.

Sunday Night Pitches/Demos
Sunday night was excellent this year and perhaps the best ever. The participants had done significant work before the event: their research and market validation efforts, combined with the 3DS Boot Camp and 3DS idea pipeline weeks before the event, had a huge impact on the quality of the Sunday night pitches and demos. As always, it was exciting to watch these ideas grow and change as participants tested and validated their ideas and focused on relentless execution. The final line up on Sunday night ended up as follows:

3DS part 3 012 Jonathan Spillman, a University of Texas MBA, brought an idea for a business that makes it incredibly easy to find deals for upcoming trips.

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Mechanical engineering grad student Andy Zimbroff describes Cutieque, an innovative baby clothing rental company,  as “Netflix for babyclothes”.

Democratic Lunch
3ds part 4 240 David Snyder’s interactive demo for Democratic Lunch, a site revolving around helping companies handle employee lunches, involved the entire audience.

3DS part 3 182 Hussain Hassan and Mahalia Asanaenyi explain ValueBid, a tool for optimizing auctions based on previous UT  research, and its competitors.

3DS day 1 374Luke Jones’ Avanteur mitigates the financial risks faced by independent clothing designers through a group-buying marketplace.

Social Ease
3ds part 4 300 Liuna Fekravar and Rohit Sharma pitch Social Ease, a platform on Sunday night. SocialEase helps small businesses consolidate and automate social media activites through the use of a centralized dashboard. Rohit gave an engaging and humorous presentation that explained in simple terms why small businesses have a strong need for low-cost social media guidance.

The story of the event in pictures:

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A brainstorming team gets down to business on Friday night. Bonus points for dramatic lighting and Luke’s “executive” posture/hand positioning.

3DS day 1 300 Crutches did not slow down Parth Upaday.

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Josh Baer and Bob Metcalfe. See other captions here and here.

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Yahya Haque, organizer extraordinaire

3DS day 1 149
Jeff Zhao and Blake Mason

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The post-brainstorming idea voting process begins.

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At 3DS, we kick the teams out of the building on Saturday and make them go talk to customers. Here, a team interviews a local business owner.

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Final pitches and demos getting started.

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One of the much-coveted 3DS awards

All photos courtesy of Linhao Zhang. Many thanks to Linhao!