In late May, the 8020 Foundation and 3 Day Startup partnered to bring the San Antonio cybersecurity community together to focus on entrepreneurial learning and new venture creation within the cybersecurity space. From Heartbleed to breaches at Ebay and Target, the markets and industries tied to information security have been in the spotlight in recent weeks. Looking at the world through an entrepreneurial lens, however, one can see these problems as opportunities for improving the way the cybersecurity industry serves its market. This situation, coupled with a rapidly growing cybersecurity industry, set a perfect stage for a 3DS program focused on the space.


This 3DS, the first of its kind, provided an opportunity for community members–both UTSA students and local cybersecurity enthusiasts–to experience core entrepreneurship practices such as customer discovery, rapid prototyping, fast failure, and learning-by-doing. The participants originated from a variety of backgrounds: cybersecurity and computer science PhD students at University of Texas at San Antonio, members of the San Antonio Hackers Association, and a wide range of industry professionals.

The participants experienced a series of modules over the course of a weekend, including an overview of entrepreneurship and innovation within the cybersecurity industry, how to recognize market opportunities in the information security space, and pitching/advocacy workshops. Led by facilitator Maia Donohue and lead mentor Dane Stuckey, Director of Cyber Operations at Root9b, the first module guided the participants through an ideation session. Pitching and group voting transitioned into a team formation process where the participants formed six project teams. Participant led-projects included concepts such as a tool to perform rapid vulnerability scans, memory-focused protection agents, CEO/CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) interfacing dashboards, and a suite of threat diagnosis and education tools aimed at novice software developers.


While many participants showed up as battle-hardened cyber security soldiers, others simply showed up with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Said one participant, a recent Codeup graduate, “I was exposed to elements of cyber security I had no idea existed. It was a phenomenal experience.”