Weary from a weekend blitz fueled on entrepreneurship and caffeine, Cornell students representing numerous fields of study emerged from creative spaces around Gates Hall Sunday night with four start-up companies ready for the marketplace.
Offering their final pitches in front of roughly 40 of their peers and five industry panelists in Gates G01, participating student teams in 3Day Startup Cornell had spent the weekend refining their ideas into full-fledged companies and products. Sunday, November 5, marked the big reveal, as each of the four teams introduced tech tools focused on green living, professional networks, social media marketing for small businesses, and a student marketplace.
3Day Startup, or 3DS – now in its sixth year – promotes a hands-on approach to entrepreneurship, where participating students spend a weekend brain-storming, honing and delivering companies. Ultimately, the hope for both organizers and participants is to create start-ups that will exist beyond the weekend. Over the years, 3DS has logged a few success stories. Fly Labs, a video-editing app conceptualized during 3DS Cornell 2011, was acquired by Google in 2015, and Rosie, a grocery shopping and delivery app conceptualized at the 2012 event, is currently available at numerous grocers around the U.S.
“The beauty of 3DS is that students arrive without their hearts set on any one idea,” said 3DS Lead Organizer Catherine Zhu. “Instead, they present a few problems that they see, and pose one or two sentences about what the solution could be. Out of that two-sentence idea comes a presentation where teams have done prototyping, real customer discovery and received lots of mentorship.”
Here’s a look at what students launched:
Built for convenience and to help motivate users, the Greenify app aims to help people live more sustainable lives. The app tracks your real-time activities and suggests more eco-friendly alternatives, while a carbon calculator informs users how well (or poorly) they’re doing in reducing their carbon footprints. Team Greenify chose to gamify the app, pitting users against one another as a competition to find out who’s generating the least amount of C02. Team members – Katherine Nguyen, Julie Lundtoft, Samuel Royce, Pippa Thomas, Alexa Bren, and Will Long.
Targeting colleges and alumni networks, the Knitwork platform offers a more visually based alternative to LinkedIn. Mapping out users’ career paths and professional connections provides students and career advisors an illustrative tool to better understand a student’s potential career path, a university’s alumni network and industry trends. Team members – Earl Roach III, Larissa Castellano Pucci, Kyra Conroy, Eshan Dalela, and Darren Liu.
Holler app, the local shout-out application, helps cash-strapped small businesses capitalize on their customers’ social media presence. Love the corner deli’s special? Take a pic and offer it up via Holler and earn a deal in the process. Team members – Aman Gupta, Aram Baghdassarian, Ben Stamm, Ben Liu, Brendon Piccinni, Bryan Scanapieco, Donnie Hampton, Dhruv Baijai, Emaad Alvi, Shruti Juneja, and Zhouhan Zhu.
Servus, a peer-to-peer service marketplace designed for students, is out to redefine quality care, announced Darren Tsai during the team’s pitch. The app connects college students with peers who can offer services ranging from haircuts to piano lessons. The goal is for students to find quality, vetted services conveniently and cheaply. Team members: Derek Yan, Darren Tsai, Richard Yoon, Jenna Winocur, Grace Tan, Kevin Ngo, and Josh Londin.
Following each presentation, participating panelists Tracy Brandenburg, Peter Cortle, Felix Litvinsky, Xanthe Matychak and Ken Rother offered feedback to help further craft each team’s business model.
Participating students represented a wide range of majors, from Information Science, Computer Science and Business to Arts and Sciences, Industrial and Labor Relations, Policy Analysis and Management, Communication, and more, said Zhu, the lead student organizer.
“You don’t need experience at 3DS,” she said. “We will give you the experience because you’ll learn by doing.”
For students like team Greenify’s Sam Royce, 3DS was a valuable crash-course in not only crafting ideas but sticking with them.
Royce – a sophomore Applied Economics and Management student – got excited about entrepreneurship this past summer after reading Antonio Garciá Martínez’s “Chaos Monkeys” and since then has been exploring the intersection of business and technology. 3DS provided the opportunity to flush out an idea and turn it into an actual business, he said.
“Definitely a cool experience,” Royce said. “The brainstorming process of throwing out ideas, people backing them and then turning them into an actual business model showed me what’s feasible when you put in the time.”
This year’s sponsors included Entrepreneurship at Cornell, Blackstone Launchpad, Google, Rev Ithaca Startup Works, and more, as well as several industry mentors.
Louis DiPietro is the communications coordinator for the departments of Information Science and Statistical Science.