Undergrad Anne Kenyon founded Brown’s 3 Day Startup (3DS) weekend, which was held in early April with the support of the department, Google, 10Gen, and Teespring.
The idea of 3 Day Startup is simple: start a technology company over the course of three days. Work space was available for an entire weekend, 25 students with a range of backgrounds were selected and top-notch entrepreneurs and investors were onsite to help pick the best ideas for software startups during the Friday brainstorming session. Students then worked to release a minimal prototype by Sunday night, when they gave their product presentations. The goal of 3DS is to build enough momentum among a network of motivated people to sustain a company beyond the weekend.
“Many students at Brown have cool startup ideas, and all have different skill sets, so they need a way to meet and see each other in action -- working together for three straight days is a perfect way to find those with whom you work well to accomplish something of value,” said Anne. “Everyone seemed to get a lot out of the weekend, particularly from the mentors who have insight based on years of experience -- they said things I would never have thought of, but make so much sense. Makes us realize how much we have to learn, that business is really non-trivial.”
3DS is an academic program designed to teach entrepreneurial skills in an extreme hands-on environment and enable students to start companies. The 3DS program brings together students ranging from freshmen to freshly-minted PhDs, with diverse backgrounds, including computer science, business, engineering, law, design, communications and others. Participants gain experience in cross-disciplinary collaboration, brainstorming and ideation, and group productivity, including ad-hoc leadership and decision-making under severe time constraints.
“3DS is way more than a hackathon and we were more than coders. We went out and collected customer feedback as we rapidly assembled and programmed our live demo. We had to quickly fix complaints and adopt suggestions. Everything was in flux; I had never experienced anything like it,” said attendee Ryan McVerry.
In addition to Anne, David Borcsok, Gabi Lewis and T. Luke Sherwin all of Brown, helped to organize the event. Mentors included CS alums Spiros Eliopoulos (Co-Founder, CTO Tracelytics) and Keith Dreibelbis (Google).