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3 Day Startup

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3 Day Startup[1]

Watch their video here:

3 Day Startup is a non-profit start-up to help other start-ups. They were founded out of the University of Texas at Austin, and have grown globally since.


The idea of 3 Day Startup is simple: start tech companies over the course of three days. We rent work space for an entire weekend, recruit 45 student participants from a wide range of backgrounds, cater food and drinks, and bring in top-notch entrepreneurs and investors. The participants pick the best ideas for startups during the Friday brainstorming session and deliver prototypes and investor pitches on Sunday night.

3 Day Startup really focuses on learning by doing. Through the interdisciplinary teams, you go out and talk to real customers, and act in a microcosm of what the start-up world feels like.

An example schedule from


  • 2pm: meet & greet, split up into brainstorming groups
  • 7pm: dinner & pitch ideas
  • Decide on best idea(s), start work!


  • Customer interaction, coding, market validation, business plans, logos, etc.


  • 6pm: dinner & meet panelists
  •  7pm: pitch startup(s) to panel
  •  Launch prototype, elect board

Note on equity:

If your local organizing team decides to use the legal structure, than the 3DS non profit takes 0.5% of dilutable equity in companies that are formed based around ideas that are presented during the final pitches.   The purpose of this is to protect ideas and founders by establishing a clear chain of legal ownership for the ideas.  The 3DS organizers never profit or make any money from any work you do.



The weekend is designed with two specific goals in mind: kick-start new student-run companies and build entrepreneurial capabilities in students and their university communities.

3 Day Startup is primarily focused on building and funding technology based student-run companies.

After the 3 days are over, 3 Day Startup hopes to maintain the entrepreneurial momentum through the ecosystem networks by linking academic institutions, investors, incubators and accelerators, and student entrepreneurship organizations.

Distinct Differences From Other Offerings

3 Day Startup has a high sucess rate. Per event, 3 Day Startup events result in more successful startups than any other weekend entrepreneurship event.

The exciting aspects in contrast to something like Startup Weekend is that 3 Day Startup is focused entirely on tech startups, and that they bring in actual investors on the final day.  3 Day Startup has lead to 41 technology startups attracting over $14 million in investment. 

Additionally, 3 Day Startup is sponsored by Microsoft and Rackspace, enabling students to free technology and servers for quick building.

Although interested in tech startups, 3 Day Startup encourages participation by all majors at a university.

Steps Required to Bring Resource to Campus

  • Directly contact 3DS and they can walk you through the process
  • 2 - 3 Months of organization time required
  • They offer a grant program you can apply to in order to subsidize the costs
  1. "Unlock" your university by having 50 interested people sign up
  2. 3DS will contact you and provide you with a 3DS mentor to organize the event
  3. Secure a date and venue
  4. Secure sponsorship to pay for food, tee shirts, whatever other expenses you might have
  5. Recruit applicants
  6. Find mentors and panelists
  7. Throw the event

Contact Information

Madeline Vu Program Manager
Cam Houser CEO