June 3-5, 2016

We Work University Park

3300 N I-35, Austin, TX 78722


3 Day Startup (3DS) is a 72-hour learning-by-doing workshop that teaches entrepreneurial skills in an extreme hands-on environment. Aspiring entrepreneurs from across the southwest are invited to help solve the world’s biggest, messiest problems in clean energy, water, transportation/mobility, and waste/re-use.

Hosted by the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI), this 3DS is the first annual cleantech startup event for the Southwest Regional Clean Energy Incubation Initiative (SRCEII) network and its partners. The 3DS program trains individuals across a range of core entrepreneurship skills, such as brainstorming, collaboration, customer discovery, rapid prototyping, mentor engagement, and investor pitching. ATI’s objective is to lead consistent and ongoing collaboration among research universities, innovation partners, and the private sector that will build and enhance the regional network of mentors, investors, and entrepreneurs poised to lead in the cleantech economy.


Bootcamp (1-2 weeks before program date): Participating individuals meet, get introduced to key entrepreneurship principles, and learn best practices for maximizing the 3 Day Startup program experience.

Day 1: Participants arrive – with or without startup ideas – and a facilitator leads the group through dedicated brainstorming, preliminary pitches/feedback, and team selection modules. Some teams work late into the night and others prefer to rest up in preparation for day 2.

Day 2: Customer discovery (teams exit the building or hit the phones and talk to potential customers), structured mentorship, intermediate pitches and feedback sessions. Day 2 places heavy emphasis on business model generation.

Day 3: Continued execution (including pitch workshops) leading into final pitches/demos to an esteemed panel of mentors and investors.  



Application Deadline: May 13th. All applications received after that date will be placed on a waitlist.

The program is free but you must apply to get in. 3DS is open to grad and undergrad students of all years, majors, and experience levels, as well as community members. You may apply as an individual or with an already established team that you’re working with.

Fill out my online form.


What does the weekend look like? You and 39 other individuals will start a cleantech company over the course of three days. We rent work space, invite students with a wide range of backgrounds, cater food, drinks, snacks, and coffee, pick the best idea for a startup during the Friday brainstorming session, and release a minimal prototype by the end of the day Sunday. The goal is to build enough momentum among a network of motivated people to sustain the company beyond the weekend.

If I participate, what do I get out of the weekend? The worst case scenario is that you will work with brilliant people from numerous disciplines toward the common goal of building real companies and products. Great connections happen at 3 Day Startup: cofounders meet, complimentary skill sets collide, and friends are made. The best case scenario is that you will be a cofounder of a wildly successful new tech startup.

I’m a student majoring in X. Should I even consider applying? The short answer is: yes. Our past participants have spanned everything from a freshman in psychology to a freshly minted PhD in Neuroscience. If you’re at all passionate about startups and technology, it is likely that you will be a valuable participant.

Can I apply even though I am not a student? Absolutely. Our goal is to recruit a diverse group of (very strong) student and non-student participants.

What kind of ideas are allowed? Ideas with scalable business models are strongly preferred.  We also optimize for ideas that will require a strong software base. Our selection criteria for ideas are (1) your amount of passion and (2) the amount of research on your own idea that you perform before your interview.

What about food? Sleep? 3DS caters all meals, drinks, and in-between snacks. Sleep is optional. Participants can bring a sleeping bag, or they can go home to rest.

What is your rate of success? First of all, check out some of the companies that have been started by graduates of 3 Day Startup here. Our main metric for success is how many of our alumni found companies that take investment, generate revenue or enter incubators.  It is common to hear the word “startup” get thrown around.   When we say startup, we mean the real thing: companies that are making money or taking investment. Per program, 3 Day Startup result in more successful startups than any other weekend entrepreneurship event. We have run 230+ programs in the US and internationally, and those have given rise to 90 companies that have cumulatively received over $85 million in funding. 34 companies from 3DS have been accepted to accelerators such as Y Combinator, Tech Stars, 500 Startups, Capital Factory, Austin Technology Incubator and Dreamit Ventures. On average, each 3 Day Startup program has generated more than one successful startup.  This includes programs in mature and nascent university entrepreneurship ecosystems. More FAQs here.




For questions about the 3DS Cleantech program or sponsorship inquiries, please email Kathleen Baireuther at kbaireuther@ati.utexas.edu

About Us

3 Day Startup’s mission is to kickstart new student-run companies and build entrepreneurial capabilities in students and their university communities. Learn More

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