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5th Annual Brandeis 3 Day Start-Up

From Coffee to Creation: A Weekend in the Life of a Brandeis Entrepreneur

3DS 2016

by Halley Saul '17
April 12, 2016

Sleep deprived and coffee-driven, Joseph Kaminsky, ’16, explains heat mapping to three of his team members who, like him, are tucked away in a small meeting room at Brandeis International Business School (IBS). It is day two of the 3 Day Start-Up Challenge (3DS) and Kaminsky’s team, Order Bucket, is fully embracing the ethos of “start-up culture.” Loud music plays in the background as the team discusses customer dashboards, color palettes and third-party plugins.

Order Bucket is one of seven teams that recently participated in the fifth annual Brandeis 3DS event. The challenge is formatted as an around-the-clock weekend spent brainstorming, developing and ultimately pitching a start-up business proposal to industry professionals. 3DS kicked off on a Friday afternoon with a slate of team-building exercises and crash courses in idea creation and business plan development. 

From there, ideas progressed at lightning speed as teams moved into more intense planning stages. Wondering what that’s like to build a business in 48 hours? Kaminsky walks us through the experience of participating in the Brandeis 3 Day Start-Up, starting with the team's second day of work. 

Saturday

8:30 a.m. – Arrive at 3DS
Team stakes out a meeting room as a home base. Laptops are out, music is on, coffee is in hand. It’s time to really get things going. 

10:32 a.m. – Development
3DS facilitator Kyle Samani stops by to see how our presentation is coming along. He’s definitely an experienced entrepreneur. Other teams this weekend are working on ideas ranging from medical tourism to design and style applications, and he provides real-time feedback specific to our projects. 

12:06 p.m. – Lunch
Caffeine. Pizza. More caffeine. After lunch, we will pitch to the mentor panel made up of faculty members and alumni from Brandeis IBS and the Brandeis Department of Computer Science. 

1:01 p.m. – Mentor Panel Pitch
Definitely feeling nervous. We’re an underdog team, but regardless, we give our pitch and it goes quite well. Professor Zimmerman gives us great feedback and encourages us to keep going. 

5:54 p.m. – Time for a break
We take a walk outside after incorporating the mentor panel feedback. It feels as though our team is getting closer as a group and that Order Bucket is becoming a reality. Many of the teams are staying here for several more hours, but we really want to clear our heads before tomorrow's pitch. 

Sunday 

9:00 a.m. – Back to work
We’re hard-pressed to hone our pitch before the final judging panel this evening, and we’ve got a bunch of new ideas to include. 

1:51 p.m. – Coffee run
Energy is fading. It’s my turn to make the coffee run. We’re still trying to refine our pitch to address the mentors’ concerns. Kyle comes by and helps us drill down on some of our more confusing slides. 

5:21 p.m. – Time to finalize
We’re a little delirious at this point, but so close to the finish. We keep our fingers crossed that our files are received in time. At some point, we need to practice our actual pitch to go along with the slide deck. 

6:48 p.m. – Did you see who the judges are?
The 3DS judging panel is made up of industry professionals rich with personal start-up experience and well-versed in entrepreneurship. We quickly read through the bios of Rebecca Liebman, Karthik Krishnan, Steve Ramsay and Brahm Pillai. We’re definitely nervous.   

8:03 p.m. – It’s all or nothing
For the 30 participating students from around campus, it’s been a high-intensity, high-pressure immersion in the start-up world from the moment we entered the building. We’ve been working toward this moment since Friday, and it’s all come down to this: final judging and seeing what ideas the other groups present. 

8:24 p.m. – Introducing Order Bucket
We make our final pitch for Order Bucket, a machine-learning software that helps restaurants run lean. Our goal: to help companies save money by optimizing their ingredient order sizes and reducing waste. It’s a good thing that we did a lot of background research. It makes it much easier to convey facts and aspects of our idea with confidence. 

9:11 p.m. – Looking to the future
Another great group, Fashion Guru, is deemed the winner. They built a mobile platform designed to pair users with up-and-coming fashion designers or stylists to help them with what to wear. While Fashion Guru receives automatic entry to the second round of MassChallenge, we don’t go away empty-handed. All teams walk away with access to Microsoft BizSpark and the judges encourage us to further pursue our idea. They really see a future for this, and we do too. Order Bucket will live to see another day. 

View photos from this year's competition here

Brandeis 3DS was sponsored by the Hassenfeld Family Innovation Center and the Asper Center for Global Entrepreneurship. If you are interested in learning more about 3DS events or want to join planning efforts for next year, visit the Brandeis IBS 3DS page.