University of Texas at Austin


Submit Search
skip main site navigation go to current site section navigation

2012 Entrepreneurship Celebration

Information technology is enabling value creation at an incredible rate. New companies, alliances, value chains, and business models are emerging as a result; information systems are the engine of innovation and entrepreneurship.

On April 20, 2012, The University of Texas Information Management Program and the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship celebrated IM and UT entrepreneurs at the first-ever IM Entrepreneur Celebration (IMEC) at the University of Texas Alumni Center.

IROM Department Chair Prabhudev Konana and Management Department Chair Jim Fredrickson kicked off the event at 8 a.m. Friday morning. Students were excited to hear FutureTalks by Dylan Schleppe, CEO of DriveBuy Technologies and Brett Hurt at the Entrepreneurship CelebrationApril Underwood, Director of Business Development of Twitter.  Amy George, Founder and Chief Ozone Officer of Blue Avocado, inspired a greater awareness of leaving a smaller carbon footprint. Bob Metcalfe, UT Professor of Innovation, encouraged students to think outside the box to become a successful entrepreneur.


The mini case competition was judged by Trent Sutton, VP and Partner, Credera Consulting, Norman Towler, Commercial IT Manager, ConocoPhillips, Dylan Schleppe, CEO, DriveBuy Technologies and Tom Painter, VP of Global Infrastructure Services, AMD. The winning team, Roomer, made a great presentation with their idea behind a roommate matching mobile app.

Case competition judgesThe first panel discussion was entitled Changing the Game: Entrepreneurship through Analytics, and was facilitated by Anitesh Barua, IROM Department Professor. Dan Hickox, President/CTO, TradeOne Marketing and April Underwood, Director of Business Development, Twitter addressed many questions, including:  How is the world of analytics changing entrepreneurial businesses? What can business schools and McCombs in particular do to prepare future entrepreneurs to leverage analytics? How is the upcoming "open data movement" changing the business models of analytics-based ventures?

The first panel discussion was followed by a keynote by Brett Hurt, CEO of Bazaarvoice. Brett discussed his own venture into entrepreneurship. He followed up with an encouraging word about the MIS concentration, stating that whether you are working for yourself or someone else, your MIS degree is the most useful tool you can have!

Entrepreneurship through Analytics panel discussionThe second panel discussion was entitled Cloudy Skies or Clear Sailing: IT Matters.  Panelists included Cindy Lo, President of Red Velvet Events, Erik McMillan, CEO of BestFit Mobile, Boris Siperstein, Partner of Lighthouse Funds.  They addressed questions that include: How is technology changing our world? How can you leverage IT to build new business ventures?  What business models are emerging that not only create value in the world but also have the potential to make a lasting impact on society?  How can you and why should you be a part of that?

The last event of the day was the weSTART series, where 10 small business owners discussed their businesses, how they got their start, and their futures. The session, moderated by Jacqueline Hughes, hosted participants including:

  • Austin Dannhaus, Founder and Executive Director, We, The Readers
  • Simeon Duong, CEO, beDJ
  • Tim Hamilton, CEO, Astonish Designs
  • Michael Koetting and Sid Upahdyay, HootMe
  • Joel Korpi, Founder, Rockify
  • Jo Lammert, Studio Director, White Whale Games
  • Jeffrey Schwartz, Co-Founder, The Next One's On Me
  • Arshad Rehman, Founder and CEO, The Munchy Mart
  • Tommy Wald, CEO, White Glove Technologies

The success of the event was punctuated by the intense social networking surrounding it.  Students were encouraged to tweet about the event.  The best tweets were rewarded with prizes.  Click here to see the #IMEC Twitter feed!