UT Dallas Creates Special Path for Entrepreneurs

UT Dallas


Startup fever has caught on at the University of Texas at Dallas in Richardson where the computer science department has created a special path for entrepreneurs who yearn to start their own tech company.

In the fall, UTD will offer the new Software Launch Track for freshman- through junior-year students to fine tune their apps, software and business plans for the real world.


It puts students on a clear path to running a startup from mentorship and networking to commercialization and launch.

“We want people to graduate but we want them to think about entrepreneurship and starting a company,” said Gopal Gupta, UT Dallas computer science department head. “To stand out from the crowd, you must have an app in the app store by the time you graduate.”

“To stand out from the crowd, you must have an app in the app store by the time you graduate.” – Gopal Gupta

Jeremy Vickers, executive director for the institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at UTD, said they expect to have about 25 students in the program initially.

Most of the students already know how to write code but may need help with the finer points of running their own business.

“Our goal is really twofold. It’s to help anyone interested in launching a business to figure out if they have something feasible,” Vickers said.

Vickers knows a thing or two about that because he’s the co-founder of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center and the Addison Treehouse, a co-working space.

UT Dallas

Jeremy Vickers and Gopal Gupta talk to UT Dallas students. (Photo courtesy UT Dallas)

While most students are building an app or web-based software, about 10 percent of the students create a tangible product, too.

“With those it’s great because you get to work with the engineering school,” Vickers said.

North Texas isn’t as well known in the startup world as Austin, for example, but Gupta said he hopes to change that.

“Hopefully, some of these students will get interested, they will do well and that will put us on the map,” Gupta said.

Before the software track launches, UTD already has some claims to fame with Justin Ehlert, who developed the Fridgely app. The app keeps track of the food in the refrigerator and sends alerts when it’s about to expire. It can also dream up recipes based on what’s on hand. Ehlert, who graduated this month, already has 15,000 downloads for his Fridgely app.

UTD just awarded $20,000 cash to freshman Raviteja Lingineni, a computer science freshman, for his WeBe app. The app uses electronic tags to connect with certain smart devices.

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