UTD Seed Fund Makes First Startup Investments

The fund launched earlier this year has named its inaugural investments in UTD-releated startups.

Courtney Caldwell and Tye

The UT Dallas Seed Fund has named local startups ShearShare and Cosmunity as its inaugural investments.

The evergreen fund launched earlier this year within the university’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is designed to provide capital to startups progressed beyond an idea and needing to scale. Businesses originated by UTD students, alumni, faculty, staff, or others associated with the university are eligible to apply. 

Bryan Chambers, director of the fund and UTD’s Blackstone LaunchPad program, made the announcement last week during a ribbon cutting for the university’s Blackstone facility. Both startups received a $25,000 investment. 

“The vision of this fund is to really support the North Texas ecosystem and become a meaningful vehicle for economic development for our region,” Chambers told Dallas Innovates in January. 

ShearShare, founded by UTD alumna Courtney Caldwell and her husband, Tye, allows salon owners to fill empty chairs and hairstylists a way to rent stations on demand via an app. Since launching in 2016, use of the app has expanded to more than 325 cities and 11 countries. Last fall, ShearShare beat out nearly 1,000 other early-stage businesses to win Tech.Co‘s annual Startup of the Year Competition

seed fund

Leaders from Cosmunity talk about their app that connects Comic Con fans beyond the conventions. [Photo: Heather Noel]

Cosmunity puts the Comic Con community in the palm of your hand via an app that serves as a social platform, online marketplace, and event calendar to keep fans plugged in beyond the conventions. The startup, led by UTD students, has developed partnerships with comic conventions and surpassed 10,000 users during its first months in operation. 

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