UTD Student Startups Reach Funding Goals

Maggie Barton


Students at the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas at Dallas launched crowdfunding campaigns this semester to get cash toward their business ideas.

Three student startups — Icing Aid, Converse VR, and Travabond — reached their funding goals in early May.

In just one month, they raised more than $5,000 for their ideas. Travabond, an online bachelorette party planning service, reached its $1,000 goal in only three days.

cupcakesInnovative by nature, the students got creative when it came to raising money. Tram-Anh Le, the founder of IcingAid, hosted two bake sales to help her raise $2,500.

“The bake sale really helped draw attention to my idea and campaign. The feedback from people was great to hear and absorb,” Tram-Anh said.

The bake sale also helped Tram-Anh improve as an entrepreneur.

“You never know what will come out of an event, so put out your best effort, keep an open mind, and always be kind!”
-Tram-Anh Le

“It made me realize that every opportunity is more than just that one opportunity,” Tram-Anh said. “You never know what will come out of an event, so put out your best effort, keep an open mind, and always be kind!”

UTD worked with SPURstartup, a crowdfunding site for college students, to drive this initiative. SPURstartup enables students to crowdfund their ideas early on in the concept development process. The support of friends, family, and the Dallas community gave these students the unique opportunity to bring their startup ideas to life.

“SPURstartup has been a great tool in getting the word out about what we’re trying to achieve, as well as a huge motivator in diving head first into defining our company and producing our first content and products,” said Ashton Kennedy, co-founder of ConverseVR.

ConverseVR is starting a virtual reality community for North Texas to cover trends and connect others passionate about VR and film. The team ran a fundraising pop-up that brought VR to students on campus to help them reach their $2,000 goal. They plan to participate in The Dallas Entrepreneur Center summer accelerator in June.

“The opportunity to take their ideas outside of the classroom is just one way that the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UTD is changing the way colleges teach innovation,” said the program’s director, Jeremy Vickers.

The students grow their startup skills, preparing them to enter the Dallas startup scene with confidence and experience.

Photo: Courtesy of SPURStartup

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R E A D   N E X T

As a co-founder of SPURstartup, Maggie leads strategy, operations, curriculum and business development. She brings diverse business aptitude from her degree in entrepreneurship and her previous work a(...)