Nine-month paid program for recent alumni to dive deep into a problem of interest, do customer discovery, network with industry experts, and identify a solution to potentially launch a venture at the end of their gap year.
Before graduating in Spring 2021, Preethi always knew that she wanted to take some time off before going to medical school to explore entrepreneurship.
Yet, knowing that entrepreneurship isn't always easy because of the financial and logistical risks it’s associated with, Preethi was unsure of whether she’d be able to pursue it. Months before graduating with a degree in biology and a certificate in biomimicry and textiles, she received the LaunchPad newsletter in her inbox calling for Gap Year Founder applicants.
Long story short, she applied and went from exploring biomimicry applications for textiles to arriving at her current venture Brewpots! Brewpots are compostable plant pots made from beeswax, newspaper, and brewer’s spent grain (an organic waste product) that Preethi sources from local breweries in the Austin area.
Pia graduated in Spring 2021 in computational biology with a certificate in computer science. She's also a talented musician. From playing the piano to writing her first song “Snake Bite” at the age of 6, her passion for music has followed her through life.
In combining her curiosities about and experience with machine learning and artificial intelligence with her musical background, she decided to see what problems she could solve in the music technology industry.
During the program, Pia interviewed hundreds of festival goers at ACL, artists, and music industry execs to arrive at her current venture Numa. After realizing how much money artists are lose in the Metaverse because royalties aren't being tracked, she is currently fundraising to build Numa - an embeddable algorithm and payment system that allows artists to track when their music is played in the Metaverse and automatically get paid.
- Paid opportunity to take a "gap year" (9 months) to try to build a business
- Structure, guidance, and mentorship throughout the entire process
- Continued access to UT resources
- Self-directed and can thrive in an open-ended environment
- Passionate about their problem space or industry (whether they have a solution yet or not)
- Can commit at least 20/hrs a week during the 9-month program
- Does not have a full-time job
Program: September 1, 2022-May 31, 2023
- Approximately 20/hrs a week (not ideal for those with a full-time job)
“I’ve always wanted to start a business but never knew how and always thought I’d do it later in life. The Gap Year Founder's program taught me how to approach entrepreneurship. Through it, I was able to meet and network with incredible people who have all helped me create my startup!”
"I've always been interested in entrepreneurship, but I was too nervous to try on my own because I didn't think I could start my own business. The Gap Year Founder's program provided me with resources and mentors that helped me actually start my own business. It also helped me realize that anyone can be an entrepreneur. You just have to be willing to try and put yourself out there."