Since 2011, every early October at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas has celebrated Austin’s burgeoning entrepreneurial environment with the five-day Austin Startup Week. And with the fifth edition right around the corner, more and more McCombs students look to join the ever-growing ranks of alumni with celebrated startups.
Several startups that have emerged from McCombs over the past five years include Sock Club, Nicely Noted and Beatbox Beverages. Sock Club is a niche sock-only online store co-created in 2012 by Noah Lee, a McCombs MBA class of 2016 alumnus. When speaking about the MBA program, Lee notes, “Running a new company requires managing your mistakes and opportunities and is impacted by how effectively you can react to the results of your economic activity. The Texas MBA Program didn’t necessarily teach me how to do things. It taught me how to think about things and make decisions.”
Perry Nelson (MBA ’10) created Nicely Noted just a year after graduating. Another unique subscription-based delivery service, Nicely Noted distributes curated letterpress cards and stamps to subscribers every month. Nelson knows first hand that entering the startup game requires taking a lot of risks.
“Take risks while you have the safety net of being in school,” Nelson says. “You have unique access to almost anyone in the business community by approaching them as a student; take advantage of it.”
Beatbox Beverages is a more localized startup staple, emerging in 2011. Co-created by MBA 2013 graduates Aimy Steadman, Justin Fenchel, Dan Singer and Jason Schieck, Beatbox Beverages delivers a fun, party-sized box of mixed alcoholic beverages perfect for a sizable group. Like many of his fellow graduates, Fenchel knows that sometimes you’ll have to take huge chances to succeed.
“Take a chance—you have two years to explore what you really want to do,” Fenchel says. “Try not to get caught up in the chaos of who has a job and who doesn’t. Take the time to find out what you really want to do because you’ll never have a better opportunity.”