The University of Texas at Dallas computer science senior Pablo Peillard says he’s always been a maker.
“In high school, we set up the first editorial website for the journalism class and turned it from a printed newspaper into a website. I’ve been really engaged in programming throughout my academic life,” Peillard said. “Then, when I started at UT Dallas, I did a lot of app development, because I had recently gotten my residency and was finally able to use mobile ads.”
He recently was selected to participate in the spring 2020 cohort of LaunchPad Lift, a program offered by Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars. The biannual, virtual mentoring program for student entrepreneurs gives 10 student-led startups 10 weeks of mentorship and a $10,000 grant.
LaunchPad Lift also includes peer networking and education on fundraising, growing sales, making executive hires and formalizing a supply chain.
“The Lift program provides a unique opportunity for some of our most successful LaunchPad student entrepreneurs to gain access to unparalleled mentorship from the Blackstone and Techstars networks, which really sets our student founders up for future success,” said Amy Stursberg, executive director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.
“Pablo has consistently worked hard to bring his vision to life and has been very dedicated in his pursuit of launching a successful business venture. We are thrilled to work with him in our programs and look forward to supporting his continued growth as a student and a founder.”
— Dresden Goldberg, Director of Programs and Operations at the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UT Dallas
Peillard’s startup, Hashing Systems, is an integrated development platform for innovators and enterprises to create and manage projects using decentralized ledger technologies. Backed by Hedera Hashgraph, Animoca Brands and Mind Fund, Hashing Systems makes it easier to build on distributed ledger technologies with less coding.
Other startups participating in the spring cohort operate in various industries, including financial services, transportation, manufacturing, biotech and information technology.
Participants were nominated by entrepreneurship center campus directors and come from universities such as Texas A&M University, UT Austin, Syracuse University, the University of Southern California and the University of California, Berkeley.
“Pablo has consistently worked hard to bring his vision to life and has been very dedicated in his pursuit of launching a successful business venture,” said Dresden Goldberg, director of programs and operations at the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UT Dallas. “We are thrilled to work with him in our programs and look forward to supporting his continued growth as a student and a founder.”
In addition to the programming, LaunchPad Lift participants compete in front of potential investors and Techstars accelerator managing directors for up to $50,000 provided by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.
Peillard is the second student from UT Dallas to take part in the program. Veena Somareddy, a former graduate student in the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication, participated in 2018.
The Right University at the Right Time
Peillard initially came to UT Dallas in 2013 because of the University’s emphasis on research and its renowned computer science program.
“Finding a community that cares about developing the technology behind products was a priority for me,” said Peillard, a native of Chile and graduate of R.L. Turner High School in Carrollton.
While at UT Dallas, Peillard has taken full advantage of the many resources offered at the University for entrepreneurs, in addition to the campus-based LaunchPad.
Peillard has participated in the Big Idea Competition, CometX and the UTDesign Startup Challenge. He has taken academic courses, such as Startup Launch, and joined organizations such as the blockchain club and Makerspace.
“I’m very grateful that we have these opportunities today where we’re able to go somewhere and talk to someone about our ideas,” he said. “That’s something you can sometimes do online, but it’s very different when you can do it face to face.”
Peillard is thinking about how he can mentor UT Dallas students after he earns his degree in May from the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.
For now, though, he’s reaping the benefits of LaunchPad Lift, which kicked off Jan. 27.
“Being part of Techstars and Blackstone helps us find other companies that have had the same issues we’ve been running into and advisors who share a lot of field stories,” Peillard said. “Sharing that knowledge allows us to not make the same mistakes.
“The type of technology we’re building is still new, so the services that can be provided are still developing. There are a lot of great ideas out there, but they still need to be proved in the market. For example, when the cloud started out, companies didn’t immediately take it seriously until there were a few test cases. The same can be said for the video game boom and extremely abrupt bust in 1983-85. What’s key for us and for any new technology is to legitimize the changes we’re offering to the market.”
LaunchPad at UT Dallas
Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars helps students succeed in entrepreneurship and in their careers. Open to all students and recent alumni in all majors, the program enables participants to access mentoring, grow their network and access the resources to accelerate the success of their businesses. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE UT DALLAS COMPUTER SCIENCE DEPARTMENT
The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 3,315 bachelors-degree students, more than 1,110 master’s students, 165 Ph.D. students, 52 tenure-track faculty members, and 44 full-time senior lecturers, as of Fall 2019. With The University of Texas at Dallas’ unique history of starting as a graduate institution first, the CS Department is built on a legacy of valuing innovative research and providing advanced training for software engineers and computer scientists.