Daniel Miyares is highly involved in the campus entrepreneurship community. A community builder, entrepreneurial leader, and all-around super connector. He has worked on numerous startups, worked for Genesis, where he helped scale the team from ten to twenty-five plus people after they raised $1.8 million, and the Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency (LEA), where he has facilitated operations for over fifty people and managed a budget of over $10,000. He will be working at Uber in the fall. In this episode, we interviewed Daniel about the opportunities and challenges that campus entrepreneurship presents.
Daniel got started in entrepreneurship when he first arrived on campus and, as he puts it, “met the right people. The first interaction I might have had on campus…Cage [Johnson] basically said ‘Hey man, are you interested in startups?’ at one of those org tables for the Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency.” LEA gave him the chance to be involved with startups without needing to start out with a good idea day one.
From there, Daniel worked on Freshman Founders, where he had the chance to work on an idea, build it out, and learn from his successes and failures. He led Freshman Founders his sophomore year, which opened his eyes to the importance of community building and how much he enjoyed connecting others, led LEA his third year, and is now working on Genesis, which provides students with pre-seed capital for their ideas.
It was in leading Freshman Founders his sophomore year and working with LEA that Daniel realized he enjoyed “having a large impact on a small number of people…I fell into being the go-to guy…I realized very quickly that…the most useful thing I could do was…connect people to the right place…that’s the most fulfilling thing in the world to me.”
While UT has many more resources for budding entrepreneurs than it did in previous years, Daniel still feels like campus entrepreneurship has a long way to go in being inclusive for all fields: “Entrepreneurship on campus…does not feel accessible, and is often not accessible, to everyone here…if you’re in the business school, if you’re in engineering, if you’re in the CS program, you’re going to hear about these entrepreneurship things [Blackstone LaunchPad, Genesis, LEA]…or a lot of other programs on campus…we haven’t done, as an ecosystem, a good enough job of connecting the schools and breaking down the silos that exist on this campus….that’s one of the reasons that LEA and Genesis both put such a huge stress on being cross-college.”
Despite the challenges, Daniel is a firm believer that college—rather than ten years into a career—is the best time to try out entrepreneurship: “When you’re in college…if you fail, at any level of failure…then you wake up the next day and you’re at one of the best universities in the world…you have a support network…that’s a pleasure and a privilege that most entrepreneurs don’t have access to.”
“If you’re trying to found the next Facebook…then likely you will need at a very early point to drop out…it is all-consuming to create a startup of that size. I think to learn entrepreneurial skills…I don’t think you can really do that in a class…in college, while it’s not well set up to create a company that would get into YC, it’s really well set up to create a company learn the essential skills of being an entrepreneur.”
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