Joshua Glick, an advertising master’s candidate in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, is the co-founder of a new startup called GameUp, a social sports platform. In this QandA he describes his experiences as a graduate student at The University of Texas at Austin and as a new entrepreneur. Texas Athletics has partnered with GameUp to promote the app during Saturday’s Kansas State football game at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
Why did you choose to attend UT?
UT was a very attractive choice for grad school. After college, I lived and worked in New York City and Los Angeles, which are both giant, busy cities. I wanted to attend grad school at a top-tier university in a great, low-key city. Austin is an amazing place to live and I’ve loved every minute of my time here. My experience at UT has been life changing.
What attracted you to the Department of Advertising and Public Relations for graduate school?
Texas Advertising is an internationally recognized program and the Texas Creative sequence is second to none. Our motto is: “Where theory meets practice,” and this rings true throughout the curriculum. We have distinguished faculty who truly care about student success in and out of the classroom. It was this type of personal connection and access to world-class resources that drove me to choose UT.
What has the experience as an advertising grad student been like?
After attending one of Maria Rivera’s portfolio classes when visiting campus, I was impressed with the structure of the class and the sequence. Texas Creative is what initially sparked my interest in UT Advertising. This program gives students room to learn, grow and turn what they practice into real-world experience.
As president of the Advertising Graduate Council, I was able to connect with many of my peers outside of the classroom. The AGC is the professional, social and philanthropic student-arm of our grad program and being so heavily involved was a great experience.
Tell us about GameUp, your new startup.
GameUp connects fans at home and in the stadium through the second screen (phone, tablet, laptop) that 86 percent of telecast viewers rely on for supplementary sports information and entertainment. GameUp makes sports broadcasts more social by creating a virtual space for groups of fans to watch games together and turns the average sports broadcast from a show into a shared social experience. Users check-in to sports games with their friends from home or at the stadium via Facebook Connect. Once checked-in, users access our in-app stats feed synchronized to gameplay, post and view game pictures from friends, and interact in a number of other engaging ways beyond simply chatting.
How did you get involved with the Austin Technology Incubator?
As a bootstrapping student startup, seeking expert advice and ways to minimize operating capital requirements were two of our top priorities. ATI‘s track record of success and strong reputation were deciding factors for our team. We have had a great experience at ATI thus far and look forward to continued success as one of their portfolio companies. Kyle Cox, our primary contact at ATI, has generously lent his knowledge and expertise every step of the way.
What have you learned about starting a company that you didn’t know before GameUp?
Developing the right network of advisors and stakeholders is critically important. Any startup would tell you the same: it’s all about the team. We thought long and hard about our company culture, and we work every day to promote and protect it while seeking counsel from industry experts made available to us through the University of Texas.
What’s your best piece of advice for future student entrepreneurs?
Form your team deliberately. Seek advice from day one. Do your research before spending a dime. And prepare to work harder and longer than you ever thought possible. Operating a startup is a roller coaster in every sense of the word. Your good days will be great, and when you face challenges, take an academic approach to learning the lessons necessary to move forward with success.
What’s happening on Saturday at the UT vs. Kansas State football game?
GameUp will be featured online and in-stadium in a promotion with the Longhorns. Fans will have the opportunity to download the application from iTunes and snap a picture of the game for a chance to win a UT T-shirt and be featured on the big screen.
Where can people download the app?
GameUp’s beta application is currently available for download from the iTunes app store. We’re currently working on version 2.0, which will include many new features that will make the social sports experience even more fun.
Have you worked with any other student entrepreneurs on the company? Who else are you working with?
From the initial concept to development of the beta product, it’s been a complete team effort. There are three other co-founders and we have a team of great people that need to be recognized. Our team consists of four co-founders: Joshua Glick, Bryce Holland, Preston Holland and Klaus Thuerbach and five team members: Erik Stark, Nick Myers, Alex Grunstein, Josh Wilson and Ed Funger.
Dr. Isabella Cunningham, Department Chair and Professor in the Department of Advertising, has also been extremely helpful throughout this process. She has provided great advice from the very early stages of GameUp and we wouldn’t be where we are today without her support. She is a member of our advisory board, which also includes Dave Reibstein, Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School, UPenn, and Greg Mand, Director of Corporate Partnerships for the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative, UPenn.
Kristen Sussman and Leigh Pankonien at Social Distillery have helped manage our social media from the very beginning and have done a great job. They graduated from the Texas Advertising program in May and have been a pleasure to work with.