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School of Data Science to innovate careers of data disruptors, leaders with new competition

School of Data Science to innovate careers of data disruptors, leaders with new competition

OCTOBER 20, 2020 — Venture capitalist Timothy Draper and his wife, Melissa, have committed $1 million to establish the Draper Data Science Business Plan Competition. The competition adds yet another innovative component to the new UTSA School of Data Science. The Drapers also plan to donate a hologram and programming to the university once it becomes available. 

Hosted at UTSA beginning in 2021, the Draper Data Science Business Plan Competition will be open to college students from across the world and will further prepare them for careers in high demand, teaching them to be disruptors and leaders of their fields.

Teams will be encouraged to become familiar with a business model canvas and produce a product, service, web/mobile app, or a social impact idea that has the potential to change the world in which we live and work.


“This gift will be transformational for UTSA and the School of Data Science as we launch the next generation of entrepreneurs.”



For some students, substantial monetary awards have supported the product development of their winning submissions post-competition. Planning for the competition is under way including an application process, eligibility, competition tracks, rules and guidelines, and faculty and community engagement.

“This gift will be transformational for UTSA and the School of Data Science as we launch the next generation of entrepreneurs,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “The competition is sure to attract the world’s greatest young minds, and produce ideas that will change our world for the better. This partnership opens many new doors of opportunity and exemplifies the value of activating innovation in our students.”

Timothy Draper is a third-generation venture capitalist and the founder of Draper University. His investments in Skype, Tesla, SpaceX, Hotmail, Twitch, Robinhood and more have built his reputation as a world-renowned tech investor. The Draper Data Science Business Plan Competition represents Draper’s first gift to the university and will generate invaluable opportunities for students who are interested in entrepreneurship and tech innovation.

“Data science will drive the future of artificial intelligence, deep learning, and machine learning. It brings together academics from statistics, computer science, robotics, electrical engineering, physics, bitcoin, surveillance and psychology. As AI takes all the mundane parts of everyone’s job, it will span industries as disparate as autonomous vehicles, insurance, farming, defense, venture capital and governing,” Draper said.

“Data Science will drive the greatest transformations of the next few decades, and UTSA is leading the way toward training the next generation of data sciences. Business plan competitions tend to encourage and attract those people who are going to make that dent in the universe. Melissa and I have found these competitions to be a magnet for progress and change,” Draper added.

A bold vision for San Antonio’s downtown district is driving university and community leaders to build a knowledge economy and tech ecosystem for the city. The UTSA School of Data Science will position San Antonio as a national leader in cybersecurity and data science, attract government and industry partners, produce a highly skilled workforce, drive economic development, and create a vibrant downtown.

In 2018, Graham Weston, local business leader and co-chair of UTSA’s Campaign Leadership Council, made a $15 million gift to support the School of Data Science, saying “The School of Data Science will bring thousands of the most innovative students, faculty and researchers together and will accelerate everything else in our downtown tech ecosystem.”

Similar competitions established by Timothy and Melissa Draper at Draper University and Smith College have proven widely successful, creating a competitive learning environment for students.


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of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.


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