Launching New Ideas

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October 2 - Innovation & Entrepreneurship

View Live Session Recordings Below

Innovation-driven entrepreneurship is preparing graduates with an entrepreneurial mindset who are self-motivated innovators and creators. In the AM and PM sessions, explore the ways Texas State is engaging students in the theory and practice of creating value from ideas and opportunities.



Robert Habibi, '81 & '83 
Managing Partner, Founder - Global Focus, LLC

Robert has been in senior leadership roles with startups and F50 companies for the last 25 years. He currently advises small technology companies on their go-to-market strategy and early-stage decisions. Additionally, he is an active investor in Green Tech and Artificial Intelligence, among others.  Robert spends a major portion of his time helping social causes such as teaching STEM in under-funded schools (Science is Elementary), helping people who are incarcerated start their own businesses (Defy ventures), and assisting victims of domestic violence with their careers (Dress for Success). Robert received his BS in Computer Science/ Mathematics and MBA from Texas State University.  He lives with his family in the San Francisco Bay area. 

Robert Habibi

Harlan Beverly, Ph.D.
Vice President of Engineering at Beneplace, LLC and Lecturer at Texas State University
Harlan T. Beverly, Ph.D. is a 4-time CEO and 3-time startup founder with a special focus in the consumer technology space. He is currently VP of Engineering at Beneplace, LLC and a lecturer at Texas State University. In addition to his 21 published technology patents, Harlan has written numerous published articles and published two books: Previously, Harlan was a lecturer at The University of Texas at Austin where he taught entrepreneurship and helped run the Texas Venture Labs. Harlan specializes in fundraising and growth marketing for consumer, health, and technology companies. Harlan has founded three B2C startups and sold two of them: Bigfoot Networks, Inc. and Karmaback, Inc. Harlan was also CEO of Key Ingredient, Inc. which he sold in 2018. Harlan is not actively investing, but has experience as an angel investor and a venture investor and is an active mentor at Capital Factory in Austin, TX. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Ohio Northern University, an M.B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, and his Ph.D. in Business from Oklahoma State University. 

Harlan Beverly

CS Freeland, '10
Co-founder of ATX KIT

​​​​​​CS Freeland has worked on founding teams of multiple startups driven by her eye for unique applications and implications of pioneering technology. She is a serial entrepreneur and currently has started two pandemic companies. She is co-founder of ATX KIT, a fast-growing snack company that has supported over 50 Austin entrepreneurs. She also launched Founder House Austin, Austin’s first luxury co-living concept for entrepreneurs. She is also a Southwest Angel Network advisor as well as a Venture Fellow at Next Wave, an early-stage venture firm funding female founders. Previously she spent seven years as an entrepreneur-in-residence and Managing Director at Powershift Group, a tech venture studio in downtown Austin that founds funds, and grows early-stage companies. There she worked on early operations teams and special projects to launch startups. Freeland is also a multi-award-winning political operative and worked on the Austin Mayor, Steve Adler, and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, successful re-elections, specifically for her creation and execution of new digital strategy. She has enjoyed being a speaker and/or panelist for the UN Foundation at the World Economic Forum/"Davos”, the University of Texas at Austin, Texas State University, and more.

Christa Freeland



Quinn Robichaux, '20
Recent TXST Graduate

Quinn is a recent Texas State graduate, earning his bachelor's degree in Biochemistry with over two years of research experience in nanotechnology. During his collegiate career, Quinn was also involved in many entrepreneurial ventures in material science and local art programs.  Shortly after graduating, he co-founded a new Texas State student and a faculty-led start-up called Nanocare. This team, led by Dr. Gary Beall, recently competed at the Rice Business Plan Competition and won a $10,000 award and placed 5th in the Elevator Pitch Competition.  He and the team also raised $200,000 to get Nanocare off the ground to reach their ultimate goal of helping people heal.

Quinne Robichaux

Jennie Yoshimoto
Founder & CEO of Terra Solar
Terra Solar's goal is to develop rapid, simple-assembly solutions to increase the accessibility of affordable clean energy. Terra Solar initially partnered with Texas State through the I-CORPS program to complete extensive customer discovery and identify key customer markets. Terra Solar is continuing product and business development at Star Park through Texas State Ventures while growing their team and sponsoring a Texas State senior engineering design team. 

Jennie Yoshimoto

Leslie Harris
Product Designer and Student

Leslie Harris is a Product Designer and student hailing from Detroit, MI and is currently based in Austin, TX. Her focus as a designer includes understanding how to build graceful and ethical solutions for sociological and cultural problems today and in the future. Inspired by the human condition, Leslie loves digging into problems in the hopes of creating relevant and highly adoptable experiences for the groups that need it most.
Leslie Harris

Sean Bauld
COO at Sempulse

Sean Bauld specialties include innovation, disruption, digital transformation, new product/service, product-market fit, product development, UX/UI, media, leadership, communities, prediction markets, knowledge services, marketing strategy, business planning, product marketing, market insights, product/brand management, pricing, and segmentation. 

Sean Bauld

Rafael Cordero
Grant Director, Upward Bound - Texas State University

Ray Cordero currently serves as Senior Director for TRIO Programs at Texas State. He holds a B.S. in Political Science and a Masters's degree in Public Administration from Texas State University. Mr. Cordero currently serves as the President for the Texas TRIO Association, and as a board member for the Southwest Association of Student Assistance Programs (SWASAP) for TRIO. He has made TRIO his life work, serving in several leadership capacities at the state and regional levels, and has worked with the Council for Opportunity in Education on innovative programming centered around music and media engagement. Mr. Cordero’s additional work includes a partnership with Dr. Raphael Travis in the School of Social Work and Edward Castillo a music industry professional who utilizes music and entrepreneurship as medians for educational access and wellbeing for first-generation students.

Rafael Cordero

Peter Ongolo
Senior Undergraduate Student at Texas State University

Peter Ongolo is a ballroom dancer, a playwright, and is studying to become a director in the performance and production program. His recent activities include directing a one-man show about PTSD and assisting in directing various works ranging from straight plays to opera. He is currently working on a new play for unveiling later this Fall. Peter’s artistic voice is dedicated to bringing narratives to theatrical life. His works celebrate language as primary support and basis upon which vital stories about community are built and shared. He is a novice ballroom dancer specializing in the Latin social dances of salsa, bachata, cha cha cha, and standard tango. Peter also successfully led a student organization, Ritmo Latino Dance Company, first as a Performance and Events Coordinator and finally as Vice President. During his spare time, Peter is a playwright whose works involve conversations on discovering and understanding what it means to be black in a world where black is not the majority.

Peter Onlongo

Raphael Travis, Ph.D.
Professor and MSW Program Director at Texas State University in the School of Social Work
Raphael Travis' research, practice, and consultancy work emphasizes healthy development over the life-course, resilience, and civic engagement. He also investigates creative arts, especially Hip-Hop culture, as a source of health and well-being for individuals and communities. He is the author of the book “The Healing Power of Hip Hop.” 

His latest research, linking arts engagement with positive development, and reduced depression, anxiety, and stress, appears in a variety of academic journals and book chapters.  

The Collaborative Research for Education, Art, and Therapeutic Engagement (CREATE) Lab, at Texas State University (San Marcos, TX, USA) led by Dr. Travis, partners with researchers, educators, artists, and community-based organizations focused on better understanding the educational, health, and therapeutic benefits of music and art engagement. The CREATE Lab has multiple active research projects including working with TRIO and Upward Bound that explore the benefits of creative arts on mental health. Many of these projects build upon the lab’s on-campus music studio. The studio, complete with professional quality music technology, hardware and software, makes constructing, recording, remixing, and other ways of engaging music possible.  

Rafael Travis


Big Ideas Out in the World

In-depth conversations with Bobcat alumni and industry experts.

Malcom Hawkins '89 President & Co-founder

Colt International, LLC - He is also president of North American sales at World Fuel Services and president of Colt Aviation Services, LLC.

Bruce Smith '81 President & CEO

for Safety Vision, L.P., a mobile video surveillance company.

Collaborative Connections

The new Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) was established to foster a culture of innovative and entrepreneurial thinking and assist the launch of new ventures, bringing ideas to life.

Center for Innovation and entrepreneurship logo
UFCU logo

UFCU Supports Big Ideas at TXST

Texas State University appreciates the generous support of University Federal Credit Union (UFCU) for their support of Big Ideas Virtual Week and the new Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.  Their support includes a challenge fund to match gifts dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000 in support of student learning through the new Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship as part of our Step Up for State day-of-giving event on October 7-8, 2020. 

Step Up For Big Ideas

Join us for our annual “days of giving” campaign. For 1,899 minutes, this program offers alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff and friends a chance to give.

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For More Information

To learn more about Big Ideas Virtual Week, please contact Dr. Dan Perry in the Office of Development at or call 512.245.4055.