Startup Studio Devland Is Bringing Its Entrepreneurial Magic to the University Setting

by / ⠀Startup Advice / November 22, 2021
Startup Studio Devland Is Bringing Its Entrepreneurial Magic to the University Setting

It’s no secret that businesses fail at a rapid pace. Most of these breakdowns come as startups fail to launch, with countless companies crashing down to earth within the first year of their existence.

Devland is a startup studio looking to change that factor by working with startups throughout the first year of their launch. The entrepreneurially-minded organization is even in the process of tapping into the largely undervalued population. Specifically, they are focusing on colleges and universities, with the goal to jumpstart the startup process as early as possible.

Devland’s Ambitious Startup Vision

Devland is an innovative startup studio that provides what it refers to as “an alternative investment pathway for committed entrepreneurs-in-residence with program guidance and direct funding through Series A.”

In other words, the company has created an ecosystem that funds and supports entrepreneurs through the early days of launching a business. Devland doesn’t do this from a distance, either. It has created a robust hands-on process to aid business owners in the early days of setting up a business.

Entrepreneurs start as Devland research fellows and function as a member of the team as they flesh out their ideas. Eventually, they pursue funding and the launching of their company. 

From research to fundraising, Devland intimately facilitates the incubation of business ventures. 

This is especially targeted toward off-beat, innovative industries. Additionally, it’s also targeted to overlooked demographics, like women and BIPOC own many of the company’s startups. As the Devland site explains, “We function as co-builders helping to attain critical milestones for the new startup potential they are leading.”

The Startup Mission

Founders Miles Dotson and Devon Fanfair are both engineers with a tech pedigree and capital markets experience. They understand the cutthroat world of business startups — and want to rewrite the script.

Their company acknowledges the fact that humans tend to obsess over creating value systems that rank one another. This leads to the desire to treat each other as commodities. 

But that does not interest Devland. Its mission is to work together to develop one another. “We are focused on developing humans,” says Devon Fanfair, “and creating repeatable paths to success in whatever sector they are most fixated on so they can achieve success over and over.”

With this open-minded and inclusive concept, Devland can more easily tap into a powerful vein of entrepreneurial vigor. This is because it harnesses the collective power of countless innovators in overlooked spaces.

Devland’s Focus on the Innovators of Tomorrow

There are many ways Devland is expanding this vision of entrepreneurial empowerment. One way is through its latest venture into the world of academia.

The company is piloting a program to work with future entrepreneurs right on campus. Founders Miles and Devon both have past history in the NSF (National Science Foundation) programs in their respective universities. They know the value that this time as an adult student can have.

The pair sees this four-to-five-year chunk of life as one of the best opportunities for individuals to explore, research, and rapid prototype build. Professional input from professors and peers abound. Resources are plentiful and accessible, as well.

“In the same way Uber and Airbnb are successful because they leveraged underutilized existing resources,” says Miles Dotson, “Universities are relatively untapped and this can be a win for all including the economy.”

At the same time, the founders also were aware of the “against the grain” tendencies that they possessed when they personally functioned as student entrepreneurs in the academic space. They see that if they’d received better support, they could have gotten onto the path of success that much quicker.

“We could have graduated into our funded startups,” explains Devon Fanfair, “or at least have had a few full ‘failed’ attempts before we left!”

In the eyes of the Devland team, what better place to foster entrepreneurship than within the controlled, resource-plentiful walls of a college campus? That’s where they see their developing on-campus role playing out in the not-too-distant future.

In fact, Devland’s campus programs are already shifting from theory to reality. The team is working with a computer science professor at Georgia State along with several other universities.

Final Thoughts

The ultimate goal is for Devland to create its own courses and curriculum. It would then teach these at campuses across the country as official adjunct faculty. 

This would open the doors for students to graduate into the Devland ecosystem. Once there, they could continue to develop ideas and work toward the funding and launch of their own startups.

Devland’s activity in the entrepreneurial world is already impressive. It has established its ability to target the potential in overlooked areas quite well.

This shift to extend that mentality right onto college campuses bodes well for the future of a company — along with its clients — that is already becoming synonymous with sustained startup success.

About The Author

Kimberly Zhang

Editor in Chief of Under30CEO. I have a passion for helping educate the next generation of leaders.