Entrepreneur and Naveen Jindal School of Management alumnus Oscar Yactayo knows the life of an entrepreneur includes long hours, evolving business plans and surrounding yourself with talent.
He has found the support for all of these areas through his relationship with UT Dallas, working on his new business at the Blackstone LaunchPad with 15 Jindal School and Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science students on his team.
Seeking to transform the transportation and logistics industry through digitalization, his business, ClicknShip USA Inc., introduces an online platform to connect the shipper and the trucking company and streamline a process that has historically been laborious and designed to benefit only the shipper.
It is not the industry Yactayo, who in 2008 earned a BS in Business Administration degree with a concentration in international business, dreamed about while at UT Dallas.
“I figured I would be a stockbroker. I never thought transportation and logistics was going to stick, but that is where I saw my opportunity,” he says. “There was so much to improve internally, and it’s where I gained my stripes.”
As he works on his venture at the BLP, the UT Dallas co-working and accelerator space available to current students, staff, faculty and alumni, Yactayo applies his passion for entrepreneurship to the way he gives back to the University.
Yactayo started working on ClicknShip full time in November 2017, which was around the same time he participated in the Operations Management Case Competition hosted by the student chapter of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). The student leaders needed a case study for the event, and Yactayo jumped at the chance to write it.
“I love being a part of anything that will motivate me to use my brain and provide knowledge to students that is both theoretical and practical,” he says. “In turn, the event exposed me to the quality of the UTD students, and I spent days afterward responding to emails from students looking to stay in touch.”
Through these connections, Yactayo found the UT Dallas interns, mainly JSOM graduate students, who are helping propel ClicknShip toward its beta release in April 2018.
Providing UT Dallas students with hands-on opportunities is just one of the ways Steve Guengerich, executive director of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, encourages entrepreneurial alums to stay connected.
“There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach, but most contributions fall under time, talent or treasure,” Guengerich says. “Spending time to engage a student, sharing expertise as a guest lecturer or mentor, and serving as an event sponsor or seed fund investor are just some ways our alums can be involved.”
Yactayo has taken advantage of the collaborative environment with fellow startups in the UT Dallas entrepreneurship community to learn, grow and advance his venture. He even spoke at a Jindal School Advisory Council meeting in February about the positive impacts that collaborating with UT Dallas has had on his business. And just as his business model becomes more refined, so too do his ways of giving back.
“I worked full time and was a full-time student at UT Dallas, so I relate to the students because I understand their struggles. I want to be more involved with events and be more available to students to offer guidance and help them find their own way.”
— Caryn Berardi