Gazelles sprint through the landscape

Longhorn-Founded Startup Wins Competitions with New Eco-App

  • Oct 20, 2022

Gazelle Ecosolutions, an eco-restoration startup founded by a group of undergraduate students at The University of Texas at Austin, recently won two competitions for developing an app that allows ranchers in sub-Saharan Africa to sustainably manage their land.  

The team won first place in the McCombs School of Business Texas Sustainability Innovation Challenge (TSIC), which earned them a spot in the prestigious  Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge—a national competition held this year in San Diego, California—where they were also awarded the top prize among more than 50 startups. 

Their app helps ranchers make data-driven decisions about grazing allocation to protect the ecology of the land and manage its carbon sequestration potential. The project aims to utilize revenues from carbon reductions/offsets to finance other sustainable development projects in the region, in consultation with local stakeholders and government leaders.  

Students Amod Daherkar and Ben Breed from the McCombs School and the College of Liberal Arts, along with Mihir Bendre and Siddharth Thakur from the Cockrell School of Engineering had approached geography professors Kelley Crews and Thoralf Meyer in January 2022 about working on a sustainability project.  

In the summer, three of the four students went to Botswana with Meyer and Crews to test-drive the app during the Global Career Launch student internships program, which Meyer was awarded through Texas Global.  

“The university’s efforts to enhance its international profile are often underestimated,” Meyers said. “The world does not stop on the edge of campus or an international boundary. Often, we need to look at issues from a global perspective. This perspective cannot be taught in a classroom; it needs to be experienced by the student firsthand.” 

Read more about the project from the College of Liberal Arts.