Student Startup Madness (SSM) is a nationwide tournament-style competition for college student digital media startups, culminating with the “Entrepreneurial Eight” national finals at South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive.


SSM is open to college student digital media startups from colleges across the USA. The entry period opens in the summer, with rolling admissions through November. The first and regional rounds of the competition are conducted online, beginning with a selected field of 64 teams, narrowing to 32 semi-finalists and ending with the announcement of the “Entrepreneurial Eight” finalists in January.

Each round of the nationwide tournament builds momentum, awareness and social media buzz, drawing attention to colleges and universities as sources for innovation, entrepreneurship and talent while showcasing innovative university entrepreneurship programs and encouraging college students to start businesses.

About the Organizers:

The Student Startup Madness concept was developed by Sean Branagan, director of the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University.

Bucknell University, Georgia State University, Michigan State University, St. Louis University, Syracuse University and The University of Texas at Austin were regional hosts for the 2013-14 tournament.  All six of these major universities have innovative, “applied entrepreneurship” programs (where students are encouraged to start ventures on campus), and they want to help young student entrepreneurs become a part of the SXSW experience.

SSM is sponsored by Turner Broadcasting’s Media Camp (premier sponsor), Evernote (premier sponsor), Google Developers, TriNet, and The Newhouse School at Syracuse University. These corporate sponsors and our other partners want to encourage American entrepreneurship, and help young student entrepreneurs become a part of the SXSW experience and compete for prizes, recognition and business success. We thank them for their support and leadership and seek new sponsors for the coming year.

Student Startup Madness officially debuted at SXSW in March 2012 with a launch event and kick-off pitchfest. The kick-off event featured short pitch presentations by a group of five student startups, from colleges as close as San Antonio and as far away as Finland. (See News Release for outcome of event.) The kick-off pitchfest was the precursor to the nationwide tournament.


Final Deadline was Midnight, Dec 5th