Student Startup Madness is an exciting nationwide tournament for collegiate digital media startups, culminating with the “Entrepreneurial Eight” finals at South By Southwest in Austin, TX in March 2020.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SYRACUSE, N.Y., September 9, 2019 – Online applications are now being accepted for Student Startup Madness, a fun and exciting nationwide tournament offering college student startups the opportunity to flex their pitching chops and compete against fellow student entrepreneurs to grab the attention of potential investors and leaders in the startup community at the South By Southwest Interactive festival in March 2020.

Student Startup Madness (SSM) is open to all college student digital media startups from any college/university in the United States.

To apply, go to Applications will be accepted through Midnight (EST), Friday, November 29, 2019.

Teams are encouraged to apply for “Early Admission” by Midnight (EST) Friday, October 18, 2019, when 20 of the 64 SSM tournament teams will be selected. Early admission applicants have less competition for the 20 “early admission” spots and more time for student teams to plan ahead and prepare their pitch materials, if they are selected for the semi-finals. Early applicants will also afford the SSM Selection Committee more opportunity to consider their startup versus those that are submitted later.

Competition format
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 university entrepreneurship and encouraging college students to start businesses.

From all online applications, 64 teams will be chosen by the SSM Selection Committee for the first round of competition, which will take place online in the platform.

From the 64 first-round competitors, half (32 teams) will advance to the semi-final regionals round. From the regionals will emerge the “Entrepreneurial Eight,” the top eight student teams that will be invited to pitch to a celebrity panel of well-known entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and investors at the Student Startup Madness national finals at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas, in March 2020.

Last year’s judges were David Robinson, Jr. – Social Impact at Admiral Capital, CoFounder at Blueprint Local, Sarah Beth Lardie- Principal/Fundraising Consultant, StratFund Services, Clyde Hutchinson- Head of Innovation,  Viva Air Labs, and Katie Russel – Head of Business Development, Draper University.

About Student Startup Madness
The Student Startup Madness concept was developed by Sean Branagan, director of the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, in conjunction with SXSW.

Student Startup Madness, along with its partners and host universities, believes in American entrepreneurship and on-campus startups—and wants to help young student entrepreneurs succeed and become a part of the SXSW experience.

For more on Student Startup Madness, visit the website (

Sign up for the Student Startup Madness Newsletter for continual updates here.
Follow Student Startup Madness on Facebook, on Twitter @StartupMad, and on Instagram at @StartupMadness.