Student Startup Madness will debut at South By Southwest (SXSW) with a kick-off pitchfest on Monday, March 12, in Austin

RELEASE Tuesday, February 21, 2012 — All college students with digital media startups who will be attending South By Southwest Interactive (SXSWi)—or plan to be in the Austin, Texas, area—are encouraged to apply for the March 12 Student Startup Madness (SSM) kick-off pitchfest.

SSM, in association with South By Southwest, is an exciting tournament-style competition for college student digital media startups. The Austin kick-off pitchfest is the precursor to the 2012-13 nationwide tournament launching this summer.

If selected for the kick-off pitchfest, teams will be able to pitch their business to a panel of investors and entrepreneurs—including Brian Cohen of New York Angels, Elisa Miller of Singlebrook Technologies and well-connected members of the startup community and university entrepreneurship world—on Monday, March 12, from 9-11:30 a.m. at Maria Maria La Cantina, 415 Colorado St. in Austin. Complimentary breakfast will be served.

Teams can register online at Applications will be accepted until midnight on Friday, March 2; teams will be selected and notified by the following Monday, March 5. Each selected team will deliver a 15-minute, in-person pitch to the SSM panel and will be judged on its business merit and investment opportunity, based on strength of idea, strength of team, market size and market traction.

Each team will receive a certificate of participation, and the top scoring teams will win prize packages from kick-off pitchfest sponsors JackThreads, Funny or Die and StartupDebut.

The official SXSW listing for Student Startup Madness can be found here: “Last year, I had two student teams who came with me to South By Southwest to launch their startups. They were looking for ways to get the attention of investors and all the movers-and-shakers,” says Sean Branagan, SSM founder and director of the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

“South By Southwest is the epicenter of the digital media startup world and the perfect place to launch something big,” Branagan says. “A lot of great startups were launched or caught fire at South By. Now with Student Startup Madness, there will be a real platform for students to launch their big ideas. This kick-off pitchfest on March 12 is just the start.”

Details of the 2012-13 SSM tournament will be announced at the March 12 event.

About Student Startup Madness

Student Startup Madness is an official program of SXSW Startup Village and is organized by Syracuse University.

The online entry period for the 2012-13 nationwide tournament opens in summer 2012, followed by regional events at host universities across the country in fall 2012 and culminating in the national finals before a celebrity panel of well-known entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and investors at SXSW Interactive in March 2013.

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

Sponsors of the March 12 kick-off pitchfest event include Funny or Die, Gust, JackThreads/Thrillist, Startup Debut/Social Radius, C3 Strategic, Singlebrook Technologies, and The Paley Center for Media.

Opportunities are available for sponsorships and for university regional host sites for the 2012-13 tournament. For more information, contact Sean Branagan at

Follow Student Startup Madness on Facebook:

Contact: Kevin Morrow
(315) 443-2998