The best college digital startups in America are set to meet for Student Startup Madness championship event at SXSW in Austin, TX.

The Entrepreneurial Eight teams have been chosen for the finals of the Student Startup Madness (SSM) tournament, an official session at South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive. These elite college student startups will be in Austin, Texas, on Monday, March 16, 2020 to pitch before a judging panel of successful entrepreneurs and investors. The SSM event will be held at SXSW’s Startup Village main venue in the downtown Hilton Austin. 

Student Startup Madness (SSM) is the only nationwide collegiate tournament focused on digital media startups. It affords college student startups the opportunity to compete against fellow student entrepreneurs, grab the attention of potential investors and supporters, and build an elite professional network. At the SSM finals at SXSW, eight elite college student startups will pitch their business to well-known investors and entrepreneurs who can help them transform their idea into success.

The 2019-20 SSM Entrepreneurial Eight Finalists (in alphabetical order)

  • Averto from University of Oregon
  • Dripsy from City University of New York
  • KaleidoscopeME from Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Lingco Language Labs from Michigan State University
  • QuickTech Medical from Virginia Tech
  • Sike Insights from UCLA
  • Tammira from University of Southern California
  • True Adherence from University of Utah

SSM Tournament 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.

More than 200 teams applied for the Student Startup Madness tournament online between August and early December. Applications came from more than 60 different colleges and universities across the country: from large state universities to small private colleges, from technical institutes to liberal arts schools. All SSM teams are digital media startups, and all hope to follow in the footsteps of famous college student founders of companies like Facebook, Google, Dell, Microsoft, Reddit, WordPress and SnapChat.

The first two rounds of competition are held online, with judging conducted via, a platform used by angel investors around the world. From the starting field of 64 of the best college startups in America, 32 semi-finalists were chosen in mid-January. All these student startups are working on digital products and services in dozens of industries, as varied as Business-to-Business Services, Consumer Products, Fashion, Financial Services, Healthcare, Education, Entertainment, Retail, Sports and Travel.

The SSM tournament is promoted by anchor universities in regions across the country and supported by Walmart Technology and The Blackstone Charitable Foundation. SSM also cross-promotes the tournament with Blackstone LaunchPad, a global campus based entrepreneurship program, with Women 2.0, the leading media brand for the next generation of technology leaders, and with Student Veterans of America, a coalition of student-veteran groups on more than 1,300 college campuses across the globe. All these organizations believe in the power of American entrepreneurship and innovation on our college campuses.

About the Finalists

Averto: A crowd-sourced security-event mapping platform providing real-time info for people & orgs in conflict zones; currently active in Libya. [Contact Alex Mentzel,, or visit]

Dripsy: Nightlife payment platform that optimizes time per customer served up to a 50% offering a more convenient experience to customers and lowering venue’s expenses. [Contact Chino Azcue,,]

KaleidoscopeME: An EDUtainment productions and software development company focused on the creation of movement, mindfulness, and social-emotional learning platforms for children. [Contact Liza Savage-Katz,,]

Lingco Language Labs: An adaptive language learning platform for schools. It helps students master languages quickly and efficiently using AI. [Contact Seth Killian,,]

QuickTech Medical: Makes arthritic recovery faster, easier, and cheaper while improving patient outcomes by leveraging new 3D scanning, computer vision, and AI tech. [Contact Glenn Feit,,]

Sike Insights: An enterprise software company that uses AI to help remote teams work better together. [Contact Siddharth Pandiya,,]

Tammira: a beauty mobile video app for learners and artists/influencers to match up/find, connect, book and engage through its one-to-one live video chat feature. [Contact Staci Dao,,]

True Adherence: A real-time computer-vision based biomechanics feedback platform focused on revolutionizing in gym training through digital coaching. [Contact Kyle Poulin,,]

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 believes in American entrepreneurship and on-campus startups—and wants to help young student entrepreneurs succeed and become a part of the SXSW experience.

The 2016-17 SSM tournament has been promoted and supported by 13 anchor universities in eight regions across the country: Arizona State University (Southwest), Cornell University (Northeast), Bucknell University (Mid-Atlantic), Georgia State University (Southeast), Michigan State University (Great Lakes), St. Louis University (Midwest), Seton Hall University (Northeast), University of Florida (Southeast), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Midwest), University of Maryland (Mid-Atlantic), University of Southern California (West), University of Washington at Tacoma (Northwest) and Xavier University (Great Lakes).

Student Startup Madness debuted in 2012 at SXSW Interactive with a launch event and kick-off pitchfest, where five student startup teams representing eight colleges and universities pitched their ventures and won prizes. Today it is a national tournament in the main venue of SXSW Startup Village. For more on Student Startup Madness, visit the website (, see us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter: @StartupMad.