Student startup teams from 38 colleges and universities across the country compete for top honors and bragging rights in Student Startup Madness tournament

RELEASE Tuesday, Jan 5, 2016 — Sixty-four college student startups across the nation comprise the starting field in the 2015-16 Student Startup Madness (SSM) tournament, competing for top honors and the SSM National Championship. The teams in the “SSM64” come from 38 colleges and universities—from large state universities to small private colleges, from technical institutes to liberal arts schools. Michigan State University has the most participants in the field—12 teams—followed by Syracuse University with six teams.

The first two rounds of the tournament will be held online, and the competition culminates with the finals at South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive in Austin, Texas, on March 14, 2016, when the Entrepreneurial Eight will pitch to a panel of startup judges who will declare the champion.

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 each pitch their business to well-known investors and entrepreneurs who can help them transform their idea into success.

“We received applications from colleges and universities from all over the country,” says Sean Branagan, creator of the SSM concept and tournament, and director of the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. “The quality of the talent and innovation is impressive. Entrepreneurship on campus is booming, and it shows!”

SSM is promoted and supported by universities in regions across the country. Regional university hosts for the 2015-16 SSM tournament are: Arizona State University, Bucknell University, Cornell University, Georgia State University, Michigan State University, St. Louis University, Seton Hall University, University of California Davis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Washington Tacoma and Xavier University.

The 2015-16 SSM Starting Field of 64: (in alphabetical order)

  • AddMe
    from Michigan State University
  • Admition
    from Seton Hall University
  • ArmRAy
    from University of Rochester
  • Aveho
    from Seton Hall University
  • BearHugs
    from Case Western Reserve University
  • Binge
    from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
  • Blurr
    from Northeastern University
  • Bringitt
    from Michigan State University
  • BurnBox
    from Syracuse University
  • Cause Kit
    from Syracuse University
  • ChaChing
    from Syracuse University
  • Common Road
    from Michigan State University
  • Conecter
    from Michigan State University
  • Darkchart
    from Syracuse University
  • DJ Tops Productions
    from Michigan State University
  • eCare
    from University of Texas at Austin
  • Eco Eats
    from Illinois Institute of Technology
  • EscortMe
    from Michigan State University
  • EyesUp
    from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • FailUp
    from Tulane University
  • FoodShare
    from Washington University in St. Louis
  • For the FuNd$ of It
    from Western Michigan University
  • Fresh U
    from Syracuse University
  • Friendress
    from Bucknell University
  • Genie
    from Duke University
  • GoSpot
    from Michigan State University
  • Headliner
    from Florida International University
    from Seton Hall University
  • ineed
    from Michigan State University
  • inQuire
    from Michigan State University
  • Listant
    from University of Iowa
  • Livnlove
    from Emory University
  • Maidbot
    from Cornell University, Georgia Tech & Carnegie Mellon University
  • Mindesk
    from Santa Clara University
  • Moringa School Limited
    from Northwestern University
  • NativX
    from US Air Force Academy & Harvard University
  • NuGrad
    from Illinois State University
  • NullSpace VR
    from University of Rochester
  • O-Scav
    from University of Chicago
  • Omnipointment
    from Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Party EDU
    from Miami University (Ohio)
  • Paxton Medical
    from Michigan State University
  • Phonic Chef
    from Georgetown University
  • PickUp
    from Bucknell University
  • Pope Cobra
    from Western Michigan University
  • Qwerk
    from University of Florida, George Washington University & Washington University in St. Louis
  • Rose Incorporated
    from Michigan State University
  • Ruma
    from Case Western Reserve University
  • Ryde
    from Princeton University
  • Sale Split
    from Emory University
  • Saturnup
    from University of Michigan
  • scholr
    from University of Oregon
  • ShipIT
    from University of Rochester
  • SoleSearch
    from Purdue University Calumet
  • Spolitic
    from Syracuse University
  • The Mouve
    from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
  • thinc
    from University of Rochester
  • Trep-ology
    from St. Louis University
  • TSOLife
    from Stetson University
  • TurnUp
    from Bucknell University
  • Unisource
    from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Vozra
    from Texas Tech University
  • Yaardvark
    from University of Akron
  • York Project
    from Michigan State University

SSM Tournament Format

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 university entrepreneurship and encouraging college students to start businesses.

More than 100 teams applied online between August and December 4, 2015. The first round of competition will be held online among the 64 startup teams, with judging conducted via, a platform used by angel investors around the world.

From the starting field, 32 semi-finalists will be chosen and advance to the next round. By late January, the Entrepreneurial Eight finalists will be selected and invited to pitch to a well-known panel of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and investors at the Student Startup Madness national finals in Austin, Texas, on March 14, 2016. The SSM Finals and Championship event will be held at SXSW’s Startup Village main venue in the downtown Hilton Austin.

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 sponsors 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.

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. In 2013, SSM became a SXSW Partner Program and was invited into the main venue of SXSW Startup Village. It is the only college startup pitch event at SXSW.

For more on Student Startup Madness, visit the website ( see us on Facebook:, or follow us on Twitter: @StartupMad.