Co-founders of Square and BrandYourself will join technologists and investors from Google, Turner Broadcasting and TechStars to judge student entrepreneurs as they pitch their ventures at SXSW event Student Startup Madness. Emcee of the event will be “Intern Queen” Lauren Berger.


RELEASE Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 — The judging panel is set for Student Startup Madness’ (SSM) “Entrepreneurial Eight” finals to be held on Saturday, March 9, at South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive in the Hilton Hotel in downtown Austin. The event will be led and emceed by a bright and rising star in the career advice and on-campus scene: president and CEO Lauren Berger.

The judging panel includes:

  • Patrick Ambron, co-founder/CEO,
  • Nicole Glaros, managing director, TechStars
  • Sandy Khaund, senior director of emerging technologies, Turner Broadcasting
  • Peter S Magnusson, engineering director, Google
  • Jim McKelvey, co-founder, Square

“We wanted to assemble a nice mix of successful investors and entrepreneurs, and we did!” says Sean Branagan, creator of SSM and director of the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. ”The caliber of these judges is outstanding, and a few of them even had startups while they were in college, so they understand the college student entrepreneur. For our finalists, this is an opportunity to get feedback from people out in the industry who know and understand where they are and where they want to go.”

Event emcee Lauren Berger (a.k.a. “The Intern Queen”) is a career and internship expert, frequent speaker on college campuses across the nation and author of the national best-seller “All Work, No Pay: Finding An Internship, Building Your Resume, Making Connections, and Gaining Job Experience” (Ten Speed Press, 2012).

Student Startup Madness is a fun and exciting nationwide tournament providing college student startups the opportunity to “live the entrepreneurial dream,” compete against fellow student entrepreneurs, grab the attention of potential investors and leaders in the startup community, and build an elite professional network. At the SSM finals at SXSW, the competition’s final eight elite college student startup teams will pitch their ventures to win prizes and school bragging rights while meeting the kinds of people who can help transform their business ideas into reality.

The tournament started in November with a field of 64 college student startup teams and was narrowed in December to 32 semi-finalists from 18 colleges and universities across the country. The eight finalists come from eight different universities, with locations in seven different states.

The Finals

The judging panel will review the Entrepreneurial Eight teams in three rounds.

Round One will be held from 9:30-10:30 a.m. and will feature teams from The University of Texas at Austin, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Stanford University and Emory University. Round Two will follow after a 30-minute break at 11 a.m.-noon and will feature teams from Saint Louis University, Michigan State University, the University of California at Berkeley and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

The top three teams, as scored by the judging panel, will be invited back for the Championship Round from 12:30-1:30 p.m. with a one-minute pitch and short Q&A. Each of the top three teams will receive:

  • $5,000 of credits for Google Cloud Platform (; Cloud Platform allows startups to build, deploy and run web applications and mobile app backends in the cloud, without having to worry about infrastructure or scalability; and
  • gift cards from JackThreads (a Thrillist company) with member-only pricing on streetwear fashions: $750 for first place, $500 for second place and $300 for third place.

The top vote-getter as determined by the judges will be named the Student Startup Madness 2012-13 National Champion and will be awarded the SSM Rocket Trophy with all the bragging rights for the team and its home college/university.

About the Judges

Patrick Ambron created BrandYourself when his co-founder couldn’t get an internship because he was being mistaken for a drug dealer. BrandYourself is “the only Do-It-Yourself platform that empowers anyone to improve their own search results.” Ambron has helped BrandYourself secure more than $1 million in venture capital and won one of the top prizes at last year’s SXSW Accelerator. He was also honored as one of the top CEOs under 30 at the White House and is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School.

Nicole Glaros got her entrepreneurial start in the 4th grade, orchestrating cousins into theatrical plays and charging neighbors admission. From there, she founded three startups, all of which are still operating. Glaros has spent nearly a decade working to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Colorado and has worked with nearly 100 brilliant and gutsy seed-stage web software entrepreneurs. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Florida.

Sandy Khaund is senior director at Turner Broadcasting’s Emerging Technologies team. Previously, Khaund founded Irynsoft (a company that delivers collaborative video-based learning to mobile devices), was COO of Piczo (a 35-million-member social network) and director of community technologies at Microsoft. Khaund earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in engineering at Cornell University and an M.B.A. at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

Peter S Magnusson, in his capacity as an engineering director at Google, works with Google Cloud Platform products, including leading the Google App Engine team. Before joining Google, he wrote the Simics simulator and founded Virtutech, acquired by Intel in 2010. Magnusson is a graduate of the Stockholm School of Economics and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and is a 2012 ACM Fellow.

Jim McKelvey is the co-founder of Square, a mobile payment platform. He started his career as a visiting scientist at IBM’s Los Angeles Scientific Center. He left to follow his passion and has founded companies across a range of industries. McKelvey is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis with dual degrees in economics and computer science.

About the Emcee

Lauren Berger is known as “The Intern Queen” and is arguably the nation’s most in-demand career and internship expert. She is author of “All Work, No Pay: Finding An Internship, Building Your Resume, Making Connections, and Gaining Job Experience” and has been featured on NBC’s “Today Show” and FOX News’ “Fox & Friends” as well as in The New York Times, The New York Post, Teen Vogue, Bloomberg and LA Weekly. Berger regularly contributes to AOL Jobs, USA Today, The Huffington Post and She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.

About the finalists

crowdrx from The University of Texas at Austin: We are crowdsourcing knowledge to save lives by empowering doctors with a workflow suited mobile application. [Justin Crites, Tony Llongueras and Macario Lara] –

Health on Time (HOT) from the University of Illinois at Chicago: A medication therapy management app that allows pharmacists to conduct comprehensive sessions by video conferencing with real time info [Sunjin Jun, Jennifer Mourafetis, Kristen Karlsen, and Amata Sok] –

RentLingo from Stanford University: The social way to find roommates and rentals. See how you’re connected to prospective apartments, roommates and your new city. [Dan Laufer and Byron Singh] –

Shindig from Emory University: The Social Network for Social People. Keep track of your social life by instantly sharing plans with friends. Know who is going where, when. [Hailey Friedman, James Rubinowitz, Julian Tigler, Alex Sloan and Eric Ugland] –

StoryBoard from St. Louis University: Your life is a movie; capture it. StoryBoard is your experiences, your characters, your story, one 30-second video at a time. [Darren Jackson, Ty Sondag and Alex Johnson] –

TempoRun LLC from Michigan State University: TempoRun is an app that will allow users to always run at a consistent and enjoyable pace, using music tempo as guide. [Josh Leider, Benny Ebert-Zavos, Phil Getzen and Adam Proschek] –

Traverie from the University of California at Berkeley: helps you explore travel through friends. Think of us as an interactive travel magazine with content from friends. [Gaurav Agarwal, Jimming Cheng, and Tiffany Yang] –

UpSmart LLC from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: UpSmart aims to take advantage the JOBS Act, by offering the first web presence for entrepreneurs seamlessly integrated with crowdfunding. [Heidi Beatrice Moore, Samuel Webster Hagen, Aaron Tobias, and Ryan William Maxfield] –

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. Syracuse University is the organizing institution for this year’s national tournament.

Student Startup Madness is supported by generous corporate sponsors Turner Broadcasting’s Media Camp, a Turner/Warner Bros. initiative” (Premier Sponsor), Google Developers, Foursquare and the Newhouse School—with help from other media companies and firms that work with early-stage ventures.

The tournament has been promoted and supported by four anchor universities in four regions across the country: Emory University in the Southeast, Saint Louis University in the Midwest, The University of Texas at Austin in the Southwest and Syracuse University in the Northeast.

The first round of the 2012-13 Student Startup Madness competition was held online from August until November. Judging took place via, a platform used by angel investors around the world. The 32 semi-finalists advanced to the virtual regional round, primarily based on their home college location, where they were judged against each other online. From each of the four regions, two finalists emerged to form the “Entrepreneurial Eight” (or “E8″), who will come to Austin on March 9 to pitch their businesses at the SSM national finals.

Student Startup Madness debuted at the 2012 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. For more on Student Startup Madness, visit the website (, see us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter: @StartupMad.

Contact: Sean Branagan
(315) 443-6310