Student startup teams from Michigan State University, Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley are top three finalists, with Michigan State’s TempoRun named the SSM champion


RELEASE Monday, March 11, 2013 — TempoRun, a venture of Michigan State University students, led by Josh Leider and Benny Ebert-Zavos, is the winner of the Student Startup Madness (SSM) 2012-13 National Championship Finals at the South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. Teams of students from eight different universities in the SSM finals pitched their ventures to a world-class judging panel of entrepreneurs, investors and technologists as an official part of SXSW’s Startup Village.

TempoRun ( is a mobile application for fitness and running enthusiasts. It allows users to run at a consistent and enjoyable pace, using music tempo as a guide. The app enables runners to select the tempo of music that fits their running tempo from their playlist or via TempoRun radio.

In second place was Traverie from the University of California at Berkeley, with a web-based service that helps you explore travel through friends. Third-place finisher was RentLingo from Stanford University, with an online social service that finds roommates and rentals by seeing how people are connected in a new city.

“All eight teams were terrific, and the judges were tough—as it ought to be,” 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. “People were impressed with the poise of these young entrepreneurs, under the pressure of presenting on stage in the main venue at South By Southwest, and under scrutiny from a top-shelf group of judges. It was an amazing scene.”

SSM’s “Entrepreneurial Eight” Finals were held Saturday, March 9, in the Hilton Hotel in downtown Austin. Emcee Lauren Berger, president and CEO, brought an element of fun and entertainment to the event, while the judges brought experience, insights and tough questions. The judging panel was composed of:

  • 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

“The caliber of the judges was outstanding,” says Branagan, “and a few even had startups while they were in college, so they understand the college student entrepreneur. After the event, it was hard to clear the room, since the finalists and judges wanted to talk and share ideas and insights.”

Event emcee Berger (a.k.a. “The Intern Queen”) brought levity to some tense moments and kept the event moving and entertaining. As a career and internship expert, who speaks frequently on college campuses across the nation, she also took the opportunity to remind the student teams and the audience that rejection is part of the process to make you better … to make you successful.

The Finals

The judging panel reviewed the Entrepreneurial Eight teams in three rounds.

Round One was held from 9:30-10:30 a.m. and featured teams from The University of Texas at Austin, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Stanford University and Emory University. Round Two followed after a 30-minute break, from 11 a.m.-noon, and featured 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, were invited back for the Championship Round from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Originally, they were going to do a one-minute pitch and short Q&A, but the judges determined it would be better to modify the format and brought all three teams to the stage for a “grilling.” The outcome was both educational and entertaining.

  • $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—TempoRun—was named the Student Startup Madness 2012-13 National Champion and was awarded the SSM Rocket Trophy, with all the associated bragging rights for the team and Michigan State 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