Student startup teams from 25 colleges and universities across the country compete for top honors and bragging rights in Student Startup Madness tournament.

RELEASE Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016 — Thirty-two college student startup teams from across the nation are moving on to the semi-final round in the 2015-16 Student Startup Madness (SSM) tournament, where they will compete for top honors and the SSM National Championship. The semi-finalist teams come from 25 different colleges and universities across the country and are working on digital products and services in media and entertainment, robotics, medical devices, financial services, fashion, transportation and social impact, among other fields.

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 2015-16 SSM 32 Semi-Finalists (in alphabetical order)

  • AddMe from Michigan State University
  • Aveho from Seton Hall University
  • Binge from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
  • Blurr from Northeastern University
  • Bringitt from Michigan State University
  • ChaChing from Syracuse University
  • Common Road from Michigan State University
  • Darkchart from Syracuse University
  • EscortMe from Michigan State University
  • FailUp from Tulane University
  • FoodShare from Washington University in St. Louis
  • Fresh U from Syracuse University
  • Friendress from Bucknell University
  • from Seton Hall University
  • Livnlove from Emory University
  • Maidbot from Cornell University, Georgia Tech and Carnegie Mellon University
  • NativX from U.S. Air Force Academy and Harvard University
  • O-Scav from University of Chicago
  • Paxton Medical from Michigan State University
  • PickUp from Bucknell University
  • Pope Cobra from Western Michigan University
  • Roze Incorporated from Michigan State University
  • Ryde from Princeton University
  • Saturnup from University of Michigan
  • SoleSearch from Purdue University Calumet
  • The Mouve from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
  • thinc from University of Rochester
  • Trep-ology from St. Louis University
  • TSOLife from Stetson University
  • Unisource from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Vozra from Texas Tech University
  • Yaardvark from University of Akron

From these 32 semi-finalists, the Entrepreneurial Eight finalists will be selected in late January and invited to pitch at the SSM Finals and Championship event, to be held at SXSW’s Startup Village main venue in the downtown Hilton Austin on Monday, March 14.

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 100 teams applied for the Student Startup Madness tournament online between August and early December. The first two rounds of the SSM tournament are held online, with judging conducted via, a platform used by angel investors around the world. 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.

“Based on the high level of talent we see in these semi-finalist teams, I think we’re going to see a tremendous pitch contest in Austin in March,” says Sean Branagan, creator of the SSM program. “Every year, I’m amazed at how much innovation and entrepreneurship is happening on college campuses across the country. It’s inspirational. What a time to be in college!”

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.

SSM is promoted and supported by anchor universities in regions across the country, including 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 California Davis (West),University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Midwest), 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. In 2013 and 2014, SSM became a SXSW Partner Program and was invited into 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.