Field of 64 begins national collegiate startup tournament, hoping to go to South By Southwest for finals in March – 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)
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 Gust.com, 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.
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