Syracuse University startups among the semi-finalists for Student Startup Madness at South By Southwest

CLLCTVE, Promptous and Visos are among the 32 college student startup teams from across the nation selected to move on to the semi-final round in the 2020 Student Startup Madness (SSM) tournament, and potentially compete at the SSM National Championship at South By Southwest in March. The semi-finalist teams come from more than two dozen different colleges and universities across the country and are working on digital products and services in more than a dozen different industries, including all kinds of business-to-business and consumer products and services.  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 of the top college student startups in the country will pitch their business to well-known investors and entrepreneurs who can help them transform their ideas into success.  Syracuse University startup Ravle, made it to the final eight in 2018.

CLLCTVE was founded by Kesley Davis ’19 (Newhouse) G ’20 (Whitman).  Promptous was founded by Josh Jackson ’17 (Maxwell) ’19 (iSchool).  Visos was founded by Matt Shumer ’22 (Whitman).

They join these finalists (in alphabetical order):

  • 360VR Technology from  University of Delaware
  • Andy’s Beekeeping from University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Averto from University of Oregon
  • Biosolution Innovations from Michigan State University
  • CAPNOS from Michigan State University
  • CLLCTVE from Syracuse University
  • Door Robotics from Colgate University and University of Maryland
  • Drispy from City University of New York
  • Flee from Purdue Northwest
  • Glyde from New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University
  • Graff Golf from Johns Hopkins University
  • Instashowing from University of Oregon
  • KaleidoscopeME from Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Lingco Language Labs from Michigan State University
  • Olive Branch Pictures from Wesleyan University, Drexel University, Brandeis University, and Harvard University
  • oneHolt from University of Louisville
  • Picture It from Michigan State University
  • Promptous from Syracuse University
  • QuickTech Medical from Virginia Tech
  • ReBokeh from Bucknell University
  • scrapIt Technologies from Stony Brook University and Farmingdale State College
  • ShoeBio from Oregon State University, University of Oregon, and University of Arizona
  • Sike Insights from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • Simulpass from Washington University in St. Louis
  • SKOOP from Michigan State University
  • Somatic from Michigan State University
  • Talklet from University of Chicago and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Tammira from University of Southern California (USC)
  • True Adherence fromUniversity of Utah
  • True Owl from New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • UNICOILS from Michigan State University
  • Visos from Syracuse University

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 one of SXSW’s Startup Village main venues on Monday, March 16, 2020.

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 200 student startups applied online between August and early December. The first round of competition was 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 are chosen and advance to the next round. By early February, 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 Monday, Monday, March 16, 2020 The SSM Finals and Championship event will be held at one of SXSW’s main venues in the downtown Austin Hilton hotel conference center.

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 believes in American entrepreneurship and on-campus startups—and wants to help young student entrepreneurs succeed and become a part of the SXSW experience.

The 2019-20 SSM tournament has been promoted and supported by 13 anchor universities in eight regions across the country: 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 Florida (Southeast), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Midwest), University of Maryland (Mid-Atlantic), University of Southern California (West), 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, where five student startup teams representing eight colleges and universities pitched their ventures and won prizes. Today it is a national tournament in one of the main venues of SXSW. For more on Student Startup Madness, visit the website (, see us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter: @StartupMad.