32 College Startups Compete in Madness Style Tournament


Colleges and universities from across the country are competing in a bracket-style 2017 student startup madness tournament.

Startups from colleges around the country are about to compete for a major honor and opportunity.

Taking place at South By Southwest in March, the Student Startup Madness tournament is a nationwide competition that focuses on digital media startups founded by college students. The 32 semi-finalist teams come from 23 different colleges and universities around the country and create products and services in industries ranging from fashion and retail to financial services and B2B.

There are a number of different factors that go into choosing the eight teams that get to compete in the finals at South By Southwest. Those eight teams get to pitch their ideas to well-known investors and other entrepreneurs who can help them improve their chances of success.



One of those eight finalists in last year’s tournament was Blurr, a location-based photo sharing app started by students at Northeastern University.

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A Peek Inside the 2017 Student Startup Madness Tournament

Co-founder Daniel Arvidsson explained the early part of the process in an email interview with Small Business Trends, “Besides a big application which covered all aspects of the business, a big part of the competition was seeing how much support you could get from your community through social media and different news outlets. We were able to create a big buzz around Northeastern University surrounding Blurr, which helped a lot.”

Since the competition, Arvidson and the rest of the Blurr team, including co-founders Sam Marley and Daniel Korman, have relocated and grown the business. But the lessons learned through the Student Startup Madness tournament have been instrumental to that growth.

Arvidsson says, “Going to South by Southwest and presenting was an incredible experience. Some of the connections that we made then, proved to be instrumental to us especially as we relocated the company to LA. Having gone through the process also made us better at presenting and taught us valuable business lessons. I think that it is a great opportunity for digital college startups to see if they can rally their communities in support.”

This year, the 32 semi-finalists that will compete for that same opportunity include:

  • 101 from Carnegie Mellon University
  • Acculis from New York University
  • Ally from University of Texas at Dallas
  • Chang’s Chat from Arizona State University
  • Channels from Washington University in St. Louis
  • Comake from Cornell University
  • Converse VR from University of Texas at Dallas
  • Drops from University of Southern California
  • Dycap Media Solutions from University of Florida
  • Find Your Ditto from University of Michigan
  • Kwest from University of Texas at Dallas
  • LearnMe from Purdue University Northwest
  • MemoryFox from State University of New York at Buffalo
  • Omnipointment from Illinois Institute of Technology and University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Orai from Drexel University
  • Parihug from Case Western Reserve University
  • Parsegon from Columbia University
  • Reflexion Interactive Technologies from Case Western Reserve University
  • Retail Jump (ineed) from Michigan State University
  • Ryze from Texas A&M University
  • Savofair from Syracuse University
  • Spolitic from Syracuse University
  • Swifte from University of Georgia
  • Talk With Sam from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • The Releaf Group from Princeton University
  • Theatre Galleria from New York University
  • TravelSee from Cornell University
  • UNIBEES from University of Texas at Dallas
  • WalkAround VR from Syracuse University
  • Weather General from Texas A&M University
  • WiNot App from Washington University in St. Louis
  • Zealery from Northeastern University

Image: Sam Marley, Daniel Arvidsson, and Daniel Korman, Co-Founders of Blurr

2 Comments ▼

Annie Pilon - Staff Writer


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

2 Reactions

  1. Aira Bongco

    The mind of an entrepreneur starts when they are young. This is really empowering and inspiring.

  2. Sounds like a pretty cool event. Wish I could be there.

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