By: Diane Stirling
(315) 443-8975

Two tech companies founded by School of Information Studies (iSchool) students are among 30 from the Central New York region, including two other Syracuse Student Sandbox participants, to advance to the second round in the new Startup Labs Syracuse business competition.

The companies are:

  • RentCuse(Andrew Bauer, a senior Information Technology and Management student), an online site that radically changes off-campus renting, making it as simple as possible by helping with the entire process, from search through move-in;
  • Psyqic, (Keisuke Inoue, Ph.D. student)­­­­­, a mobile app and web-based service that  allows users to make predictions about current events and compete against their friends on social networks to see who makes the most accurate predictions.

Also being advanced in this first round of competition are two teams from the Syracuse Student Sandbox:

  • Scrapsulea personal application that automatically stores and organizes your digital memories and experiences (SU gradates Dee Carter and Heather Rinder)
  • Full Circle Feed, reducing the costs for companies disposing food, saving money for local animal farmers, and creating local manufacturing (Michael Amadori).

Inoue, of PsyQic, was pleased to hear that his company was advanced to the next competitive round out of close to 90 or more applicants, he said. “We are very excited to be part of the competition, knowing the growth of the entrepreneurship in the area and the large pool of applicants for Startup Labs. We think the competition will be tough, but we will be ready,” He said PsyQic is “working on an exciting new feature, which we plan to announce at the pitch event.”

Bauer noted how his Student Sandbox experience has been an advantage. “We spent last semester in the Sandbox, working to tweak some of the things we've been working towards. The experience from that has been invaluable to us in moving forward with the business. We're hoping to become the primary source of information for renters. What sets this apart from a traditional rental listing is that these profiles will be available 100% of the time.”

In the next phase, five teams will be selected from among the current 30 for the next stage, which includes a $30,000 initial investment, six months of office space at the Tech Garden, and immersion in a five-day boot camp then an intensive, 22-day program this coming January and February.  

From there, the five teams will later pitch in a demo day competition, vying for the top prize of $150,000 in cash plus $50,000 worth of branding and marketing services. 

Syracuse is the first U.S. city to partner with Startup Labs, and only five other cities worldwide have hosted the program: Istanbul; Taipei; Mexico City; Rio de Janeiro; and New Delhi.

Startup Labs is a global seed-stage investment fund, focused on emerging markets and co-investing with the top local investors in respective markets while operating post-investment bootcamps with top mentors. In Syracuse, the company has partnered with CenterState CEO, the Syracuse Tech Garden, and a number of major area companies as financial sponsors, helping validate the teams and their business models to later- stage investors.