By: J.D. Ross
Two student ventures that spent their summer in the Syracuse Student Sandbox incubator pitched their business plans in front of an audience of community entrepreneurs and backers on Tuesday, competing for $200,000 in prizes in the Syracuse Startup Labs compeititon.
Student teams Regattable and Centscere delivered their pitches in a crowded conference room at Eric Mower and Associates, one of the competition’s sponsors. A third team, Rochester-based Crowsnest, also presented.
A separate pitch will be made to judges in the coming weeks, and the Startup Labs winner will be announced in April. The top prize includes $150,000 in funding, and $50,000 worth of advertising services.
The three teams were picked from over 560 applicants, and were announced at a Startup Labs event earlier this month. Teams spent the past three weeks quickly finishing the build out of their products and offerings at their temporary office spaces in the Tech Garden.
Regattable is creating high-performance portable catamaran sailboats that fold down to two briefcase-sized packages. They had a full-scale model of their sailboat on display in the lobby at the event. Their finalist status with Startup Labs earned them $20,000 in seed funding that they used to help construct their mockup.
Centscere allows social media users to donate a portion of their online activity to different charities. Users can attach a donation amount to each Tweet they send on Twitter, Facebook Like, and/or status update they write.
Both companies spent the summer of 2013 going through the Student Sandbox incubator. The twelve-week program provides student companies with the opportunity to tap into valuable mentorship resources and gain seed funding.
The Tech Garden is the host for the Syracuse Startup Labs program. This is the second year that Startup Labs has held a competition in Syracuse, and Syracuse is the only U.S. city to have the program.