Notefuly from Seton Hall University wins 2013-14 National Student Startup Madness Finals at SXSW

3/12/2014 1:26:00 PM

Student startup teams from Seton Hall University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Southern California are top three finalists, with Seton Hall's Notefuly named the champion

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Contact: Sean Branagan

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Notefuly - a venture of Seton Hall University students, led by Taseen Peterson, along with Mark Peterson and Cameron Smith—is the winner of the Student Startup Madness (SSM) 2013-14 National Championship Finals at the South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. Teams of students from eight different universities in the SSM finals pitched their ventures to a world-class judging panel of entrepreneurs, investors and technologists as a partner program of SXSW's Startup Village.

Notefuly is a cloud-based productivity tool and mobile application that allows you to capture, share, communicate and collaborate on bite-sized pieces of information and memories across all of your digital devices, bridging the gap between the traditional sticky note and the digital world. In second place is StylePuzzle from the University of Illinois, a mobile app that provides personalized daily outfit recommendations for users based on their own clothes. In third place is Find My Song from the University of Southern California, an online collaborative platform for music that combines networking, project management and copyright management in one central platform.

"The prestige of being one of America's best college startups" is a key benefit to winning, says Taseen Peterson of Notefuly.

"The judges were tough, but the teams rose to the challenge," says Sean Branagan, SSM founder and director of the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. “The teams were prepared and well-coached as part of our tournament process, and they impressed the crowd with answers to hard investor questions.”

After the event, one judge, Sandy Khaund of Turner Broadcasting's Media Camp quoted a mentor of his who once said: "Fight like you're right, but listen like you're wrong." It was a good lesson from the three-hour event.

"The poise of these young entrepreneurs was inspiring and amazing," Branagan says, "handling tough questions from big-time investors, on stage at South By Southwest, and with a packed room of competitors and fans. This is big-league stuff."

SSM's "Entrepreneurial Eight" Finals were held Monday, March 10, in the Hilton Hotel in downtown Austin. Emcee and judge Melinda Emerson (best known on twitter as "@SmallBizLady") brought both humor and insights to the event, often breaking the tension in the highly competitive atmosphere.

The Finals

The top vote-getter—Notefuly—was named the Student Startup Madness 2013-14 National Champion and was awarded the SSM Rocket Trophy with all the bragging rights for the team and Seton Hall University.

Each of the top three teams received $5,000 of credits for Google Cloud Platform (; Cloud Platform allows startups to build, deploy and run web applications and mobile app backends in the cloud, without having to worry about infrastructure or scalability.

Judges for the event were:

  • Brian Cohen, chairman of New York Angels and first investor in Pinterest
  • Melinda Emerson, president/founder of Quintessence Multimedia
  • Sandy Khaund, senior director of emerging technologies for Turner Broadcasting
  • Howard Nirken, attorney at DuBois, Bryant & Campbell, experienced in startups and IP (who replaced Patrick Ambron, co-founder/CEO of, who was sick in New York City)

About the Runners Up

StylePuzzle – A mobile app that provides personalized daily outfit recommendations for users based on their own clothes. It offers users a convenient tool to discover their styles and make dressing decisions, as well as a better platform for social shopping. [Contact Liz Li,, or visit]

Find My Song – An online collaborative platform for music that combines networking, project management and copyright management in one central platform in order to help music makers create music more effectively from anywhere in the world. [Contact Vincent Fong,, or visit]


A NOTABLE SIDESTORY: At the final hour, one of the Entrepreneurial Eight teams (Million Dollar Scholar) had to drop out because of a death in the family. The official alternate team, uCal, from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, was notified only three days before the event, stepped in and pitched without a bump in the programming.

uCal – A web, desktop and mobile application company founded based on the belief that an easier alternative to organization can exist and flourish in our world of constantly changing due dates and information. We're here to make life—Simply. Organized. [Contact Laura Marie Carroll,, or visit]


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. Syracuse University is the organizing institution for this year’s national tournament.

Student Startup Madness is supported by generous corporate sponsors Turner Broadcasting’s Media Camp (a Premier Sponsor), Evernote (a Premier Sponsor), Google Developers, TriNet and the Newhouse School at Syracuse University—with help from other organizations that work with early-stage college-based ventures, including Dorm Room Fund, 3 Day Startup, Elite Daily and TheNextZuck.

The tournament has been promoted and supported by six anchor universities in six regions across the country: Syracuse University in the Northeast, Bucknell University in the Mid-Atlantic, Georgia State University in the Southeast, Michigan State University in the Great Lakes, Saint Louis University in the Midwest and The University of Texas at Austin in the Southwest.

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 was selected as a SXSW Partner Program and invited into the main venue of SXSW Startup Village.

For more on Student Startup Madness, visit the website (, see us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter: @StartupMad.