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SU and SUNY-ESF student entrepreneurs shine in NYS Business Plan Competition

April 27, 2012

Stacey Keefe
(315) 443-7086

On April 26, 15 teams from Syracuse University and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry competed in the 2012 New York State Business Plan Competition (NYSBPC). Student startups from around the state competed for more than $150,000 in prizes before a judging panel of more than 30 regional and national venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers and seasoned entrepreneurs. The NYSBPC is one of the largest collegiate business competitions in the country.

 This year, SU was a title sponsor for the event.

“Our students were competing against very advanced technologies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Cornell and the Albany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering,” says Bruce Kingma, SU’s associate provost of entrepreneurship and innovation. “Our students were well prepared and I’m proud of how well they did in the competition.”

There were four competition tracks: products/services, information technology/software, cleantech/sustainability/nanotech/high-tech, and health care/social/nonprofit.

The first round of the competition, in which 105 student teams participated, featured two-minute elevator pitches. The top 20 teams were selected to participate in the afternoon finals, in which five teams per track pitched for 10 minutes, with 5 minutes of questions from judges. Four SU/SUNY-ESF teams made it to the finals.

“I’m so grateful for all of the support for SU student entrepreneurs,” says Keisuke Inoue, iSchool Ph.D. candidate and founder of PsyQic. “Having seen many students from all over the state at this competition, it was obvious that the SU teams were prepared. We have opportunities like the Student Sandbox, Emerging Talk and the RvD IDEA Awards, the Panasci Business Plan Competition, courses like “What’s the Big Idea” and “Idea2Startup,” and Enitiative. I am proud to be an SU entrepreneur.”

The winning teams from SU and SUNY-ESF are:

ShowCode, a software application that will provide architects, contractors, builders and engineers with real-time building code analysis for computer-generated models, created by Nathan Aleskovsky (SU, master’s in entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises) and Michael Holborn (Yale University, master’s of architecture), first place in the IT/software track;

PsyQic, a mobile/web service that allows people to exchange questions and predictions about the future on various topics, created by Keisuke Inoue (SU, iSchool Ph.D. candidate) and Bin Zhu (SU, master’s in information management), second place in the IT/software track;

Full Circle Pellets, which will curb greenhouse gas emissions, reduce demand on the world’s oceans, and develop a zero-waste food production operation by creating pellets from food scraps and using them for fish feed and other animal food products, created by Michael Amadori (SUNY-ESF, master’s in ecological engineering), second place in the cleantech/sustainability/nanotech/high-tech track.

First place teams receive $10,000 cash and more than $2,000 of in-kind services, and second place teams receive $5,000 cash.

In March, PsyQic and ShowCode each won a $2,000 RvD IDEA Award and Full Circle Pellet received a $10,000 RvD IDEA Award. PsyQic was also awarded the Goldberg Prize for Technology & Innovation at the 2012 Panasci Business Plan Competition at SU’s Whitman School of Management.

More information on these student ventures, as well as others at SU and SUNY-ESF, can be found at

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