In the lobby of the historic Syracuse Trust Building in downtown - currently under renovation - a bunch of people gathered on Thursday afternoon to hear the ideas of some startup businesses. The location was picked to show off two parts of Syracuse on the up-and-up: its downtown and its startup scene.
The event was the culmination of the first ever Startup Labs competition held in Syracuse - and the whole USA, for that matter.
Five teams spent three weeks at the Syracuse Technology Garden working with area businesses and mentors. And they made some progress.
"We’ve increased our sales pipeline. We’ve done a number of things with our launch store in Ithaca. We’ve increased our user count by 30 percent to over 1,220 users," explained Nick Nickitas; CEO of Rosie, an online grocery service, "So it’s been a terrific three weeks."
Rosie is based in Ithaca and was formed by Cornell University students. All five teams are from New York:
- Full Circle Feed (Syracuse): Full Circle Feed is a former Student Sandbox company that takes nutritionally-dense food leftovers from dining halls and processes them into dog treats.
- SnagMobile LLC (Delmar): SnagMobile makes it convenient to get food and drinks at live events with its mobile app. You order and pay with a credit card without having to leave your seat.
- Pretty Padded Room (New York City): Pretty Padded Room Provides online therapy to men and women on their own schedule and in their own space.
- Rosie (Ithaca): Rosie saves customers time, money, and stress by predicting household items they need before they run out, and orders them at the lowest price.
- Yorango Inc. (Ithaca): Yorango is an alternative to existing classifieds sites. The unique platform allows landlords and renters the ability to easily manage and monetize their spaces.
"It’s inspiring to work in an area with tons of other entrepreneurs in a part of the city that’s really growing and expanding, so we really enjoyed every minute of it," Nickitas said.
The incubation period may be over and their products demonstrated, but the teams don't know yet if they've won the $200,000 on the line. A winner won't be announced until April.
In the meantime, they'll have to be careful not to let their guard down. Judges will be keeping an eye on them to make sure they don't slack off.