StartFast

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

One-hundred long days full of presentations, meetings with mentors and practicing investor pitches is all done.

The first-ever StartFast Venture Accelerator concluded Thursday morning with its Demo Day.

"Saying it was all hard would be an understatement," said Timothy Beckford, a founder of PadProof, a program to help professional photographers sell their pictures more easily. "It was a tremendous undertaking. We worked like crazy."

Nine companies entered StartFast back in May, but only eight made it through. The teams were given seed money, workspace and access to dozens of mentors.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

It was his 22-year-old niece that gave Amir Cohen the inspiration to quit his job working in Israel's tech sector and start his own company.

Every time she gets in a taxicab in Israel she has her cell phone in-hand, ready to call her father in case of an emergency.

"This was the original trigger," Cohen recalls. "Letting people feel safer and be safer on their daily routine - when they're going to a party, getting in a taxi, whatever."

The end product: a smartphone app called Guard My Angel that allows users to pre-program a list of emergency contacts. If you feel threatened or are in an accident, an alert is sent out with your location.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

When the first StartFast Venture Accelerator begins this morning in Syracuse, the clock will start ticking for nine startups hoping to turn their big idea into a profit maker.

Modeled off of similar accelerators around the country, the teams have 100 days to soak up as much advice and support as they can. They're also given seed money and workspace.

StartFast is the creation of two local entrepreneurs, Chuck Stormon and Nasir Ali. In return for the investment and admittance into the program, Stormon and Ali get a small stake in the company.