EAST LANSING (WWJ) — The Michigan State University student startup team CarbonCash is one of the “Entrepreneurial Eight,” selected for the finals of the Student Startup Madness tournament, an official partner program of South By Southwest Interactive.

One team from each of six SSM regions — Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Great Lakes, Midwest and Southwest — along with two at-large teams, make up the eight finalists. Student startups will meet in Austin, Texas at SXSW’s Startup Village in the downtown Hilton Hotel on Monday, March 10 to pitch before a judging panel of successful entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and investors who can help them transform their ideas into business success.

Carbon Cash is an app for college students to track their electricity use, compete with their peers, and be rewarded for using electricity responsibly. Students save money on their favorite products, universities save money on electricity, retailers receive more customers, and the environment benefits from a reduced CO2 footprint. Carbon Cash is Bernie Eisbrenner, environmental economics junior, Pat Schmitz, finance junior, and Jon Bauer, computer science senior.

MSU is the only returning university from last year’s finals, and MSU startup team Tempo Run won the 2013 competition.

“After last year’s win, it’s exciting to have another strong team of students ready to compete on a national stage,” shared Paul Jaques, director of student and community engagement at Spartan Innovations. “The energy behind MSU’s student Hatch and entrepreneurship at MSU speaks volumes about the talent in our community, and ability to launch innovative businesses and projects that can compete in today’s global economy.”

The Hatch is a student business incubator on Grand River Avenue in downtown East Lansing. It’s sponsored by Michigan State University Federal Credit Union and operated by MSU, the regional economic development agency Lansing Economic Area Partnerhip, East Lansing city government, and Spartan Innovations at the MSU Innovation Center.

This space hosts, accelerates, cultivates and enables student entrepreneurs to grow their ideas through a creative, co-working environment. By sharing a common workspace, members work on their own business ventures while collaborating with other students to increase the probability of each venture’s success.

Student Startup Madness is the only nationwide collegiate tournament that focuses on digital media startups. College teams compete against fellow student entrepreneurs, gain attention of potential investors, and build a strong, national network. SSM is 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, Saint Louis University in the Midwest, Michigan State University in the Great Lakes and The University of Texas at Austin in the Southwest.

The MSU Innovation Center combines innovation, technology transfer, start-up support, and a portfolio of dedicated business and community partnerships to bring cutting-edge ideas to the marketplace. Composed of MSU Technologies, Business-Connect and Spartan Innovations, the MSU Innovation Center stewards ideas from concept to product, launching more than 120 discoveries into patented products and start-up businesses a year. Learn more at http://innovationcenter.msu.edu.


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