Never too old to Play in the Sandbox?

August 19th, 2011 by Caroline Scheinfeld View Comments

On August 17, the Syracuse Sandbox, a startup incubator, held their demo day, which was broadcasted live. The sandbox is an ecosystem overflowing with creativity, 71 mentors and 21 teams of entrepreneurs ages 18 to 54. Currently, 9 schools participate in the program but the Sandbox hopes to extend their sponsorship to a myriad of others such as Cornell and RIT. The 12 week long journey prides itself on developing creative ideas by providing applicants with the correct set of tools through coaching, mentoring, access to professionals and investors as well as educational programs.

The Sandbox proves to students, they don’t attend school to obtain a job but to acquire the skills necessary to create their own. With a greater admiration for entrepreneurs, the sexiness of startups was elucidated with a great quote, with a good idea, everybody says they will be the next Mark Zuckerberg. While the startup community is often associated with youth, the sandbox is not just for kids. Men and women of all ages can grab a shovel and brainstorm on the next .com success. The 17 of the 21 teams that pitched were judged by 3 judges.

Here is an overview of the 17 companies that pitched at demo day:


  • A concert booking media company, which strives to revolutionize the music fan experiences by makings fans no longer hostages at live events.
  • Fans and musicians gain value through interactive communication between one another prior to and post concerts

  • An online gallery for college artists of all forms varying from music to photography
  • Portfolios can be viewed, managed and submitted to professors.


  • A new social layer, which enables users to have discussions while browsing, shopping or researching on the web
  • People can engage in real time conversations creating a more interactive twitter-like conversation in their browser sidebar.


  • Users can customize the content of their contact card based on whether they met someone at a bar or at a work event. The person’s contacts are integrated into your phonebook and updated based on any contact change.


  • A platform for users to create social agendas where they potential plans can be uploaded and categorized as going out, staying in or studying. People can decide their course for the evening on one platform versus communicating individually with multiple people.


  • Venuespy provide users with a sneak peak at a venue before attending an event.
  • The service is free, viral an enables venues to have their own promotional channels, which they can manage to their likings.


  • Cansforcause builds solutions to empower users to re-cycle.
  • Depositing incentives aim to perpetuate recycling efforts.

The Front

  • The Front aims to transform abandoned stores in the Syracuse area.
  • Students who wish to put their scholarship into action through revitalizing their community can do so with the Front.


  • A place where agents and all the other tools necessary to achieve celebrity status can be managed.
  • OnePlace can be considered a virtual talent agency.


  • Stampede.It attempts to conquer Groupon issues and powerfully combines group buying and daily deals of digital goods such as e-books and software.
  • The concept lowers companies risks and increases users buying power.


  • AnimAnalysis attempts to improve users personal physiology, athletic performance and leads to a healthier lifestyle.
  • Each user is identified with a specific animal in hopes to better understand the human body.


  • Verve solves a transportation issue with a pre-paid door-to-door 24-hour taxi service.
  • Verve provides students with an alternative to expensive taxis and modes of transportation, which can be deemed unsafe at night. Sharing sites with friends just got easier.


  • Users can highlight, draw and select parts of websites, which they wish to share.
  • Multiple aspects of the site can be simply shared without having to copy and paste URL links in a separate browser.

Proactive Computer Services

  • Proactive Computer Services, provides a variety of services all in one place.
  • The services include: web design, security and project management as well as computer consulting.


  • DownUpDesign is a mobile app and web development company, which constantly has cool projects and even created apps for some of the sites in the sandbox.
  • A few of their projects include: Car Safe, which helps solve the texting while driving issue by setting the airplane mode in phones when driving 15miles/hr or more. Users incentives include accruing points, which lower your car insurance when using the ap. Kickspinner, is a shared photo gallery, which can be synched among multiple devices. Their last project CampusSnaps, lets students know what’s going on at their school.

Helios Medical Technologies

  • Helios Medical Technologies designed a medical device, which concentrates on sterilization in hospitals.
  • The patent pending technology S1 sterilization system prevents cross contamination of door handles using motion sensors.


  • IGetMoreFit syncs iPhones or iPod touches with four wireless fitness sensors (weight scales, heart rate monitors, foot pods and ANT+ multi-sport GPS.
  • People who crave healthy lifestyles can now transform their iPhone or iPod into the ultimate all-in-one fitness computer.

About Jay Levy

Jay Levy

Jay Levy is a co-founder and principal of Zelkova Ventures. Jay focuses most of his time in working with the current portfolio company and looking at new investments in the software-as-a-service, internet media and green tech space. More »


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