tech garden

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

A new startup competition with a global profile is underway in Syracuse - its first U.S. location.

The five teams taking part in Startup Labs - all from New York state -  were announced Monday afternoon. They'll spend about three weeks (22 days, to be exact) working out of free office space at the city's Technology Garden incubator and networking with investors.

"The whole idea is to sort of work with the companies to get [them] through hiccups," says Mitchell Patterson, who helps run the Tech Garden.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Microphone in hand, hopeful entrepreneurs began their pitches: a more portable sailboat?, a social network for food lovers?, a way to track when the next bus is coming?

Sixty seconds is all the time they have. Once the digital timer starts beeping, time is up and all they can do is the hope you've convinced enough people to jump on your startup idea bandwagon.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

It’s a Friday afternoon at the Technology Garden, a business incubator in Syracuse. The dozen-or-so staff members of software design company Rounded Development are sitting around on couches, chowing on Dinosaur Barbeque take-out and chatting up ideas for new products.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Thirty-four teams got coaching from 115 mentors for three months in the Student Sandbox. Fifteen of those teams made it to Demo Day.

The Sandbox, a startup business accelerator for college students and recent graduates, wrapped up for the summer on Thursday.

Company founders presented their ideas and business platforms to a packed room of fellow startups and potential investors.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Four years ago, Erick Cleckner was sitting next to his friend, Dave Chenell, in a class at Syracuse University. But they weren't exactly paying attention.

"[We were] just drawing in our notebooks instead of taking notes," remembers Cleckner. "And we were arguing about whose drawing would win a fight."

Their debate about whose character would triumph didn't end when class was dismissed. Cleckner and Chenell started working on a digital battlefield where their sketches could actually engage in battle.