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100 days in the books, startups emerge from Syracuse accelerator

Ryan Delaney

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.

"We saw Syracuse as place to blossom and a place that the community would really engage us," said Matthew Sigman, president of Tivity, a social media website that helps users find or start activities like local dodgeball games.  "And that became true throughout the program."

While Syracuse may lag behind New York City, where Tivity is based, Syracuse offered Sigman and his co-founder Jason Scherr plenty of resources.

"From the moment we got here, we were able to talk to the university here, we were able to talk to local business networks, we were able to talk to other incubators," Said Scherr.

StartFast's founders plan on running the accelerator for at least three more summers. The next step for the city will be getting some of the companies to stick around after, hopefully creating a fledgling startup community.

Syracuse's mayor, Stephanie Miner, echoed that sentiment in brief remarks she made to the crowd.

"We are hopeful that many of you will decide, after spending such a beautiful day in Syracuse, that you will locate your companies and your creativity and your talent here in Syracuse and we are available to do that," she said.

WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail
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