Syracuse University student venture captures top prize in international innovation competition

Josh Aviv, co-founder and CEO of SparkCharge, won grand prize at the Blackstone/Techstars global venture pitch competition in New York City on October 18.

The competition came at the conclusion of a two-day Blackstone/Techstars Training Camp, an innovative new program for collegiate entrepreneurs that featured a keynote on October 16 by Stephen A. Schwarzman, chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Blackstone. Schwarzman is an active philanthropist with a history of supporting education and entrepreneurship. This intensive boot camp brought together program staff and the 40 top performing teams from the 20 Blackstone LaunchPads across the U.S. and Ireland for workshops with experts and mentors from Techstars and the Blackstone Group.

Josh Aviv, co-founder and CEO of SparkCharge, and Angelo “AJ” Damiano, founder of PowerSpike, were the two Syracuse University student entrepreneurs selected to attend the two days of workshops and mentoring. David Seaman, dean of libraries, Linda Hartsock (executive director) and Braden Croy (program manager) of the Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad were actively involved in the event and were joined by SU alumni based in New York City for the final pitch competition.

Seven finalist companies were selected by Blackstone and Techstars experts to participate in the culminating pitchfest, where each presenter had three minutes to describe their services and business plans, followed by two minutes of questions from the judges.  The winners were selected by audience vote, which included Blackstone LaunchPad teams and staff, Techstar founders and program managers, Blackstone Group mentors and investors, and invited guests from the 20 Blackstone LaunchPad campuses.

Syracuse University’s Aviv won the $15,000 grand prize for SparkCharge’s ultrafast, portable charging stations for electric vehicles that fit in the trunk of a car. He also won an expenses paid trip to Techstars Foundercon in Oakland, CA in October.  Second prize went to ApisProtect of University College Cork, Ireland, and third prize to Zorin OS of Trinity College, Dublin.

“SparkCharge’s success is testament to the power of the Syracuse University entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem, and it was a delight to watch the professionalism with which Josh presented his company and represented our university, and the enthusiastic reception he received from an audience of peers and experts,” said David Seaman, dean of the Syracuse University Libraries and PI for the Blackstone LaunchPad program.

Josh received early and continued support from the faculty in the iSchool’s minor in Information Technology, Design, and Startups (IDS), and from the professional mentors in the Syracuse Student Sandbox.  He has made full use of the services of the Blackstone LaunchPad in Bird Library since it opened last year, and now serves as Entrepreneur in Residence for the Couri Hatchery in the Falcone Center, Whitman School of Management.  His research and development offices are located at the Syracuse CoE, where he is creating two Syracuse CoE Fellows positions for students who are interested in exploring renewable technologies and energy systems.  Aviv holds two degrees from Syracuse University, a master’s degree in information management from the iSchool (2017), and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Maxwell School (2015).

“The opportunity to interact with Techstars founders and program managers was priceless, as was connecting with experts who are part of Blackstone’s unparalleled global network,” said Aviv.  “This opened doors that will accelerate our growth trajectory, and winning this competition will help us more rapidly scale.  It builds on the solid startup foundation we received through Syracuse University’s amazing innovation ecosystem.”

SparkCharge will use the funds toward testing and certification of its EV battery-pack charging unit, to move from prototype to first-run manufacturing.  The company employs five, three of whom are Syracuse University alumni, and one is a Syracuse University student.  Aviv has now raised $135,000 for his venture, and was the recent grand prizewinner of the New York State Business Plan Competition, also winning first place in the clean technology division.  He is also a winner of the Panasci Plan Competition and the RvD iPrize, as well as the Syracuse CoE Innovation Fund.

The Blackstone LaunchPad is a campus-based entrepreneurship program founded by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.  The program leverages the resources and intellectual capital of Blackstone, empowering entrepreneurs, generating job growth, and supporting local communities.  The Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University is part of SU Libraries, and helps faculty, staff, students and alumni develop entrepreneurial skills to achieve success in whatever venture or career path they pursue.

 Techstars is a worldwide network that inspires, educates and connects entrepreneurs, accelerating innovation and startup activity.  The Techstars accelerator portfolio includes more than 1,000 companies with a market cap of $10.2 billion.

Additional Resources for Review

Syracuse University Libraries welcomes feedback about the following resources for which we currently have trial access. Faculty, staff, and student feedback is an important part of our evaluation process and we welcome your comments, particularly about how a specific resource would support your research and/or the curriculum of your school or college. Send feedback to the collections team at colls@syr.edu. Please be aware that we are exploring these resources for future consideration, and there is no guarantee that we will be able to subscribe, especially within a specific timeframe.

Bloomsbury Food Library offers access to a broad and expanding range of encyclopedias, references works, e-books, images, and more. (Available through 11/29/17)

Gallup Analytics allows users to analyze, visualize, and export data from Gallup’s U.S. Daily tracking, World Poll and Social surveys. (Available through 11/18/17)

IBISWorld Procurement Research provides reports on suppliers, pricing, and negotiation for products and services, using Porter’s Five Forces and including a SWOT analysis in each report. Access is available on the existing IBISWorld platform. (Available through 11/09/17)

IMF eLibrary includes periodicals, books, working papers, studies, data, and statistical tools related to macroeconomics, globalization, development, trade and aid, technical assistance, demographics, emerging markets, policy advice, and poverty reduction. (Available through 11/18/17)

Marketline Advantage Tenders & Contracts is a module covering procurement and business intelligence database that has been temporarily activated within MarketLine Advantage. To access, selected databases and scroll down to Tenders & Contracts. (Available through 10/25/17)

Please note: Limited on-campus access to these resources are provided by the vendors for the purpose of evaluating their usefulness and potential value to the SU community. Please see the SU Libraries policy on access to licensed resources.

AIAS/ARR Fall Book Club event

Ms. Keiko Ogura (Photo Credit: Darrell Miho)

The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) and the Architecture Reading Room present their fall book club event on Sunday, October 22 at 6 p.m. in the Slocum Hall Auditorium. It will feature the screening of two short films: “After Hiroshima Mon Amour” by Silvia Kolbowski and “Let Me Count the Ways” by Leslie Thornton. An informal discussion will follow the screening.

These films are being shown as part of “That Day Now”, a special series of events at Syracuse University revolving around the visit of Ms. Keiko Ogura, a survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bomb blast, storyteller, and peace advocate. This will also be the first opportunity on campus to see and hear Ms. Ogura.

Light refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Barbara Opar at baopar@syr.edu.

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Potential Resources for Review in October

Syracuse University Libraries welcomes feedback about the following resources for which we currently have trial access through the end of October 2017. Faculty, staff, and student feedback is an important part of our evaluation process and we welcome your comments, particularly about how a specific resource would support your research and/or the curriculum of your school or college. Send feedback to the collections team at colls@syr.edu. Please be aware that we are exploring these resources for future consideration, and there is no guarantee that we will be able to subscribe, especially within a specific timeframe.

Life Magazine Archive presents an extensive collection of the famed photojournalism magazine, spanning its very first issue in November 1936 through December 2000 in a comprehensive cover-to-cover format.

NoveList Plus provides reading recommendations, reviews, and more for many genres.

Performance Design Archive Online includes primary and secondary sources related to all aspects of performance. Includes sketches, technical drawings, instructional video and more, in partnership with USITT, designer archives, and more.

Stationers’ Company Archive includes book trade records of the Stationers’ Company and the development of publishing in England, over 600 years. Includes related images and ephemera.

Shakespeare in Performance includes promptbooks from the Folder Shakespeare Library, photographs, costume design, scores and more.

Churchill Archive includes documents related to Winston Churchill from 1874-1965, including correspondence and official communications.

Literature Resource Center offers information about authors and their works, including entries from Contemporary Authors and the Dictionary of Literary Biography.

Please note: Limited on-campus access to these resources are provided by the vendors for the purpose of evaluating their usefulness and potential value to the SU community. Please see the SU Libraries policy on access to licensed resources.

JoVE Unlimited Trial

Trial access to JoVE Unlimited is currently available.

JoVE, the Journal of Visualized Experiments, is a peer reviewed scientific video journal. JoVE is devoted to publishing scientific research in a visual format to help researchers overcome two of the biggest challenges facing the scientific research community today; poor reproducibility and the time and labor intensive nature of learning new experimental techniques. Syracuse University Libraries currently provides access to Biology, Bioengineering, Neuroscience, Basic Methods in Cellular and Molecular Biology, General Laboratory Techniques, and Essentials of Neuroscience. For a limited time, we are providing access to all journal titles.

Faculty, staff, and student feedback is an important part of our evaluation process and we welcome your comments. Please send them to Anne Rauh at aerauh@syr.edu.

Trial access is available through October 31, 2017.

Please note: Limited access to this resource is provided by the vendor for the purpose of evaluating its usefulness and potential value to the SU community.

Please see the SU Libraries policy on access to licensed resources.