Experts in product development, marketing and sales, new venture development and structuring for financing and investment will be joining the LaunchPad this fall as our Alumni Entrepreneurs in Residence team. They are:
Steven VonDeak is a 2008 graduate of the Syracuse University College of Law. He is co-founder and chief of staff at Density, a high-tech company that uses powerful sensors, combined with state-of-the-art depth data, computer vision and deep learning to measure space density in real time. Founded in 2014 in The Tech Garden, Density now has offices in San Francisco, New York City, and Syracuse, employing more than 50 people. The venture has closed on more than $90 million in external funding. VonDeak became an entrepreneur in the Tech Garden shortly after graduating from SU Law School. Along with partners, he created App Fury, which launched early iOS apps that were noticed by Apple. He then joined forces with another team to create Rounded, a digital product team that went on to create Density. VonDeak will be holding virtual office hours to mentor students on product development and business model creation. He is also available by e-mail and phone consultation.
Michael Gursha is a 2010 graduate with a dual degree from both the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. He is chairman and CEO of Rookie Road, Inc., a one of a kind digital destination that provides the rules, lingo, and gameplay for a variety of sports in an easy to understand way. He became CEO in 2016 after serving as a special advisor to the founder. Before Joining Rookie Road, Inc., he was inaugural entrepreneur-in-residence at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University where he also co-taught a course called New Ventures in Media. Prior to Newhouse, he was the vice president of strategic initiatives at Curemark, LLC, a New York-based biotechnology company focused on the treatment of neurological disorders. Earlier in his career, his interest in technology led him to Google, where, at age 18, he spent two summers working in the new business development group at the Mountain View, California headquarters. During his time there, he assisted the team responsible for improving the Google Search Index and supported the director of business development on early-stage partnerships for Google Health. He serves on the board of directors for America On Tech a non-profit focused on technology education. Gursha is a member of the advisory board for Oregon Public Broadcasting, the primary television and radio public broadcasting network for the state of Oregon and southern Washington. In addition, he serves on the board of directors for PowerSpike, a private venture backed company started by Syracuse University alumni when they were students. Gursha is an active advisor to early stage technology / media companies and has been actively engaged in the Syracuse University student startup scene as a mentor and also as a judge for numerous business plan competitions. He is available by appointment for virtual coaching and mentoring.
Josh Aviv is a 2015 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in economics and 2017 graduate with a master’s degree in information management and data science. He is founder and CEO of SparkCharge, a venture he founded as a student working with the LaunchPad. A certified data scientist, he is a dynamic figure in the cleantech community. SparkCharge is revolutionizing the electric vehicle industry with its portable, ultrafast EV charging units that have been featured in major technology and clean energy publications. As a student, he won top honors in campus, statewide and national business competitions and then captured the top $1 million prize at 43North, as well as the California Climate Cup, Startup Fest’s global pitch competition, and Plug and Play’s clean energy innovation award. He has been featured at the Consumer Electronics Show and TechCrunch most recently named Spark Charge as a top tech disruptor. A graduate of the Techstars accelerator program in Boston, he has held residencies at Greentown Labs in Somerville, Massachusetts, the world’s largest clean-tech incubator, and the Plug and Play Tech Center in the Silicon Valley. SparkCharge recently closed on several million dollars in seed funding and is now based in the Boston area with a manufacturing operation in Buffalo, NY. He is available by appointment for virtual coaching and mentoring.
Corey Lieblein is a 1993 graduate of the Syracuse University School of Human Development (now Falk College). He is founder and CEO of CP8 Capital, a dynamic, extreme value-add private equity firm that focuses on acquiring and growing early-stage consumer products companies. Through its vast resources, CP8 helps its portfolio companies scale rapidly. He founded Innovative Technology/Victrola in 2004 and served as CEO for 16 years, overseeing Victrola’s growth from concept to the worldwide market leader in record players and nostalgic electronics. During that time, Corey built Innovative Technology/Victrola into a nationally recognized brand whose products have found their way into tens of millions of homes throughout North America. His mission is to help founders of early stage consumer products companies realize their personal and financial dreams by scaling sales and profits exponentially. He has a deep passion for entrepreneurship, product development and sales and loves working with early-stage entrepreneurs to help them scale from obscurity to national recognition. He will be available for virtual mentoring and coaching for high-value fast-growth ventures and will also participate in-person sessions and workshops when visiting campus.
To schedule appointments, please e-mail the LaunchPad, LaunchPad@syr.edu