SU alumnus Josh Aviv wins the global prize at the California Climate Cup

Josh Aviv at the California Climate Cup

Syracuse University alumnus Josh Aviv G ’17 (M.S. Information Management), ’16 (C.A.S. Data Science) and ’15 (A.S., Economics),  founder and CEO of SparkCharge, recently won the $25,000 top prize in the 2019 California Climate Cup global competition.

The global competition, sponsored by the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) and New Energy Nexus, is designed to identify the most promising global startups in clean energy, the energy/transportation nexus, and zero emissions transportation.

Following semi-final competitions in Los Angeles and the Silicon Valley, finalists pitched their solutions at the Sacramento State Capitol Building before a panel of expert judges and an audience of key climate policy decision makers, and local, state, and world leaders, where Aviv was selected as global champion.

SparkCharge developed a ground-breaking a portable charger which is small enough to fit in the trunk of a car, and charges electric vehicle batteries at level 3 speed, giving drivers one mile for every 60 seconds.

Aviv launched the company as a student startup at Syracuse University, and since graduation has gone on to become a dynamic figure in the cleantech community.

As a student, Josh won the grand prize in the New York Business Plan Competition, as well as top honors in more than seven business competitions while earning his degrees from Syracuse University. Most recently, he won the top prize of $1 million at 43North, a Buffalo, New York-based startup competition, receiving his trophy from New York Lieutenant Governor and SU alumna Kathy Hochul ’80 at the 43North awards ceremony.

Aviv credits the initial idea for his company, in part, to his undergraduate experience at Syracuse University. His original business idea centered on stationary charging units for electric vehicles, and Aviv donated a set of his early prototype chargers to SU in 2017. He then refined his concept through graduate course work at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool), intensive entrepreneurship support and coaching from the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries, and with technical assistance from the Syracuse University Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE). While in graduate school, he also served as a part-time Entrepreneur in Residence in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management’s Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship.

After graduation, he continued to work with Syracuse University’s LaunchPad, and was accepted into the prestigious Techstars accelerator program in Boston. He is currently launching his company out of the 43North offices in Buffalo, working with an Upstate New York supply chain. The company’s engineering operations are based out of Greentown Labs in Somerville, Massachusetts, a Boston-based facility that is the world’s largest cleantech incubator. He also has a residency at the Plug and Play Tech Center, a renowned industry-focused accelerator program in the Silicon Valley.

SparkCharge officially launched its first charging unit last month at Greentown Labs Demo Day.

Working with the Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad, he has continued to dominate cleantech pitch competitions on global and national stages.

Aviv is a member of the LaunchPad’s Founders Circle, and serves as an active mentor for current Syracuse University student startups.