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, will be hosting two Fireside Chats on Friday, September 13 as part of Orange Central alumni weekend activities.
Aviv will be sharing his journey, from starting, to selling and scaling, and offering insight into how to mobilize resources to take an idea from concept to commercialization. The chats will be at 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars (LaunchPad), located at the first floor of Bird Library. Both chats are open to all, free of charge.
Aviv launched SparkCharge as a student startup at Syracuse University, and since graduation has become a dynamic figure in the cleantech community. SparkCharge makes portable and ultrafast charging units for electric vehicles, and is creating a more efficient and connected world of transportation by providing solutions for electric vehicle to be charged anytime and anywhere. The company has been featured in major tech and clean energy publications, and won numerous awards.
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. While at Syracuse, he worked closely with the LaunchPad on his product and business roadmap, and then incubated his company to continue R&D prototyping at the Syracuse Center of Excellence (CoE).
After graduation, 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. He was also the recipient of a NYS FuzeHub Commercialization Competition award.
He has since gone on to win the California Climate Cup, Startup Fest’s global pitch competition, and Plug and Play’s clean energy innovation award. TechCrunch most recently named Spark Charge as a top tech disruptor.
He has raised millions in funding rounds from investors, and has launched sales and early manufacturing.
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 LaunchPad, and technical assistance from the CoE.
After graduation, he was accepted into the prestigious Techstars accelerator program in Boston, where he received industry attention, as well as significant seed investments from capital firms in the Boston area. He is now launching his company out of 43North in Buffalo, and starting full manufacturing operations in western New York. The company’s engineering division is at Greentown Labs in Somerville, Massachusetts, a Boston-based facility that is the world’s largest cleantech incubator. SparkCharge also has a residency at the Plug and Play Tech Center, a renowned industry-focused accelerator program in the Silicon Valley.
Working with Syracuse University’s innovation ecosystem, and with industry and economic development partners, SparkCharge launched its first charging unit this year, 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. SparkCharge officially unveiled its product release at a June 2019 Demo Day at Greentown Labs, attended by government, industry leaders and investors.
Since graduation, Aviv has continued to work with the LaunchPad on closing significant investments in the company, and has dominated cleantech pitch competitions on the national stage.
Aviv is a member of the LaunchPad’s Founders Circle, and serves as an active mentor for current Syracuse University student startups.
To learn more, or reserve a spot, e-mail LaunchPad@syr.edu