LaunchPad and Techstars alum AJ Damiano, co-founder of PowerSpike, to MC #StartupSU

AJ Damiano

AJ Damiano, LaunchPad and Techstars alum, and co-founder of PowerSpike, will event MC  the upcoming Techstars Blackstone LaunchPad Startup Weekend in partnership with Google for Startups on September 20-21 at Syracuse University.

Those who know Damiano also know that he will infuse it with energy, motivation, momentum and wit.  He is a 2018 SU Martin J. Whitman School of Management EEE grad who just raised $1.35 million from investors such as The Sixers Innovation Lab Crafted by Kimball, Techstars Atlanta – in partnership with Cox Enterprises, Dorm Room Fund, and other outside investors.

PowerSpike utilizes innovative marketplace and AI technology to help livestreaming influencers find and develop relationships with potential sponsors and allow brands to sponsor streamers to accelerate business growth with live streaming influencer marketing.  The platform allows streamers to apply to sponsorships from their favorite brands and provides them with a secure method of receiving payment for their work. For brands and marketers, the platform serves as a tool they can use to discover and hire new influencers and save time when communicating and managing existing talent.

Get the schedule and learn more here.

Register here.

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Fast facts about Startup Weekend:

What exactly does taking part in Startup Weekend entail?

On day one, participants will have the opportunity to meet other attendees and pitch their idea, solution, problem or product (if you have one) to the other attendees. Following that, the participants vote on the ideas they liked best based on this pitch event, resulting in teams being formed organically by picking which idea each individual student wants to work on.  The rest of the weekend is devoted to working on your startup idea; including marketing research, building a basic presentation, and creating an authentic pitch. On Saturday evening, teams will have the opportunity to pitch in front of judges, and the winning team will receive a cash prize.

Do I need a business idea to participate?

No, but it is helpful to come with a passion for problems worth solving, and an interest in meeting like-minded innovators.  Come because you want to meet new people, grow your network, learn some more about the exciting world of student startups, and be part of a dynamic creative community.

What does it cost?

The entire weekend is free, including all meals.  Plus, you’ll have the chance to compete for $1,000 in cash prizes.  The first 100 registrants will also get free t-shirts and swag.  All in attendance will also receive a free meal loaded right into their Good Uncle accounts. “The LaunchPad was a major part of Good Uncle’s original launch, and the partnership has continued as Good Uncle returns for its fourth year,” said Dylan Gans ’18 (Whitman), director of Business Development at Good Uncle, and former Dorm Room Fund campus ambassador at the LaunchPad. “We’re excited to partner on this event to fuel new startups at Syracuse University.”

How do I register?

Registration is going fast.  To sign up for the event, visit:

What do I need to bring to Startup Weekend?

Your brain, your energy and appetite (for food, ideas, and meeting new people).

Also helpful to bring:

  • Laptop and power cord
  • Phone and charger (taking photos and videos, and sharing on social media encouraged!)
  • Camera, for even better photos and videos to capture the event
  • Any other technology that makes you happy and productive

How do I prepare?

Spread the word to friends.  It’s is fun to come in a group. Use the hashtags to promote it. Get familiar how a weekend works.  Head over to

What will teams be judged on?

While there are no specific requirements in terms of what teams should have accomplished by the competition, it’s a good idea to plan execution around what you’ll be judged on.

  • Validation (did you test your problem and solution?)
  • Execution and Design (does your plan to solve it make sense?)
  • Business Model (can you pull this off, with support from the Syracuse innovation ecosystem?)

As far as presenting goes, some of the most common presentations include any combination of the following (in no particular order):

  • Wireframes or mock ups for a technology idea
  • Slide decks (Powerpoint, Keynote, Prezi, etc.)
  • Short video
  • Live demo
  • Skit