Patrick Linehan ’21 with AJ Damiano ’18 on finding focus on The Commute to Class

decorative graphic

AJ Damiano ‘18, co-founder and CEO of Powerspike and a Whitman School of Management, LaunchPad and Techstars alum, joins Patrick Linehan ’21 (Newhouse) for this week’s “Commute to Class” podcast.  In this episode Linehan and Damiano discuss finding focus, developing a personal mission, and turning a college startup into a full-time job.  Listen here.

Damiano founded Powerspike with Michael Paris ’20 (VPA communications design) as students at Syracuse University.  The Powerspike platform allows brands and sponsors to create campaigns, connect with Twitch influencers and teams at scale.  The media and technology company is focused on building the most compelling and streamlined destination for activating sponsorships within gaming communities. Powerspike collaborates with 40,000+ gaming and esports influencers to execute premium, authentic influencer marketing campaigns. Powerspike’s influencer network reaches over 160M+ viewers every month and grew over 1000% in 2020. The 5-year-old company is backed by Techstars, Cox Enterprises, the Sixers Innovation Lab, the Dorm Room Fund, and Ocean Azul Partners.

Damiano will share the story of building the venture as a student, and the challenges of staying focused on building the company milestone by milestone.  By the time they graduated from Syracuse, the Powerspike team had closed an initial round of funding, raising around $500,000.  AJ’s team completed the Atlanta Techstars Accelerator program after he graduated, and while Paris was still a college student, and they then went on to close on $1.3 million in funding. 

AJ Damiano in his undergraduate days at the LaunchPad

Powerspike is based in the NYC metro area and Saratoga, NY, and have built out a team to further develop their innovative marketplace platform that helps livestreaming influencers create relationships with potential sponsors and brands interested in accelerating business growth through live streaming influencer marketing.  Some of their strategic partners and brands have included ActiVision, Bethesda, Logitech, Sketchers and Express Men.

Weekly episodes of The Commute to Class feature 12–15-minute interviews hosted by Linehan with Syracuse University LaunchPad alumni who have gone on to create successful ventures or join innovation teams at leading companies.

Catch the entire series here, on Apple, or wherever podcasts are distributed. 

The first eight episodes are now available and feature:

  • Starting Up with Linda Dickerson Hartsock, executive director of the Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars
  • Building Community with Dylan Kim ’18 (Whitman), co-founder of Brevité
  • Stepping Out with Julia Haber ’18 (Newhouse), founder of WAYV and Home From College
  • Burning Out with Kelsey Davis ’19 (Newhouse) G’20 (Whitman), founder of CLLCTVE
  • Jumping Out with Jose Javier Garcia-Rovira ’19 (Whitman) and Quentin Rosso ’18 (Whitman), co-founders of Gamercraft
  • Defeating Gremlins with Kayla Simon ’19 (Engineering and Computer Science), co-founder of InSpire
  • Failing Up with Steven VonDeak ’08 (College of Law), co-founder of Density
  • Finding Focus with AJ Damiano ’18 (Whitman), co-founder and CEO of Powerspike

Learn more about the entire series here: