Four Syracuse LaunchPad alumni entrepreneurs named to Forbes 30 Under 30

PowerSprike team Eric Rice, AJ Damiano and Michael Paris (left to right) and Kelsey Davis, CLLCTVE
The Kim brothers, Dylan, Brandon and Elliot

Congratulations to four Syracuse University LaunchPad alumni — AJ Damiano ’18 Whitman and Michael Paris, ’20 VPA School of Design, co-founders of PowerSpike, Kelsey Davis ’19 Newhouse and G’20 Whitman, founder of CLLCTVE, and Dylan Kim ’16, Whitman, co-founder of Brevitē — for being selected for this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30.  

“As North America settles in for a long pandemic winter, there are bright spots on the horizon,” according to Alexandra Wilson, editor for Forbes, about the young entrepreneurs, activists, scientists and entertainers featured in the 10th Annual Forbes 30 Under 30.  “They give everyone reason to hope. Some are defying the odds and building businesses despite Covid-19. Collectively, our Under 30 trailblazers have raised over $1 billion in venture funding and are proof positive that ambition and innovation can’t be quarantined.”

“In the 10 years since we published the first Forbes 30 Under 30 list, the world has changed dramatically, but one thing has not: our history of spotting young innovators on the verge of making it big.”

Founded while its creators were college students, PowerSpike links brands with influencers, providing the tools for streamers to gain sponsorships. Co-founders Damiano and Paris and Eric Rice (SUNY Binghamton ‘18) have raised $2.5 million in venture funding and connected 1,300 streamers to clients including Intuit, Fireball Whiskey and Express. The company expects to achieve profitability in early 2021.  The company incubated in the Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars at Syracuse University and then was accepted into the highly competitive Techstars Atlanta program.  The team remains actively engaged with the LaunchPad and Damiano is an active mentor to student startups at Syracuse.

Davis worked in at Conde Nast Entertainment and Uniworld Group before launching CLLCTVE while still in college.  The venture acts as a matchmaker between college creatives seeking freelance work and Gen-Z brands. Davis started as a young freelancer herself, creating music and entertainment content for Coca-Cola, Puma, Land Rover and other brands.  CLLCTVE also incubated in the Syracuse LaunchPad and was then was accepted into the highly competitive Techstars Los Angeles program.  Davis was a Rubin Family Innovation Mentor at the LaunchPad and remains an active mentor to student startups in Syracuse. 

Brothers Brandon, Dylan and Elliot Kim started Brevitē, a direct-to-consumer backpack company while college students. Dylan was one of the first students to walk through the door of the brand new LaunchPad, and debuted his first Brevitē bag at the ribbon cutting. Brevitē initially catered to photographers, creating a stylish bag that could easily fit a professional camera and its accessories. The company now sells five styles of backpacks, ranging in price from $95 to $219 to a diverse audience of global travelers. The bootstrapped company expects revenue to surpass $3 million in 2020.

Anthony DiMare

In addition to these three LaunchPad student entrepreneurs, Syracuse University engineering alumnus Anthony DiMare was also named to the list.  He is cofounder and CEO of Bedrock Ocean, which is building a fleet of autonomous underwater vehicles to explore, map, and classify the ocean floor. The Brooklyn-based company has raised $4.5 million in seed funding and began testing its robots this fall. Its plan is to make part of its seafloor data accessible, while selling more detailed surveys to customers, such as those building offshore wind farms.

Forbes 30 Under 30 is an annual list of 30 top leaders in twenty industries selected by Forbes editors. Up to 20,000 nominations are received annually for candidates for the list. They are considered “a global community of bold, innovative young leaders who are changing the course and face of business and society.”

Learn about this year’s winners here.