Free Workshop on Apple’s ARKit

Want to get started creating AR content for iOS?

This free presentation on Tuesday is for you!

Event:   Apple ARKit Workshop
When:  Tuesday, October 24, 2017 from 9:00 – 11:00 am
Where:   Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism (ANN Room L105 – lower level auditorium)

Agenda:    Developing AR Experiences for iPhone and iPad. This session will explore ARKit, a new framework in iOS 11 that allows developers to easily create augmented reality (AR) experiences for iPhone and iPad. AR describes user experiences that add 2D or 3D elements to the live view from a device’s camera in a way that makes those elements appear to inhabit the real world. By fusing together camera sensor data and motion tracking data, ARKit provides the high-precision world tracking needed to blend digital objects and information with the physical environment. The 90-minute presentation will provide a high-level overview of ARKit, techniques to place 3D content in the camera view using iOS SceneKit, and developer resources to get started. There will be approximately 30 minutes for Q&A.

About the speaker:   Trevor Sheridan is an engineer on Apple’s Consulting Engineering team. He spends his time working on new ideas and solving problems for Apple’s customers in enterprise and education. With over 10 years of programming experience, Trevor has spent the last 3 at Apple where he’s enjoyed working on some exciting projects. Prior to joining consulting engineering, he worked on researching and developing experimental software for Apple’s Product Management group. While he’s devoted much of his career to developing on Apple’s platforms he also has a keen interest in machine learning, electrical engineering, and 3D graphics.

[ Limited availability! ]

Synchrotron at USC Viterbi Startup Garage

The Synchrotron Program is a 10-week long educational incubator program housed at the USC Viterbi Startup Garage in Marina del Rey.  Startup founders gain valuable insights about fundraising, legal proceedings, team dynamics, and other essential topics needed to build a successful company.  Teams have access to shared workspace, private meeting rooms, and mentorship from a deep network of investors and entrepreneurs.  Companies in this program are typically technology-focused with some evidence of customer validation.

What we do:

  • Provide residence at the Startup Garage during the duration of the program
  • Hands on education, mentoring and coaching
  • Access to an extensive network of investors and advisors
  •  Path to Full Residency status at the Viterbi Startup Garage
  •  Consideration for the Viterbi Venture Fund

What we do not do:

  • No funding is provided to the teams
  • No equity is taken from the companies
  • Companies must have either USC or IN-LA affiliation
  • Founders must be able to attend the weekly workshops in Marina del Rey

Viterbi Innovation Competition Opportunities

ABC Innovation Undergraduate Prize (ABC)

Calling all undergraduate students! Do you have an innovate idea to solve a problem? Learn how to take your idea to product. Apply in one or more of the three categories – atoms (physical), bits (digital), and cells (biomedical). Teams can be composed of 1 to 5 members. Throughout the academic year, you will have access to free mentors, workshops, and other support. Final presentations will be held in April 2018, and the winning team in each category will receive $1,000. Applications are due on Sunday, November 5, 2017. For more information, visit


Maseeh Entrepreneurship Prize Competition (MEPC)

Do you want to take your idea/research to market? To apply, you will need to provide a short business model summary and market opportunity. Selected teams will be given $500 for customer discovery and work with industry mentors. Final presentations will be held in April 2018 where teams will compete for a $50,000 Grand Prize! Applications are due on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. For more information, visit


Min Family Engineering Social Entrepreneurship Challenge (MFC)

Do you want to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey? Top teams developing a sustainable venture to enhance relief efforts will receive field research and prototyping funds, as well as work with social entrepreneur mentors and learn about building sustainable enterprises! You are invited to a special talk on disaster relief with Major Ashok Deb on Thursday, October 12, at 4:30 pm in RTH 526. This information session will be followed by a networking event for students interested in forming teams. Applications are due on Sunday, November 12, 2017. For more information, visit


Trina Gregory

Senior Lecturer, ITP

Viterbi School of Engineering

University of Southern California

Reuters Ranks USC #20 Most Innovative University

USC judged to be 20th most innovative university in the nation.

A private research university based in Los Angeles, USC has strong ties to Hollywood and significant expertise in the area of digital entertainment, though the university says it also boasts the largest computer science research program of any university in the nation, as well as the largest engineering and health programs of any private university. The university’s Institute for Creative Technologies studies how people engage with technology through virtual characters and simulations, and collaborates with studios including Warner Bros and Sony Pictures Entertainment to develop ever more realistic computer-generated characters in movies. USC’s Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts is the country’s only entirely digital filmmaking training facility. And USC’s technology transfer center, the Stevens Center for Innovation, has spun out a number of entertainment startups, including LightStage LLC, which has created visual effects for films including ‘Avatar’ and ‘King Kong.’

Read our bio from Reuters here!

ASU Innovation Open

Dear entrepreneurship colleagues,

Thanks again for engaging with us last year as we kicked off the inaugural ASU Innovation Open.

Here’s a recap.

With another $100K grand prize up for grabs, plus another $95K earmarked for semi-finalists and runners-up, we hope that you’ll share the following opportunity with your best undergrad and grad-led tech startups:

 ASU Innovation Open

Who: All top student-led startup founders are encouraged to apply.

What: An opportunity to win $100K+ and bragging rights, along with other  prizes – including VIP experiences at the Phoenix Open.

Where: Apply here. Travel to Phoenix/ Scottsdale is not required for applicants.

When: Apply by Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 11:59 pm PST.

Questions: Email

As always, we appreciate your collaboration. As we push toward the October 29 deadline, please feel free to update your contact information on our collaborator contact sheet here.

After receiving some stellar student applications from California Institute of Technology, Cal Lutheran, Cuesta College, George Washington, Loyola Marymount, Oregon State, University of Arizona, UC Irvine, UCLA, USC, University of Denver, and University of Utah last year, we hope to engage further this year.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call or text me directly at 480-353-8132.

Yours in service,


Brent Sebold, Ed.D.

Arizona State University

Contrary Capital is your Startup’s Newest Asset for Funding and Beyond

Here at USC, we all know someone who is working on a startup. Irrespective of degree or department, students and faculty at USC are working everyday to develop solutions to a multitude of relevant problems. Perhaps you may be working on one yourself.

The truth is, the Trojan entrepreneurial ecosystem is incredibly strong, and students all across our campus are building businesses with truly amazing potential. But as each of you knows, building a business is hard.

That’s why I’m happy to announce an incredible new resource to add to your toolbelt. Contrary Capital brings the best in business to help scale the challenges that hinder your business’s growth.

Contrary Capital is a fully independent, university focused venture fund driven by student investors at 40+ colleges across the nation. Backed by founders such as Dan Macklin of SoFi, Martin Eberhard of Tesla and Emmett Shear of Twitch, 80%  of our limited partners have started $1B+ tech companies over the past decade.

Contrary announced their official public launch on Monday September 18th with an inaugural fund size projected to fall between $5 million and $7 million

Here are a few quick bullets to summarize our value:

  • We’re totally independent and returns-focused. If funded, we’ll connect you with top-tier VCs that fit you best.
  • We have an expansive network you can tap into for diverse talent, customers, and advice.
  • With a check size ranging between $50k-$200k in YC style standardized valuation buckets, we have the flexibility to accommodate you at a crucial stage in your growth.

Feel free to contact us any time at We would love to meet with you to see what you’re working on or answer any questions you may have.


Fight on!

Zach Sullens and Rishi Thomas

Stevens Student Innovator Showcase

Info from:

Join us Friday, October 13, 2017, 9AM-3PM at USC’s University Park Campus (AHF building) for the 11th Annual USC Stevens Student Innovator Showcase. Everyone is welcome to attend and watch the competition, talk to the startup teams, hear the keynote address, and vote for their favorite project to win the Trojan Family Choice Award. No pre-registration is required to attend our event.

During the daylong event held at USC’s University Park Campus, student teams present and pitch their startup ideas and prototypes to expert judges from the entrepreneur and investment communities as well as Trojan Family Weekend attendees to compete for cash awards that can help to develop their ideas further. The most promising innovative student teams are selected as finalists to participate in an afternoon fast pitch round featuring 3 minute business pitches by each team to a panel of esteemed  judges, and an awards ceremony for the winners.

Showcase schedule (subject to change):
October 13, 2017 

9AM-11AM: Student Innovator Showcase (24 teams)
11AM-12PM: Lunch provided to the competing teams
12PM-12:45PM: Keynote guest speaker (name to be announced)
12:45PM-2:30PM: Finalists announced & Finalist Fast Pitch Round (10 teams)
2:30PM-3PM: Announcement of Winners and Awards Ceremony

QUESTIONS? Contact Peijean Tsai, USC Stevens Marketing Coordinator at

Startup Career Fair – Hosted by SparkSC

Our mission is to connect talent on campus with the hottest startups in Los Angeles and beyond.

  • 25+ Startups
  • Full-Time and Internship Positions
  • Tuesday, October 3rd, 10 AM – 2 PM in Pardee Lawn

At the Startup Career Fair, you will:

  • Recruit efficiently – just by showing up you will have access to top tier engineering, business, and design students.

  • Save thousands of dollars- our entrance fee is only $300 (the money goes to covering our set up costs).

  • Build a relationship with the USC community by distributing swag, promoting your product, and showing students why your company is a great place to work.

  • Hire for both internship and full-time positions.

Come see us on October 3rd from 10AM to 2PM!

SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event

The SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event just opened its submission site for entries (through November 10).

Z Holly is on the Advisory Board and posted the following “Top 5 Tips for Entry Success”:

  • Meet the minimum – review the SXSW Accelerator Eligibility Criteria:…
  • Nominate a startup that is innovative and disruptive
  • Share a video – there’s no better way to convey a thorough sense of your project than through a demo video
  • Showcase what makes you different in the market (i.e. What is your market differentiator? What is unique about your project? Why should people be excited about it?)
  • Highlight key members from your team and/or those supporting your startup (Staff, Advisory Board, Board Members, Mentors, Funders, Accelerator and/or Incubator involvement, etc.)

On the Go in LA: 121C

Startup 121C looks to get leg up with skateboards made with salvaged carbon fiber.

Originally published September 25, 2017 in the Los Angeles Business Journal.

The aerospace industry throws away thousands of pounds of expensive carbon fiber each year.

That seems like a missed business opportunity to recent USC graduate Ryan Olliges.

His startup, 121C Inc., was founded to exploit the market inefficiency, and has signed multiyear contracts with undisclosed local rocket manufactures to buy carbon scrap and recycle the material into skateboards and longboards.

“We recycle from new space companies, from the production lines of modern rockets,” he said. “Sometimes it’s too small of pieces for them to use, sometimes its dated material which is beyond the spec of aerospace parts but still perfectly fine to make skateboards with.”

121C of Gardena buys about 2,500 pounds of carbon fiber a month – enough to press out 450 skateboard decks that sell for anywhere from $100 to $275. The decks are the main component of a skateboard. The company sells some standalone decks without mounts and wheels, and also offers some fully assembled products.

Sales are strong, said Olliges, with 121C generating about $100,000 a month in revenue, mostly through online retail. He expects a boost as the year-end holiday’s approach.

“We’ve been selling through (inventory) pretty much as fast as we can make,” he said. “We keep ramping up production and our sales keep increasing.”

121C was co-founded in 2015, and the name refers to 121 degrees Celsius, the temperature required to harden the epoxy that binds carbon fiber.

Olliges is a 2016 aerospace engineering graduate of USC, while one co-founder, Jaysen Harris, formerly worked as a health care IT specialist, and another, Greg Autry, is an assistant professor at USC’s Marshall School of Business.

The company has raised more than $174,000 over three Kickstarter crowdfunding campaigns, $60,000 from its founding team, and is nearing the closure of a $1 million seed round, Olliges said. The startup plans to use money raised from Kickstarter preorders and investments to buy equipment to create tooling for future products.

The company’s least-expensive carbon-fiber skateboard deck is around average for the industry at about $100, while its most expensive is on the upper end of the market for longboards at $275, said Richard Pyles, president of Hacienda Heights-based skateboard manufacturer Made in Mars Inc.

“It’s toward the upper end, but it’s not unheard of,” he said. “There’s a market, it just becomes more and more niche as you move up in price.”

Olliges said his company aims to manufacturer more than just longboards, including consumer products such as ceiling fan blades, standing desks and conference tables.

“The real reason we are raising a lot of money is to expand past longboards,” Olliges said.