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How to Start a Startup at USC

Student Groups

LavaLab - USC's product incubator and startup community. They offer weekly workshops and incubate startups every semester.

Trojan Venture Partners - USC's leading venture capital initiative - exclusive speaker events and trips to Silicon Valley

Spark SC - student-run entrepreneurship ecosystem that hosts Project Launch, Startup Career Fair, Spark Accelerator, 1000 pitches, and more

Makers at USC- Viterbi sponsored club for tinkerers and creators focusing on stimulating interest in fields of electronics such as the Internet of Things, Embedded Systems, and Robotics.

SCOPE - Community of computer science students at USC. Come together to build, create, and learn app development.

Sigma Eta Pi - USC's Premier Co-Ed Entrepreneurship Society

ACM - (Association for Computing Machinery) USC's largest computer science organization on campus - hone your technical skills and network with representatives from top tech companies.

CAIS++ - Promoting the use of AI for social good through education and project development

Trojan Cryptocurrency Investment Club - Community of cryptocurrency enthusiasts hosting workshops and blockchain projects

Code the Change - drives social impact through pro-bono software projects for non profit organizations and CS for social good

XRSC - The premier immersive VR/XR technology community at USC

3D4E - 3D Printing Group striving to give back to the community

MEGA - Videogame development and creation at USC

Troy Labs - Venture platform that supports USC startups with capital, a Demo Day, and startup consulting. Also hosts an 8-week long accelerator program

Accelerators and Incubators

Blackstone Launchpad - Early-stage venture incubator with workspaces and mentorships - sponsored by Techstars

Marshall Grief Incubator - Incubator for student and alumni entrepreneurs with an emphasis on community and growing your startup

Spark Accelerator - hosted by Spark SC - takes in 5 USC start-ups each semester and helps them scale their businesses by providing mentorship, student talent, networking opportunities, and funding

Viterbi Startup Garage - accelerator program in Silicon Beach for early stage technology ventures

Troy Labs Accelerator - 8-week curriculum consisting of workshops, keynotes, and mentorships for a cohort of companies going from MVP to product launch.

Hackathons and Competitions

HackSC - USC's largest hackathon - hack for 36 hours! Over 50+ schools are represented at HackSC

1000 Pitches - Spark SC's premier pitch competition

AthenaHacks - USC's largest all-female hackathon. Female identifying high school and undergraduate students invited to attend in March.

Hack for Hope - an online hackathon whose only essential rules of qualification are that a minimum of one USC- or UCLA-affiliated person be on each team. Takes place in April

EurekaHacks - the first ever data hackathon at USC

TrojanHacks - ACM's 24-hour hackathon taking place each semester, open to beginners

New Venture Seed Competition - Maturing ideas into new ventures - prize money totaling $85,000

Wrigley Sustainability Prize - Competition supporting environmental ideas with market potential - 1st place is $7,000

Min Family Engineering Social Entrepreneurship Challenge - Competition to engineer sustainable ventures, prizes total $50,000

Maseeh Entrepreneurship Prize Competition - Offers $500 customer discovery grants and mentors to admitted teams

Additional University Resources

Tech.LA Fellows - Connects engineering, design, and business students to 10-week internships at LA startups

Startup Career Fair - hosted by Spark SC, a fully student-run career fair that brings over 50 startups, accelerators, and VC funds to USC campus to network with talented students.

Stevens Innovator Showcase - USC students exhibit their startups to faculty and the local startup and venture community.

Fab Lab - makerspace for undergraduate students with 3D printers

Incubate USC - entrepreneurship community at USC that - online center to keep up to date on entrepreneurship events and discover startup resources and content

USC Demo Day - USC founders present their cutting edge startups

Notable Courses

Founders Dilemmas (BAEP 455)

Seminar in Entrepreneurship (BAEP 460)

Digital Playbook for Entrepreneurs (BAEP 465)

Growth Hacking: Scaling Startups (BAEP 469)

Sales Mindset for Entrepreneurs (BAEP473)

Building the High Tech Startup (ITP466)

The Hacker Imagination (ACAD302)

Entrepreneurial Mindset: Taking the Leap (BAEP 470)

Technologies for Interactive Marketing (ITP 476)

Disruptive Innovation (ACAD181)

Product Design (ACAD 245)

Innovation in Engineering Design for Global Challenges (CE-499)
Hacking for Defense (CSCI-599)
Strategic Management of Technology (ISE-585)


Contrary - University-focused venture fund investing up to $500K in emerging startups launching from the university scene around the US

Marshall Venture Fund - Venture fund for USC students and affiliates

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