University of Southern California

Entrepreneurs Aiming to Launch, Finance or Grow Startups Join Accelerator at Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies
20 teams run the gamut from mobile apps to custom chocolate
July 21, 2014 • by News at Marshall

Fantasy CallOut wants to launch a third-party platform for daily betting on fantasy sports games. GlycoGum is ready to create a prototype of a chewing gum-based glucose-monitoring device for Type 2 diabetics. Desert Farms, Inc. seeks to grow its sales of camel milk. Twenty student- and alumni-led startups like these are participating in a program called AIM (Accelerate + Incubate + Mentor), a 10-week accelerator at the USC Marshall School of Business’ Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies this summer.

“The Greif Center accelerator is a really exciting program to help push startups to the next level,” said Albert Napoli, lecturer in entrepreneurship at the Greif Center.

This could mean different things for different teams. Some may move from beta to launch, while others may better their business acumen or access capital to purchase equipment or resources to increase sales.

Launched in 2012, AIM provides entrepreneurs within the USC community with resources designed to improve the odds of success for startups. A recognized leader in entrepreneurship education, the Greif Center offers intensive instruction covering everything from business models, growth strategies, branding and marketing (to both customers and investors) to legal infrastructure and financial strategy. All teams consult with Greif Center faculty on key business issues.

Tapping into the vast Trojan Network, throughout the 10 weeks each AIM team is mentored by USC alumni, supporters and industry experts who provide guidance, resources and strategic development.

The Lloyd Greif Center also has partnered with the Pasadena City College Small Business Development Center (PCC SBDC) to provide one-on-one training on running the back office. “AIM teams have direct access to consultants—at no cost—to help guide and align them to proper resources, including funding, accounting, graphic artists and marketing experts, to name a few,” said Salvatrice Cummo, director of PCC SBDC. “Ultimately, this partnership will foster growth and help each company reach measurable milestones. This partnership speaks volumes on USC Marshall’s commitment to cultivating and empowering the entrepreneurial-minded.”

Unlike a traditional accelerator, which might provide capital infusion or take an equity stake in the companies, the Greif Center provides the startups access to capital through outside investors, lenders or partners.

“Our accelerator is also unique in that we are industry agnostic,” Napoli said. “This year our teams, selected from a pool of 55 applicants, represent a wide range of innovative ideas from a patented knee brace to an online digital music platform.”


2014 Greif Center AIM Participants

Aquilacam provides a real-time video analysis cloud service for video and surveillance systems that reduces the false alarm rate of motion detection.

BlackGreekPride.com is an online resource center where members of black fraternities and sororities can watch videos, learn about upcoming events, buy product and find information on each of the National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations.

Brace X is a patented knee brace that supports the knee and enhances performance and rehabilitation due to resistance in flexion and extension.

Desert Farms, Inc. sells camel milk from U.S. farmers, offering a product that has been used traditionally as a natural remedy in the Middle East.

Fantasy CallOut is a third-party platform that capitalizes on a new market of fantasy sports games that can be played for money on a daily or weekly basis.

FindMySong is an online music collaborative platform for musicians around the world to network, create music projects and manage their copyrights.

GlycoGum is developing a chewing gum-based glucose-monitoring device for Type 2 diabetics, offering a painless, convenient and discreet way to test blood sugar levels.

Gotokki is a location-based mobile coupon platform allowing merchants to distribute mobile coupons to their existing customers and attract new customers by tapping into users’ social network to share deals.

GreekLink organizes Greek community social and charitable events, provides a messaging platform to help organizations communicate faster and consolidates a private contact list for each organization.

Gyde is a mobile application and website that connects millennial travelers with qualified local guides to explore a city.

Hudson Heritage Bespoke Charms creates custom charm jewelry for mothers based on their child’s drawings.

Metis Talent Management is a boutique sports agency that offers investment management, contract negotiation and marketing services to American athletes based in Europe.

NiLi is an app that facilitates VIP service at the most popular nightclubs, providing an alternative to nightclub promoters.

Piggy allows customers to receive loose change in their bank accounts from a cash transaction, giving customers incentive to pay retailers with cash because they no longer have to deal with coins.

The Prep Source is an online marketplace bringing together job seekers looking for interview preparation with mentors who already have the job they want.

Sphere is creating a social mobile polling network that crowd-sources opinion to illustrate what the world is thinking.

Spop, Inc. is a college-exclusive platform that allows students to communicate by messaging anonymously and/or publicly.

TalentTrail matches students and recruiters at career fairs.

Team AlmsGive is a crowd-funding platform catering specifically to the Christian audience.

Top This Chocolate will be a chain of customizable chocolate shops where liquid chocolate is poured out; topped with nuts, dried berries or spices; and flash-dried with liquid nitrogen.


About Entrepreneurial Studies at Marshall

The Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies is among the nation’s leaders in entrepreneurship education and research. Its faculty—a diverse mix of academics and entrepreneur practitioners—together offer undergraduate and graduate programs designed to help students acquire the tools, develop the skills and cultivate the mindset central to organizing, launching and managing successful new ventures.

The program consistently has ranked among the top programs in the nation and has been ranked No. 1 by the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. The Greif Center’s entrepreneurship program was ranked No. 2 in U.S. News & World Report for 2014.


About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.