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Startups

The Viterbi Index
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USC Viterbi-affiliated companies are among the most dynamic and innovative anywhere. From corporate titans Apple and Qualcomm to hot startups, USC Viterbi alumni and faculty have shown a commitment to changing the world. Below are some examples of that ingenuity. Consider them a sampler, rather than a comprehensive list, of the best of USC Viterbi.

Cardinal – $1 Billion +

Vizio

Description: Low-cost consumer electronics company that is known as a producer of affordable, flat screen televisions.

Headquarters: Irvine, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: William Wang, Vizio founder and CEO, B.S. EE ’86; USC Viterbi Board of Councilors

Interesting Facts:

Apple Inc.

Description: The maker of the iPhone and iPad was the world’s most valuable company by market capitalization as of early February 2016.

Headquarters: Cupertino, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Mike Markkula, cofounder and chairman of Apple, Inc. (1977-1997), B.S. EE ’64, M.S. ‘66

Interesting Facts:

  • Though many Apple historians depict Markkula as a “father figure” to Jobs, Markkula says, “No, I did mentor him a bit. I tried to channel his good things and minimize his not so good things. That worked out pretty well for quite a few years.”

Qualcomm Inc.

Description: One of the foremost developers of wireless telecommunications products and services; became world’s leading mobile chipset provider in 2007.

Headquarters: San Diego, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Andrew Viterbi, Qualcomm cofounder; Ph.D. EE ’62; namesake of the USC Viterbi School; USC Viterbi Board of Councilors;

Interesting Facts:

  • Qualcomm cofounder Andrew Viterbi helped open the doors to the digital age with the Viterbi Algorithm, a mathematical formula for eliminating signal interference that has transformed digital wireless communications.

AECOM

Description: No. 1-ranked engineering design firm by revenue, according to “Engineering News-Record” magazine

Headquarters: Los Angeles, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Al Dorman, AECOM founding chairman, M.S. CE ’62; USC Viterbi Board of Councilors

Energy Corporation of America

Description: Discovers, develops, produces and transports natural gas and oil. Owns and operates approximately 4,600 wells, 5,000 miles of pipeline.

Headquarters: Denver, CO

USC Viterbi Connection: John Mork, CEO and founder, B.S. PE ’70, M.S. PE ’12; namesake of the Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science; USC Viterbi Board of Councilors

DFJ Growth

Company:  DFJ

Description:  A venture capital firm that has raised approximately $5 billion for its early-stage and growth-stage investment practices.

Headquarters:  Menlo Park, CA

USC Viterbi Connection:  Randy Glein, co-founder and managing partner of DFJ Growth, M.S. EE ‘90

Sempra Energy

Description: Fortune 500 energy services holding company whose subsidiaries provide electricity, natural gas and value-added products and services. The Sempra Energy companies’ 17,000 employees serve more than 32 million consumers worldwide.

Headquarters: San Diego, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Debra Reed, CEO and chair, B.S. CE ’78; USC Viterbi Board of Councilors

J.F. Shea Co

Description: one of the largest privately held construction and real estate companies in the United States.

Headquarters: Walnut, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: John Shea, chair, B.S. ’49; USC Viterbi Board of Councilors

Northern Light Venture Capital

Description: A leading China-focused venture capital firm targeting early and early growth stage opportunities with more than $1.7 billion in committed capital

Headquarters Beijing, China

USC Viterbi Connection: Feng Deng, founding managing director, M.S. CEng ’93; USC Viterbi Board of Councilors

S-Cubed Capital

Description: Diversified investment holding company

Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Mark Stevens, founder and managing partner, B.S. EE ’81; M.S. CEng ’84; namesake of the USC Stevens Center for Innovation; USC Viterbi Board of Councilors

Interesting facts:

  • In 2013, Mark Stevens purchased a minority stake in the Golden State Warriors, the reigning NBA champions.

Lookout

Description: Mobile-focused cybersecurity company trusted by tens of millions of people and companies around the world.

Headquarters: San Francisco, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Kevin Mahaffey, cofounder and CTO, B.S. EE ‘07

Gold – Valuation, sales or money under management of $100 million to $1 billion

The Aerospace Corporation

Description: With an estimated $850 million in annual revenue, the Aerospace Corporation is a leading architect for the nation’s national security space programs.

Headquarters: El Segundo, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Wanda Austin, CEO, Ph.D. ISE ’88; USC Viterbi Board of Councilors

ConAm Group

Description: Full-service real estate management and development firm specializing in multi-family housing. Firm oversees a nationwide portfolio of about 50,000 fee-managed and company owned apartments.

Headquarters: San Diego, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Daniel Epstein, founder and chair, B.S. ISE ’62; namesake of the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering; USC Viterbi Board of Councilors

Epsilon Systems Solutions Inc.

Description: Provides total life cycle engineering and services in support of our nation’s defense. Technical and professional services include research, concept development, system architecture, software development, test and evaluation, systems integration and logistics.  Estimated annual revenue: $150 million.

Headquarters: San Diego, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Bryan Min, founder and CEO, B.S. ISE ’86; namesake of the Min Family Challenge in Social Entrepreneurship; USC Viterbi Board of Councilors; USC Daniel J. Epstein ISE Department Board Advisor; USC Viterbi Parent

Astani Enterprises Inc.

Description: The firm owns and operates approximately 5,000 apartment units throughout southern California and is currently developing approximately 1,700 units of apartments, condos and mix-use projects in downtown Los Angeles, Encino and Koreatown, valued over $500 million.

Headquarters: Beverly Hills, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Sonny Astani, founder and chair, M.S. ISE ’78; namesake of the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; USC Viterbi Board of Councilors

Tommy Trojan – Valuation or sales of $5 million to $100 million

Aspire Bariatrics Inc.

Description: Medical device company developing a weight-loss device for obesity. Secured a $12 million venture debt facility with Hercules Technology Growth Capital in early 2015.

Headquarters: King of Prussia, PA

USC Viterbi Connection: Katherine Crothall, CEO and president; M.S. EE ’73, Ph.D. EE ‘76

Two Bit Circus

Description: Invents, produces and sells an array of technological amusements and games, including STEAM carnival extravaganzas for kids. Closed Series A Financing in October 2015 of $6.5 million

Headquarters: Los Angeles, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Eric Gradman, cofounder and CTO, B.S. CEng ’02, M.S. CS ’04

Gumroad

Description: Gumroad is the only all-in-one solution for creative people selling their work directly to their audience. Raised $7 million in a Series A round led by Kleiner Perkins.

Headquarters: San Francisco, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Sahil Lavingia, founder and CEO, B.S. undeclared non-degree

Interesting Facts:

  • One of “Fast Company’s” World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies 2015

TrellisWare Technologies

Description: Primary product is a military radio network that is analogous to a cell phone network that does not need cell towers. Company has 100 employees.

Headquarters: San Diego, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Keith Chugg, TrellisWare cofounder and chief scientist, Ph.D. EE ’95 and USC Viterbi professor; Tom Carter, cofounder and CEO, Ph.D. EE ’83; Andreas Polydoros, cofounder, Ph.D. EE ’82

Mediahound

Description: An online platform that builds tools to improve search and social discovery of premium entertainment; Has raised at least $4.5 million

Headquarters: El Segundo, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Brad Nussbaum, CTO, B.S. EE ??; 2013 USC Viterbi Startup Garage

SynTouch

Description: Developed and makes the only sensor technology in the world that endows robots with the ability to replicate – and sometimes exceed – the human sense of touch

Headquarters: Los Angeles, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Gerald Loeb, CEO and founding partner, USC Viterbi professor of biomedical engineering; Jeremy Fishel, CTO and founding partner, M.S. BME ’07, Ph.D. BME ‘12

ZBoard

Description: Creator of the world’s first weight-sensing electric skateboard

Headquarters: Modesto, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Ben Forman, ZBoard cofounder, B.S. ME ’09; Geoff Larson, cofounder, B.S. ME ‘10

Interesting Facts:

  • Forman and Larson created their motorized skateboard as their senior project at USC Viterbi.

Second Spectrum

Description: Leverages Big Data for sports’ insights. NBA clients include the Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics

Headquarters: Los Angeles, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Rajiv Maheswaran, cofounder and CEO, former USC Viterbi research assistant professor, computer science (2006–2015); Yu-Han Chang, cofounder and COO, USC Viterbi computer science professor; 2013 winner of the Maseeh Entrepreneurship Prize Competition

Palomar Technologies

Description: World-leading provider of precision microelectronics and optoelectronic packaging systems

Headquarters: Carlsbad, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Bruce Hueners, CEO, B.S. ME ’74

Envent Corp.

Description: No. 1 provider of degassing services, vapor scrubbers and mobile water treatment in North America

Headquarters: Long Beach, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Steve Sellinger, cofounder and CEO, B.S. PTE ’89, M.S. ENE ’93

Traveler – Valuation or sales up to $5 million

AIO Robotics

Description: Makes world’s first all-in-one 3-D printer, copier, scanner and fax machine with distribution in over 40 countries.

Headquarters: Los Angeles, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Jens Windau, CEO and cofounder, M.S. CS ’10, Ph.D. CS candidate; Kai Chang, CTO and cofounder, B.S. CS ’08, M.S. CS ’10, Ph.D. ’16; 2013 USC Viterbi Startup Garage

BIRS

Description: Developing a portable hardware and software platform capable of delivering a five-minute concussion assessment test that uses eye tracking to measure neurocognitive health.

Headquarters: Los Angeles, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Brian Robinson, cofounder, BME Ph.D. candidate; Gene Yu, cofounder, BME Ph.D. candidate; Daniel Lorenzana, cofounder, M.S. BME candidate; 2015 winner of the Maseeh Entrepreneurship Prize Competition

Bezalel

Description: Creates a wireless charger for smartphone devices. The company’s Latitude Universal Charging Case was named “best new phone case charger you’ll actually want” by Wired.

Headquarters: Playa Vista, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Frank Wu, Bezalel CEO and founder, M.S. ME ‘12; 2013 USC Viterbi Startup Garage

Behavioral Informatix

Description: Creates and launches groundbreaking technologies that automatically sense, analyze, and interpret human states, including emotions.

Headquarters: Marina del Rey, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Matt Black, CEO and cofounder, Ph.D. EE ’12 and USC Viterbi research assistant professor, electrical engineering; Shri Narayanan, cofounder and chief scientist, USC Viterbi professor

VNTANA

Description: Industry-leading holographic technology whose clients include KIA and Microsoft.

Headquarters: Van Nuys, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Ashley Crowder, cofounder and CEO, B.S. ISE ’08; M.S. EM ’09

Moving Analytics

Description: Maker of the Movn app used by hospitals to encourage people with recent heart surgeries to exercise

Headquarters: Marina del Rey, CA

USC Viterbi Connection: Harsh Vathsangam, CEO and cofounder, CS Ph.D., ‘13; Gaurav Sukhatme, cofounder, USC Department of Computer Science chair, M.S. CS ‘93, Ph.D. CS ‘97; Ade Adesanya, cofounder, M.S. EM ‘13; Shuo Qiao, cofounder, M.S. CS ‘15

TOUCHDOWN – Acquired

Language Weaver

Description: Develops and licenses automated translation solutions for multinationals, government organizations, and translation providers.

USC Viterbi Connection: cofounders, Daniel Marcu, Director of Strategic Initiatives, ISI/USC; and Kevin Knight, professor of computer science

Acquired: SDL acquired Language Weaver in 2010 for a reported $42.5 million.

Netscreen Technologies

Description: The first firewall manufacturer to develop a gigabit-speed firewall

USC Viterbi Connection: Feng Deng, cofounder, M.S. CEng ’93; USC Viterbi Board of Councilors

Acquisition: Juniper Networks acquired Netscreen Technologies in 2004 for a reported $4 billion in stock.

280 North

Description: Developed software program called Cappuccino for developers to create Web applications

USC Viterbi Connection: Francisco Tolmasky, cofounder, B.S. CECS ‘06; Ross Boucher, cofounder, B.S. CECS ’07; Tom Robinson, cofounder, B.S. CECS ’07

Acquired: Motorola acquired 280 North in 2010 for a reported $20 million.

Cogent

Description: Manufacturer of automated fingerprint identification systems

USC Viterbi Connection: Ming Hsieh, founder and CEO, B.S. EE ’83, M.S. EE ’84; USC Viterbi Board of Councilors

Acquired: 3M acquired Cogent in 2010 for a reported $943 million.

Interesting Facts:

  • One-hundred years after the founding of the USC School of Engineering, Hsieh made a $35 million donation to christen the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering.

Geosemble Technologies

Description: Provided technology for automatically extracting intelligence from a range of geospatial sources, including maps, satellite images, and text documents.

USC Viterbi Connection: Cyrus Shahabi, cofounder, USC Viterbi professor; Craig Knoblock, cofounder, USC Viterbi professor

Acquired: TerraGo Technologies acquired Geosemble Technologies in 2012 for more than $1 million in cash.

Embark

Description: Mobile mapping application for mass transit riders

USC Viterbi Connection: David Hodge, founder and CEO, B.S. CSBA ’11; Taylor Malloy, cofounder B.S. CECS 2011; Cameron Sabol, B.S. CS & physics 2011, Astronautical Engineering M.S 2011; Tom Hauburger, B.S. CSBA 2010

Acquired: Apple Inc. acquired Embark in 2013 for an undisclosed sum.

 

We would love to hear from you, our esteemed USC Viterbi alumni, about your business successes. Please send your information to vcomms@usc.edu