Spark SC hosts startup career fair for students

Spark SC hosted its biannual startup career fair Wednesday. The event featured small companies to give them a platform apart from the big corporations typically present at recruiting events. (Thomas Forman | Daily Trojan)

Students lined up to enter Alumni Park Wednesday morning to speak to prospective employers at Spark SC’s Startup Career Fair, many of whom were USC alumni.

The fair featured more than 20 startup companies from the Los Angeles area that promoted internships and full-time positions.

Spark SC, an organization dedicated to getting students involved in entrepreneurship, put on the biannual fair that included companies from the design, technology, business and medicine fields.

The lineup included companies like Verkada, a startup that builds enterprise security cameras, and Vezt, the first mobile app that allows music fans to acquire rights to songs and recordings.

Alyssa Goldberg, a sophomore majoring in arts, technology and the business of innovation, led this year’s startup career fair committee. She said many of the startups looked to hire multiple students — not just one or two, but even up to eight or 10.

“There are a lot of career fairs that happen on campus, but a lot of them are directed toward a certain major,” Goldberg said. “A lot of the companies at those career fairs are really big, and a lot of the small companies get drowned out.”

Sina Karachiani, a senior majoring in computer science and music composition, said this was his second year attending the fair.

“It’s really hard to get to know startups because they’re not as public so there’s not much information about them,” he said. “It’s good to just come see what’s out there. There are a lot of USC alumni so it’s easy to network.”

Nathan Wallace, a USC alumnus and software engineer at Verkada, said this was the company’s first time at the startup career fair. He said he used to organize the event while attending USC, so he made sure Verkada was present.

“We’re a relatively new company,” Wallace said. “We closed our Series A round of funding in April, so now we’re looking to grow and expand.”

Kerri Ma, a sophomore majoring in business administration, said her goal was to learn about companies she’s never heard about.

“I want to learn more about what startups have to offer … and see how they differ from larger corporations in how they construct their business and the types of careers they seek,” she said.

As someone who currently works at a startup, Goldberg said she sees the value in the experience.

“You can really see the impact that you’re having,” Goldberg said. “At a lot of big companies, that often gets lost in the hierarchy … There are so many people working on one thing.”