SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) has accepted seven startup companies into this year’s SLO HotHouse Summer Accelerator program.
The intense 13-week program is designed for students and recent graduates who have developed new ventures and want help making them succeed.
The program provides $10,000 in seed money, hands-on strategic business guidance from faculty and mentors, and dedicated office space during the summer at the SLO HotHouse. Companies receive training, introductions to investors and resources to help move their ventures forward. At the culmination of the program, they will have an opportunity to pitch their ideas to investors during Demo Day.
The ventures represent a variety of concepts, including health foods, innovative footwear, sustainable building materials and smart solutions for San Luis Obispo house renters.
“Our accelerators are tackling the startup world head on,” said Lori Jordan, director of student innovation programs, who oversees the program. “We are giving them the tools they need to grow their company, and we are excited to see where their venture takes them and how they make an impact locally, nationally and throughout the world.”
Applicants representing disciplines from across campus competed for a place in the seventh annual accelerator program. Thirteen finalists presented their ideas to a panel of judges who chose the final seven companies.
“This program encourages risk takers, innovators and dreamers to pursue their passion,” said the CIE Executive Director Tod Nelson. “The accelerators are encouraged to think without limits. Through creativity, guidance, ambition and grit, these startups will grow to become pillars of the economy and supporters of our community.”
This year’s accelerator companies are:
-- Atsá Foods LLC is an innovative food company that is turning Native American superfoods into everyday nutritious snacks and returning value to the Navajo Nation Reservation. It was conceived by Rafael Pintor, agricultural business; Peter Haverkamp, food science; Neal Gorris, industrial technology and packaging; and Sam Baber, art and design. https://www.atsafoods.com/
-- Bluezone uses augmented reality, gamification and big data to inspire discovery and connection between users. It was developed by Brett Foreman, and Jimmy Kang, business administration.
-- DTE Materials manufactures hemp-based, high-performance, non-toxic and sustainable building insulation material. Created by Tanner Jolly, materials engineering, and Jose Urizar, civil engineering.
-- LocalzOwn is building a platform that its founders say is the smartest and easiest way to source and sell local artisan food products. It was started by Joseph Lyman, biomedical engineering; Michael Fekadu, computer engineering; and Leonel S. Farias, agricultural education.
-- Pashion Footwear has designed an adaptable shoe that can easily convert from a pump into a flat that is an innovative and pain-free approach to women’s footwear. It was designed by Haley Pavone, business administration, and Tyler Unbehand, industrial technology and packaging. https://pashionfootwear.com/
-- PolyRents has created technology that simplifies the housing rental process for landlords and their prospective tenants. It was created by Cameron Wiese, psychology, and Alexander Kavanaugh, software engineering. http://www.polyrents.com/
-- Yellow Glass Media creates and curates socially relevant and unbiased media content to inspire viewers to listen, learn and empathize. It was conceived by Nesrine Majzoub, sociology, and Daniel Hornett, civil engineering. http://www.yellowglassmedia.com/
About the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The CIE opens a world of entrepreneurial opportunity to Cal Poly students, faculty and community members, and promotes entrepreneurial activity and dialogue across the university and throughout San Luis Obispo County. For more information, go to http://cie.calpoly.edu/.
About the SLO HotHouse
The SLO HotHouse is a community space created through the efforts of Cal Poly, the city and county of San Luis Obispo, the business community and the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The goal of the SLO HotHouse is to support students and community members as they work to create new innovations and start business ventures. For more information, visit http://cie.calpoly.edu/slo-hothouse.
Front row (from left): Rafael Pintor, Sam Baber, Peter Haverkamp , Michael Fekadu, Haley Pavone, Tyler Unbehand and Nesrine Majzoub. Back row (from left): Neal Gorris, Jimmy Kang, Brett Foreman, Leonel Farias, Joseph Lyman, Cameron Wiese, Alexander Kavanaugh and Jose Urizar. Not pictured: Tanner Jolly and Daniel Hornett.