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Cal Poly Adds Seven Startups to SLO HotHouse Summer Accelerator Program

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.

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2017 Innovation Quest Finalists

The Innovation Quest finalists have been announced. Check out the following list and find out who will be competing for the $15,000 grand prize this spring:

Alfa Grey Technologies: researches and develops technologies which protect the first-responders and servicemen and women who keep our families safe.

Archer Components: develops bicycle add-ons that transform any cable-driven shifting mechanism into a high precision, cable-free, Bluetooth operated, shifting system.

Atsá Foods LLC: an innovative foods company that incorporates Native American superfoods into everyday snacks.

Brandplug: allows marketers to lower their social media celebrity marketing costs by more than 50% by using our novel pay-per-impression social media celebrity marketing platform.

Current Solutions: the first comprehensive personal security solution for college-aged women who feel unsafe walking alone at night and parents who are worried for their children’s safety that integrates all four layers of security: deter, defend, respond, and record; It does this by automatically dispatching police to a user’s exact GPS location, notifying loved ones of the user’s situation, alerting the nearby Current community, and recording audio and video.

DTE Materials: manufactures high performing hemp building insulation sustainably from plant to home.

Fitmi: a smart mirror that provides a quick, holistic review of health and progress.

Grow Nodes: a wifi connected automated cannabis growing system that makes growing easy for anyone by constantly monitoring and adjusting the plants environment and notifying the user through the mobile app whenever the plant needs tending.

Pashion Footwear: an innovative fashion startup working to create a “practical and fashionable” approach to the classic stiletto heel -- an adaptable shoe that can fully convert from a pump into a sandal.

PCkit: helps people build their own powerful, affordable gaming computers optimized to the specific video games they want to play.

PolyRents: simplifies the housing rental process for landlords, property managers, and tenants.

SharedElements: a platform that vertically integrates solutions for entrepreneurship.

SpotDrop: creates an adaptable smart irrigation system for vineyard managers who want to save water and increases the quality and yield of their crop by enabling vine-by-vine control and eliminating irrigation inefficiencies.

Cal Poly Hosts Entrepreneurship Forum Focused on Customer Experience

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will host a panel of entrepreneurs at the “Customer Craze: Make Them Obsessed With Your Company” forum on Tuesday, Feb. 7, in the Cal Poly Performing Arts Center.

The theme of the entrepreneurship forum, which is free and open to the public, is the customer experience counts even more than price, product or promotions. The forum will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The evening’s panel discussion will focus on customer experience, relationship management and growing a customer base. Panelists include Jodi Andrews, CEO/co-founder of ProTrials Research Inc., a San Jose-based leader in clinical research; Darrell Rodriguez, CEO of castAR, a Palo Alto-based technology startup developing augmented reality and virtual reality glasses; Michael Jones, founder of Azhiaziam International, a Morro Bay-based surf apparel brand and shop; and Steve Beck, venture partner for Champaign, Il.-based Serra Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm investing in technology companies. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask them questions.

“The forum series brings together community members and up-and-coming entrepreneurs,” said Tod Nelson, CIE executive director. “It creates an opportunity for people to connect with others in the entrepreneurship world and learn invaluable insider tips.”

The event kicks off with the P.E.N. (Pitches, Exhibits, Networking), from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m., where attendees will participate in a “Business Slogan Bingo” game where they match slogans with company names for the chance to win prizes.

Community members interested in supporting entrepreneurship and innovation at Cal Poly can become Pioneer Pass Holders with a pledge of $100. The annual pass gives a member expedited registration and access to special industry events.

Advance registration is required. For more details and to register, visit https://febforum17.eventbrite.com.

About the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The CIE opens a world of entrepreneurial opportunity to Cal Poly students and faculty members and promotes entrepreneurial activity and dialogue across the university and throughout San Luis Obispo County. For more information, visit cie.calpoly.edu.

About the SLO HotHouse

The SLO HotHouse is a community space created through the efforts of Cal Poly and 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 create new innovations and start business ventures. For more information, visit http://cie.calpoly.edu/slo-hothouse.

New SLO HotHouse Offers Community Coworking Space in Downtown San Luis Obispo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2017

Contact: Candice Conti
805-756-5171; clconti@calpoly.edu

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), which is providing workplace solutions for freelancers, startups and entrepreneurs, has space for new members at its new SLO HotHouse location in the heart of downtown.

Business professionals looking for a welcoming coworking space to set up shop with other business-minded members, a place to launch the next big idea or American dream, or a convenient place to meet with clients, now have affordable solutions.

The CIE SLO HotHouse offers its members a comfortable work environment with fast Internet, 24/7 access, educational and social events plus business consulting at an all-inclusive price. Members also have access to meeting rooms, high-quality printers and a full kitchen with premium coffee.

With more than 15,000-square-feet of space, the SLO HotHouse offers flexible short- and long-term memberships, an open area for coworking as well as a private phone booth, a lounge, three conference rooms, private offices, dedicated desk spaces and event space.

“As hotel brokers, the Hothouse has provided us with an energetic and progressive environment for building our business,” said Aaron Graves, principal of California Hotel Brokers and a SLO HotHouse coworker. “We are able to collaborate with other companies involved in technology, tourism and sustainability all under one roof. The input from other cutting-edge entrepreneurs helps to challenge us, and forces California Hotel Brokers to become the best in the industry.”

The SLO HotHouse is a community hub with more than 50 individuals and over two-dozen companies working out of the space. Members include experts in real estate, marketing, law, photography, and development.

“The SLO HotHouse was created for the community,” said Tod Nelson, CIE executive director. “San Luis Obispo is full of talented entrepreneurs and visionaries and the SLO HotHouse provides a collaborative environments. Our coworking space is a melting pot of creativity that generates a level of synergy that results from the proximity and collaboration of like-minded people. New relationships are developed. Ideas are challenged. Problems are solved.”

The SLO HotHouse is at 872 Higuera St. in downtown San Luis Obispo. For more information, go to http://cie.calpoly.edu/slo-hothouse.

 

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 by promoting entrepreneurial activity and dialogue across the university and throughout San Luis Obispo County. For more information, go to cie.calpoly.edu.

About the SLO HotHouse
The SLO HotHouse is a community space created through the efforts of Cal Poly and 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 create new innovations and start business ventures.

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Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to Celebrate New SLO HotHouse Location Nov. 15

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 1, 2016

Contact: Candice Conti

805-756-5171; clconti@calpoly.edu

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) will host a grand opening from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, to celebrate its new 15,000-square-foot SLO HotHouse location in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo.

The SLO HotHouse is a collaborative effort with the county, city and local business community aimed at supporting innovators and entrepreneurs to build a unique startup culture in San Luis Obispo County.

“The grand opening of the SLO HotHouse is a major investment in the future of San Luis Obispo that will benefit our community for generations,” said CIE Executive Director Tod Nelson. “Working with our partners in the county, city, and the business community, the possibilities are limitless. Increasing economic development opportunities will have a ripple effect across our region.”

Attendees to the grand opening celebration will tour the biggest tech startup community in San Luis Obispo and have the opportunity to speak to the innovative individuals in the SLO HotHouse Incubator, a two-year program for Cal Poly students and recent graduates devoted to transforming their businesses from startup to sustainable.

Entrepreneurs can also learn about all the CIE programs and resources available to them at SLO HotHouse. They include the new business incubator — now open to community startups, expanded co-working services, and the Small Business Development Center, which helps startups and established companies launch businesses, attract capital investment, and create jobs.

“The partnership the county has made with the SLO HotHouse is even more important now, in the light of the announced closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant,” said County Supervisor Adam Hill. “Everyone we speak to is very pleased to know we are working together to help young companies.”

Heritage Oaks Bank is sponsoring the event. The public is invited to the SLO HotHouse Grand Opening at 872 Higuera St., directly above the Ross Dress for Less store. Advance registration is required. To register, go to https://slohothousegrandopening.eventbrite.com.

For more information on the SLO HotHouse programs and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, visit cie.calpoly.edu.

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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 by promoting entrepreneurial activity and dialogue across the university and throughout San Luis Obispo County. For more information, go to cie.calpoly.edu.

About the SLO HotHouse

The SLO HotHouse is a community space created through the efforts of Cal Poly and 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 create new innovations and start business ventures.

 

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