Whether it’s 7 a.m. or midnight, the Intego Sports team can usually be found in the Hatchery. From Elevator Pitch Competition and Startup Marathon, to now being part of the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) on-campus incubator, Intego Sports CEO Alexandra Joelson is on a path to turn her innovative footwear idea into a viable company.
“The top and bottom of cleats deteriorate at different rates,” she explained. “We are creating cleats with interchangeable soles, so you can just replace the part that wears down instead of buying a whole new pair of cleats.”
Joelson, a first-year business administration major, came to Cal Poly already passionate about solving this problem of quickly-deteriorating athletic footwear.
However, the San Diego native and her team didn’t make this idea come alive overnight. Joelson first took a slightly different idea she had started in high school to the Elevator Pitch Competition, winning the $1,000 prize. She then took her idea to Cal Poly Entrepreneurs’ Startup Marathon, where the all-freshman Intego Sports team was formed.
“There seemed to be a lot of traction for it and people seemed to like the idea, so I got involved in the CIE,” Joelson said of her original idea. “After talking to all of the advisors [in the Hatchery], we came up with a better solution and since me and part of my team play soccer, it was something we were all passionate about. We really want this problem to be solved.”
Joelson stressed how important it is to have a team of people with a common goal but diverse perspectives, even if that poses challenges.
Intego Sports consists of a business student, aerospace engineer, electrical engineer and a physics major, so their thought processes often differ. However, Joelson says having different minds come together is what helps them progress and grow.
“I think the biggest thing is making sure you’re solving the right problem and then making sure you have the right people to help you do it,” she explained. “As a CEO, I’ve been trying to make sure everyone is motivated and the advisors put us on the right path to get us to the right goals.”
Now that the Intego Sports team has come together and established their place in the Hatchery among several other student startups, what’s in store for them?
First, prototyping at the CIE’s on-campus Innovation Sandbox and filing for a provisional patent.
Then the team has plans to compete in Innovation Quest to win from $30,000 in cash prizes to help fund their startup, as well as apply for the HotHouse Summer Accelerator. Basically, Joelson and her team are ready to launch their business as soon as possible.
“We’d love to have inventory in our dorm rooms and be running a company out of yakʔitʸutʸu,” she joked. “But we’re all living in the [Cal Poly] Lofts next year as well. We all want to live together and take the company off the ground so we can be college grads with an income. That would be fantastic.”
Until all these future plans come together, though, the team is soaking up every moment in the Hatchery by taking advantage of their access to industry professionals, experienced entrepreneurial advisors and an inspiring community.
“Most people don’t have advice and advisors like this. Either you have to pay someone to do it or do a ton of research to find someone you actually trust, but everyone here truly cares about us and our success,” Joelson explained. “I get to meet a lot of great people and it’s a great place to work and a great environment.”
Joelson says that anyone with an entrepreneurial aspiration should apply to the Hatchery program because there aren’t any downfalls — just tons of resources and support in a program she dubs “the entrepreneurship hub.”
To stay updated on Intego Sport’s progress, visit https://www.integosports.com/ or find them on Instagram at @integosports. If you’re ready to get after your startup goals and learn more about the program, visit https://calpolycie.wpengine.com/prepare/hatchery/.