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Startup Companies Complete Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Incubator Program

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Nine startup companies with more than three dozen employees raised over $4.1 million in capital and successfully completed the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) Incubator program. Seven of the companies plan to continue to grow their ventures in San Luis Obispo County.

“The CIE Incubator program was essential in helping us raise $1.25 million and in pairing us with consultants who provided invaluable knowledge on web development, marketing and financial matters,” said Haley Pavone, founder and CEO of Pashion Footwear. “Being part of the incubator allowed us to launch this company remarkably fast and on a remarkably tight budget.”

The CIE Incubator is a two-year program designed to help startup companies get off the ground and become financially stable, high-growth enterprises. The program is open to students and community members. It provides expert counseling, mentorship, workshops, monthly peer-to-peer roundtable discussions, an advisory board for each startup, participation in pitch events, and seed-funding resources.

“Startups play a critical role in the growth of our economy,” said CIE Economic Development Director Judy Mahan. “We are proud to drive entrepreneurship forward, and we are committed to building an environment that will help nurture innovative ideas and facilitate success. After working closely with these companies over the course of their development, we are excited to see where the future takes them.”

The companies graduating from the CIE Incubator program include:

— Arkitu, a software for farmers markets. (www.arkitu.co)
— DTE Materials, which manufactures hemp-based, high-performance, nontoxic and sustainable building insulation material. (www.dtematerials.com)
— Inspired Flight Technologies, a U.S.-based manufacturer of commercial unmanned aerial systems for industrial drone applications. (www.inspiredflight.com)
— Motoroso, a market network website to help automotive enthusiasts plan, build and share their dream vehicle projects. Motoroso helps enthusiasts find inspiration through content and purchase parts through the first dedicated marketplace for the $80 billion auto enthusiast segment. (www.motoroso.com)
— Pashion Footwear, an innovative fashion-tech company that has created the world’s first fully convertible high heels. (www.pashionfootwear.com)
— PolyRents, which bolts on to landlords’ existing tenant acquisition process, giving landlords the data they need to find the best tenants and avoid costly property damage and evictions.
(https://polyrents.com)
— Savvy Leadership Academy, an educational and retail company with a mission to empower today’s youth with the tools they need to become tomorrow’s leaders. Fun and engaging products help children develop social and emotional learning, build confidence, and reinforce life skills through peer interaction and mentorship.
— The Lens, which democratizes the news but tells global stories from local perspectives. (www.thelens.online)
— Wildnote, a platform that replaces manual processes with automation to better manage environmental compliance. (www.wildnoteapp.com)

Startups participating in the incubator program are able to utilize all CIE resources available in the SLO HotHouse and HotHouse Annex, such as office space, conference rooms, an invaluable peer network, and the Cal Poly Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which in 2018 helped companies raise $21 million in capital.

“The CIE gave us a place to work, along with crucial advice on how to go from an idea to an actual company, and helped us stay focused,” said Marc Stollmeyer, CEO and co-founder of Inspired Flight Technologies.

Startups interested in applying for the incubator program, should go to http://cie.calpoly.edu/launch/hothouse-incubator.

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. For more information, go to cie.calpoly.edu.

Contact: Candice Conti
805-756-5106, clconti@calpoly.edu

December 10, 2019

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Cal Poly Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Opens a Manufacturing Lab Available to Entrepreneurs

Contact: Candice Conti

805-756-5171; clconti@calpoly.edu

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) has opened a new facility to expand opportunities for new products, ideas and companies on the Central Coast.

The new 4,100-square-foot space, named the HotHouse Annex, is at 75 Higuera St., in the Pacific Coast Center, in San Luis Obispo. The space will serve to provide a regional entrepreneurial ecosystem, expand entrepreneurial infrastructure, and promote commercialization of products while continuing the CIE’s mission of developing potential new companies — all to help mitigate the economic impact to the region as Pacific Gas & Electric Co. implements the decommissioning process of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant.

“The HotHouse Annex will allow the CIE to expand its programming into the manufacturing sector so that we can help to create a more diversified and resilient local economy,” said CIE Executive Director Tod Nelson. “This project is expected to generate significant impacts for the economic health and vitality of the Central Coast while increasing the CIE’s already-substantial role in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.”

The new facility includes a lab for product development that allows for prototyping and early-stage manufacturing. Startups will also have access to CIE resources that include mentors, Advisory Board and connections to angel investors and seed-fund resources.

In addition, entrepreneurs will be able to apply for the CIE Accelerator and Incubator programs as well as the Small Business Development Center — a CIE-hosted program.

The center received the $500,000 grant last fall from the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Assistance Program to help fund a lab that will create opportunities for entrepreneurs, including community members, students and faculty, to develop new technologies and accelerate into the commercial sector by forming startup companies.

Adding more strength to the program is a partnership between the CIE and the SLO MakerSpace — an open, collaborative shop and craft center where participants can build projects, teach and take classes, and network with others interested in making things. Startups in the CIE Accelerator and Incubator programs will have access to the SLO MakerSpace, which is equipped with a wide range of woodworking and metalworking tools, ceramics studio, electronics lab, 3-D printers, music studio and more.

“We are proud to partner with the Cal Poly CIE,” said Lorelei Sibet, SLO MakerSpace founding board member. “This is a positive step and powerful addition to diversifying jobs in San Luis Obispo County. Together, we will enable entrepreneurs, startups and innovators to expand locally so they can be a benefit to our communities future job growth.”

The funding for this project will expand the CIE’s focus to include community entrepreneurs and encompass high-tech hardware, software and specialized manufacturing technologies.

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. For more information, go to cie.calpoly.edu.

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Cal Poly Center Named Finalist for National Entrepreneurship Award

The Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) is one of two finalists for the 2018 National Model Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Program award offered by the nation’s largest organization of teachers, scholars and practitioners in entrepreneurship.

The winner will be announced Jan. 14 during the annual conference of the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship in Los Angeles. The other finalist is the Syracuse University.

“Regardless of what happens, this is a prestigious honor for our program,” said Jonathan York, CIE interim executive director and co-founder. “This recognition indicates that we are at the leading edge in our comprehensive approach to entrepreneurship education, and it is very gratifying for our efforts to be validated by our peers.”

USASBE, with more than 1,000 members from universities and colleges, for-profit businesses, nonprofit organizations and the public sector, is the largest independent, professional, academic organization dedicated to advancing entrepreneurship.

The Model Program award is given annually to a university entrepreneurship program that offers high-quality innovative programs to educate and develop future generations of entrepreneurs. Programs are evaluated on innovation, quality, comprehensiveness, sustainability, transferability, depth of support and impact.

Past award winners include San Diego State University, Baylor University, the University of Tampa, Wake Forest University, Oklahoma State University and Ball State to name a few.

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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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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Cal Poly Announces Companies Selected for SLO HotHouse Program

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) has accepted eight startup companies into this year’s SLO HotHouse Summer Accelerator program, an intense 13-week program designed for students and recent graduates who have developed new ventures and want help making them succeed.

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Cal Poly’s Innovation Quest Competition Awards $30,000 to Student Startups

SAN LUIS OBISPO — An interdisciplinary team of four Cal Poly students earned the $15,000 first-place prize in Cal Poly’s 13th annual Innovation Quest (iQ) Competition for their startup Mantis Composites, a company that is developing carbon fiber 3-D printing technology to provide full service design-to-manufacturing of high performance materials for automotive, aerospace and biomedical applications.

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Cal Poly Summer Camp Teaches Kids Fundamental Building Blocks of Business

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) and Extended Education are accepting applications for Launch It!, a five-day summer entrepreneurship camp for kids in grades five through eight.

Students in the Launch It! program will be introduced to the concept of innovation and entrepreneurship in a fun and engaging way. Through hands-on, team-based activities, students will learn about the process of customer development, marketing and basic finance. They will learn how to identify and solve problems, build a prototype, and pitch a product.

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