Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Menu

News

Cal Poly Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Adds New Faculty Fellows to Inspire Startups and Innovation

New cohort includes three College of Engineering faculty members and one from the College of Science and Mathematics

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship has added four educators to its Faculty Fellows advisor program to inspire startups.

The latest fellows include College of Engineering faculty members Hani Alzraiee (civil engineering) Lauren Cooper (mechanical engineering), Chris Heylman (biomedical engineering) along with Javin Oza (chemistry and biochemistry) from the College of Science and Mathematics.

The CIE was formed in 2010 to provide students with the tools needed to develop the skills and cultivate the mindset of an entrepreneur. Since then, more than 100 startups have been created, along with over 1,000 jobs.

Cooper said that becoming a faculty fellow will provide her the skills to infuse more entrepreneurship and innovation into her classes.

“I became a faculty fellow because innovation excites me — I love coming up with crazy ideas!” Cooper said. “For me, the community of CIE faculty fellows and students feels like a ‘safe’ place to share my ideas and encourage the ideas of others.”

The CIE Faculty Fellow program began in 2012 to help build the university’s entrepreneurship culture. Many fellows bring their own startup and innovation experience to the assignment.

“Our technical expertise and frequent interaction with members of industry can help us to guide students to best identify needs in the market to pursue,” Heylman said. “Additionally, many of the CIE faculty fellows are former and/or current entrepreneurs themselves, who have walked the same path and can share their best practices and missteps with students.”

Teaching biomedical senior design and fostering the development of potential new products, Heylman has witnessed plenty of student potential — and is excited to nurture it even more.

“I’ve had the opportunity to see some of the technology and devices designed and manufactured in senior design continue their development as part of student-founded businesses,” he said.

While many students have excellent ideas that can lead to businesses, Alzraiee said, they often need help – something faculty fellows can provide.

“Many students are not aware of the available resources at Cal Poly in the area of innovation and entrepreneurship,” he said. “As a CIE faculty fellow, I am looking to direct our students to these opportunities and help them break the silo so they can build stronger and more collaborative relationships with students and faculty from other departments.”

The CIE also encourages faculty fellows to work with each other. Cooper, for example, is already working with fellows from architecture and agribusiness on a project designing spaces that will encourage mental wellness.

While that is a specific idea, Cooper said, students don’t need to come to CIE with a solid plan.

“Students can join the community without needing to have some ‘big idea,’” Cooper said. “They can come with just a curious spirit and a desire to learn about innovation, entrepreneurship — and to find new friends.”

The real-world experience students get at the CIE helps instill an entrepreneurial mindset that will be helpful even if they don’t launch startups, said John Townsend, CIE’s executive director.

“That mindset makes them more resourceful, collaborative and emotionally ready to be a highly valued member at their employer of choice,” Townsend said.

At the same time, several businesses have sprung from the CIE that could have a wide impact. Those include Flume, which has created a device to help customers measure water usage; NeoCharge, which offers a way to share power between an electric car and a clothes dryer; and De Oro Devices’ product that helps patients with Parkinson’s disease overcome a condition, known as “freezing of gait,” that impacts their ability to walk.

While CIE works with students from all colleges, engineering students are most represented, he said.

“Engineering students work with their peers from each of the other colleges to solve real problems,” he said. “It’s a powerful combination of talent with no bounds to success.”

Engineering is also well represented among faculty fellows with Bob Crocket (associate dean for innovation infrastructure, 2012-13), Dale Dolan (electrical, 2014-15), David Janzen (computer science, 2015-16), Lynne Slivovsky (computer engineering, 2016-17), and Michael Whitt (biomedical, 2018-19).

Photo information: The newest faculty fellows at Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship include four faculty members from the Cal Poly’s College of Engineering, from left, Chris Heylman (biomedical engineering), Lauren Cooper (mechanical engineering), Javin Oza (chemistry and biochemistry) and Hani Alzraiee (civil engineering).

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

# # #

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

Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Announces Interim Director

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

SAN LUIS OBISPO — John Townsend, a senior executive with over three decades of entrepreneurial technology and business leadership experience, has been named interim executive director of the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE).

Townsend will lead the center’s strategic direction, program development, fundraising and relations with relevant academic programs as well as its network of partners, donors and sponsors.

“The university is dedicated to empowering people on and off campus with the skills and networks necessary to drive innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Orfalea College of Business Dean Scott Dawson. “As a seasoned business executive, an entrepreneur who has launched and mentored multiple ventures, and an educator, John brings a wealth of experience.”

Townsend, who was named to the post May 31, has served as a global partner at Arthur Andersen Business Consulting, one of the world’s largest global strategy and information technology-consulting firms. He has worked with high-profile clients such as: Oakley Inc., General Motors, Northrop Grumman Corp., Mitsubishi Motors Corp., The Boeing Co., Toshiba Corp. and Southern California Edison.

He has served on senior management teams for public and private companies and started his own consulting practice, through which he advised tech-based and early-stage startup companies. Townsend also co-taught and mentored student-led startups as the Executive in Residence for the Rady School of Management’s MBA Lab to Market course at UC San Diego.

“I am thrilled to take on this role at the CIE,” Townsend said. “Having served as an instructor and mentor for a few years in Cal Poly’s entrepreneurship academies, I have seen firsthand how the CIE is connecting the university to our regional community in order to create opportunities so the Central Coast can be a hub for innovation and entrepreneurial activities as it becomes a premier spot for startups.”

Townsend is a faculty member in the college’s specialty of entrepreneurship curricula and part of its Executive Partner Program designed to mentor students as they navigate their way through school. For more than three years, he also served as a CIE lead mentor for startups participating in the center’s Hatchery and the HotHouse programs.

Townsend has a bachelor’s degree in business, management information systems from Cal Poly, and he holds a number of professional certifications from the Arthur Andersen Center for Professional Education.

Townsend succeeds Tod Nelson, who served as executive director from July 2015 until May.

A search committee comprising campus and key community members is conducting a national search for a permanent CIE executive director.

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, visit: https://cie.calpoly.edu/.

 

Cal Poly Announces HotHouse Summer Accelerator Program’s 2019 Cohort

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) has accepted seven startup companies into the 2019 HotHouse Summer Accelerator program. The intense 12-week program is designed for students and recent graduates who have developed new ventures and need funding and CIE resources to help launch their companies.

The program provides these teams with $10,000 in capital, plus hands-on strategic business guidance from faculty and mentors, dedicated office space in the HotHouse, and weekly programming. Accelerator companies will also receive training, introduction to investors and resources to help advance their startups.

The CIE Accelerator program will begin June 17. At its conclusion, participants will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to investors during Demo Day, to be held Sept. 6 at the Fremont Theater in downtown San Luis Obispo.

The startups represent a variety of concepts, including a customizable camper shell, an ethical online marketplace platform, and innovative furniture with a mission.

“The teams chosen for this year’s program make up a remarkably innovative group of people prepared to take on the entrepreneurial world and make both local and global changes,” said Joanne Feeney, director of student innovation programs. “The accelerator program will enhance the groups’ business model development, operational skills, and pitching techniques to best represent their companies.”

Twenty-three startup representing disciplines from across Cal Poly’s campus applied to compete for one of seven available spots in this year’s accelerator program. Twelve finalists presented their ideas to a panel of judges who selected the final seven companies:

— Armadillo Designs is creating the All-Access Camper, which is a customizable camper shell with a convertible roof. The camper is the creation of manufacturing engineering junior Samuel Hunt and Bradley Bowman, a business administration junior.

— Ethic Marketplace is an ethical and sustainable online marketplace platform with a mission to inspire and enable conscious consumerism that factors in social, environmental, ecological, and political impacts. The platform was created by liberal arts and engineering studies senior Garrett Perkins, and architecture junior Jess Corr.

— Ropegun is a fitness tracker, route-guide and social media platform for climbers created by graphic communications graduate Joseph Sobrero and Nathaniel Furbeyre, a  mechanical engineer graduate.

— Totem is an augmented reality festival experience platform that elevates the festival experience for attendees and organizers alike. The platform is the brainchild of Tal Kornfeld and Rémi Crosetti, both business administration seniors, and Morgan Buss, a mechanical engineering junior.

— Tulum Cosmetics is a direct-to-consumer matte liquid lipstick containing the medical treatment to heal and conceal cold sores. The lipstick is conceived by Emily Penuen, business administration graduate, and Megan Steiger, art and design junior.

— Tunmi Da Silva Designs is a brand of custom furniture with more than a functional purpose. The furniture is the creation of Tunmi Da Silva, an architecture graduate.

— Wayve Filtration is a portable, handheld water filter that can attach to any sink or spout, providing travelers with a convenient solution for obtaining clean water wherever they go. The device was conceived by graduate Sierra Scolaro, business administration; senior Zachary Pollatsek, mechanical engineering; and graduate Jonah Heath, industrial engineering.

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 https://cie.calpoly.edu/.

About the HotHouse

The 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 HotHouse is to support the students and community members as they work to create new innovations and start business ventures. For more information, visit http://cie.calpoly.edu/hothouse.

Photo information: Accelerator.jpg

Front row (from left): Samuel Hunt, Sierra Scolaro, Zachary Pollatsek, Nathaniel Furbeyre, Emily Penuen, Tal Kornfeld, Tunmi Da Silva. Back row (from left): Bradley Bowman, Jonah Heath, Joseph Sobrero, Megan Steiger, Rémi Crosetti, Garrett Perkins. Not pictured: Jess Corr and Morgan Buss.

Contact: Candice Conti

805-756-5106; clconti@calpoly.edu

# # #

Cal Poly’s CIE to Host Spring Entrepreneurship Forum Featuring Alumnus, Olympian and Startup Founder Simon Arkell on May 14

Keynote to include discussion on AI and big data; event will also reveal newest class of student entrepreneurs to join CIE’s Summer HotHouse Accelerator program

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will host its annual Spring Entrepreneurship Forum on Tuesday, May 14, to discuss the ever-increasing role of artificial intelligence in the startup world and announce the student-founded startups selected for the CIE’s summer HotHouse Startup Accelerator program.

Attendees will learn about the growing importance of embracing and mastering big data and artificial intelligence in the startup world.

Simon Arkell will break down the intimidating subject of AI and share insights about how it can be leveraged in any startup. Arkell is a two-time pole vault Olympian (Australia) and president and co-founder of Deep Lens, an artificial intelligence software company providing a deep learning-based digital pathology platform to hospitals worldwide,

Prior to Deep Lens, the Cal Poly alumnus (MBA, ’94) was founding CEO of Predixion Software Inc., a predictive analytics platform software company, before Greenwave Systems Inc. acquired it in 2016. Predixion, which was named a visionary for advanced analytics by Gartner Inc., had raised more than $46 million from strategic and venture investors including General Electric Co., Accenture, Dell EMC and Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

“The CIE is proud to help our community stay on the cutting-edge of technology,” said CIE Executive Director Tod Nelson. “Big data isn’t going away anytime soon, and this forum is designed to make it feel more accessible.”

In addition, forum attendees will have an opportunity to see and meet budding entrepreneurs at the very start of the entrepreneurial process. Cal Poly student entrepreneurs will unveil their business plans to the community, marking the start of their 13-week journey in CIE’s summer accelerator program where the students and alumni hone in their business ideas, work with mentors, attend weekly workshops and have access to $10,000 in seed funding to kick-start their businesses.

During the P.E.N. (Pitches, Exhibits, Networking) portion of the evening, the 2019 CIE HotHouse Accelerator companies will be introduced, followed by “Business Card Hustle,” a game in which accelerator companies compete for resources by collecting as many business cards from attendees as they can.

Glenn Burdette, a San Luis Obispo-based CPA, Bank of America, SLO Seed Venture and Pacific Premier Bank are sponsoring the Spring Entrepreneurship Forum. Advance registration for the forum is required. For more information and to register, visit https://mayforum2019.eventbrite.com.

# # #

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.

# # #

Cal Poly CIE Welcomes Three Professors to the Faculty Fellows Program

The new 2018-19 CIE Faculty Fellows, from left to right, are Bo Liu, Michael Whitt and Erik Sapper.

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) has named three professors to its multidisciplinary cohort of Faculty Fellows, a program that is helping build the entrepreneurship culture at Cal Poly.

Three of Cal Poly’s six colleges are represented in this new group of fellows: Bo Liu of the BioResource and Agricultural Engineering Department in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences; Erik Sapper of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department in the College of Science and Mathematics; and Michael Whitt of the Biomedical Engineering Department in the College of Engineering.

These new CIE Faculty Fellows become part of an interdisciplinary community that is committed to inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs. They join a contingent of 18 other Faculty Fellows all working to raise awareness for the center’s programs and provide guidance to students and faculty with an interest in innovation and entrepreneurship.

“This year’s cohort of Faculty Fellows is particularly exciting, because it reaches across three colleges at Cal Poly and continues the deep interdisciplinary focus of the program,” said Jonathan York, CIE co-founder and academic director. “Each year, the Faculty Fellows program grows stronger and creates even more opportunities for students across the campus to build skills in innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Liu believes CIE programs embody Cal Poly Learn by Doing philosophy, and he hopes to provide an opportunity for ideas that sprout in university classrooms to be nurtured and converted into action. Likewise, Whitt said he will focus on helping students transform problems into solutions that also have commercial potential. Sapper is integrating entrepreneurial thinking into the courses he teaches and will focus on empowering undergraduates and master’s degree chemists to create innovative companies.

“I am very excited to be joining the CIE as a Faculty Fellow,” said Sapper, an assistant professor of Western Coasting Technology Center who obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Cal Poly in 2007. “Apart from the great opportunity to meet and engage with entrepreneurial students and faculty colleagues across campus, this program also provides me with resources needed to champion entrepreneurship within the College of Science and Mathematics, where those sorts of career paths are generally overshadowed by more traditional graduate school or industrial options.”

The CIE Faculty Fellows program began in 2012. The 2018-19 fellows join: David Askay, communication studies; Philip Barlow, construction management; Enrica Costello, art and design; Bob Crockett, biomedical engineering; Ahmed Deif, industrial technology and packaging; Graham Doig, aerospace engineering; Dale Dolan, electrical engineering; Lorraine Donegan and Charmaine Farber, both graphic communication; Mary Glick, journalism; Brian Granger, physics; David Janzen, computer science; Lynn Metcalf, entrepreneurship; Stern Neill, marketing; Clare Olsen, architecture; Christiane Schroeter, agribusiness; Lynne Slivovsky, computer engineering; Taryn Stanko, management and human resources; and Umut Toker, architecture.

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.

# # #

Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to Host Elevator Pitch Competition Forum on Nov. 7 at the Performing Arts Center

The Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will host the ninth annual Elevator Pitch Competition Forum, a fast-paced contest for Cal Poly and Cuesta College entrepreneurs, on Wednesday, Nov. 7, in the Performing Arts Center on the Cal Poly campus.

The forum — free, open to the public — will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Students will have 90 seconds each to pitch their cutting-edge innovations and business ideas. Judges will select two winners; one from Cal Poly and another from Cuesta. Each winner will receive $1,000. The audience will pick an overall “audience choice” winner that will receive $500.

AJ Forsythe, the co-founder and CEO of iCracked, is the keynote speaker. He won the first annual Elevator Pitch Competition in 2010 with a proposal for an on-demand smartphone repair network. What was once a Cal Poly student-founded startup with Forsythe as its first iTech has evolved into a multimillion-dollar company with more than 70 employees. In the past eight years, iCracked has attracted some 5,000 iTechs who have performed nearly 774,000 repairs across the nation. Forsythe will discuss iCracked’s transition from startup to success.

The Elevator Pitch Competition forum is sponsored by Cuesta College, Wells Fargo, SESLOC Federal Credit Union, the law firm of Carmel and Naccasha, and Relentless Management Group. Advance registration for the competition is required. For more information about the event and to register, visit https://epc18.eventbrite.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. For more information, go to cie.calpoly.edu.

# # #

Contact: Candice Conti

805-756-5171; clconti@calpoly.edu

 

 

Cal Poly to Host Demo Day Event on Sept. 14

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) will host its annual Demo Day on Friday, Sept. 14, at the Fremont Theater in downtown San Luis Obispo.

The event culminates CIE’s 2018 HotHouse Summer Accelerator program — an intense 13-week program that helps students and recent graduates who have developed new products and ventures. Representatives of the eight participating companies will give demonstrations and pitches and answer questions about their entrepreneurial efforts.

The summer accelerator program provides $10,000 in seed money to each company, hands-on strategic business guidance from Cal Poly faculty and mentors as well as dedicated office space at the HotHouse. The entrepreneurs receive training, introductions to investors, and resources to help move their startup forward.

The CIE Accelerators constantly worked and pivoted throughout the program, and the startups are seeing this pay off.

“Being in the HotHouse Accelerator program this year has allowed our team to cultivate our company culture,” said Shaun Wixted, co-founder of Lost Coast Surf Tech. “We have learned who we are as a company and what we represent while building our technology.”

This year’s accelerator companies include a variety of industries and disciplines, making it a unique cohort. They include:

— NeoCharge creates solutions that improve the ease of use and ownership experience for electric vehicle owners. Its first product, the NeoCharge One, is a simple and affordable way for EV owners to get access to fast charging at home.

— BooBees is a women-empowering surf company that provides sustainable products such as a beeswax-based surf wax to replace petroleum products. www.surfboobees.com

— Clove is an automated smart appliance that allows people who love food and cooking culture to grow a sustainable supply of fresh herbs and produce in their home. www.growclove.com

— Fauna Farms helps mitigate the environmental crisis through agriculture by providing farmers with a marketplace to consistently sell responsibly raised animals, and consumers with a reliable way to eat meat responsibly. www.faunafarms.com

— De Oro Devices is creating innovative technology to improve the quality of life for people afflicted with Parkinson’s disease. Their device utilizes audio and visual cues that are clinically proven to help individuals with Parkinson’s overcome freezing of gait, one of the most common and debilitating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. www.deorodevices.com

— Lost Coast is an emerging surf company that develops premiere equipment. Their first product will be a high-performance surfboard fin with activity tracking technology, allowing surfers to push past their ceilings via the fin design and data. www.lostcoastsurf.tech

— Roopairs is an equipment management platform that enables restaurant owners and managers to track repairs and maintenance history, while also providing a simple process for hiring service providers when equipment breaks down. www.roopairs.com

— Sex.E provides sexual health and gender-based violence education through live sketch comedy shows and online content. www.sexe-education.com

Demo Day is sponsored by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Professional Corporation.  The Sept. 14 event is free and open to the public; advance registration is required. For more information and to register, go to 2018demoday.eventbrite.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. 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 the students and community members as they work to create new innovations and start business ventures. For more information, visit cie.calpoly.edu/slo-hothouse.

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

August 30, 2018
 

Cal Poly Announces SLO HotHouse Summer Accelerator Program’s 2018 Cohort

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

 

Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) has accepted eight 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 that need funding and CIE resources to help launch their companies.

The program provides $10,000 in capital, plus hands-on strategic business guidance from faculty and mentors, weekly programming and dedicated office space in the SLO HotHouse. Companies receive training, introductions to investors, and resources to help move their startups forward. At the end of the program, participants will have an opportunity to pitch their ideas to investors during Demo Day, to be held in September.

The startups represent a variety of concepts, including a women-empowering surf wax, innovative electric vehicle charger, a medical device to help Parkinson’s patients, and sketch comedy used to educate.

“We have an exceptional group of innovators ready to tackle the startup world so they can grow and make a lasting impact locally, nationally and throughout the world,” said Lori Jordan, director of student innovation programs. “Throughout the program, companies will develop their business model, learn how to operate a business, and practice telling their story so they can pitch their company.”

 

Applicants representing disciplines from across campus competed for one of eight available spots in this year’s accelerator program. Thirteen finalists presented their ideas to a panel of judges, who chose the final eight companies earlier this month.

“Our accelerator program rapidly increases the odds of each startup’s success, said Jonathan York,” CIE co-founder and interim executive director. “It’s where entrepreneurs come to create the innovative companies that will better our world.”

This year’s accelerator companies are:

– Amped Accessories is an innovative and inexpensive solution that provides access to fast electrical vehicle charging at home. It was conceived by seniors Ryan Amesbury, business administration; Spencer Harrison, industrial and manufacturing engineering; and Akhil Veluru, computer engineering.

– BooBees is the world’s first commercially viable, environmentally sustainable and women-empowered surf wax. It was created by Rose Badrigian, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology in December, and co-founder Isaac Wilkie.

– Clove is a device that with little to no user interaction automatically grows and maintains up to 24 plants for culinary use. Conceived by business administration seniors A.J. Gankhuyag and Kieran Scandrett; Alexander Decker, a mechanical engineering senior; and Aaron Quinn, a biomedical engineering senior.

– Fauna Farms is a marketplace for small, sustainable ranchers to consistently sell their meat to local markets. It was started by seniors Arash Goshtasbi, animal science, and Paul Studer, computer science.

– Gaitway is a medical device with multiple audio-visual stimuli capabilities that can be attached to any cane or walker to help individuals with Parkinson’s overcome freezing of gait. The device is the brainchild of seniors Sidney Collin, biomedical engineering, and Adam Schwartz, business administration.

– Lost Coast Surf Tech has designed the world’s best performing surfboard fin with smart tracking features integrated into a comprehensive mobile app. Graduate aerospace engineering majors Shaun Wixted and Brandon Baldovin developed the technology. https://www.lostcoastsurf.tech

– Roopairs is a business-to-business, mobile “on-demand” platform that connects restaurants with service workers so commercial equipment is properly maintained and repaired at all times. The platform was started by seniors David Bartolomucci, business administration, and Tommy Jara, agricultural business, along with co-founder Ray Bartolomucci.

– Sex.E provides sex education and gender-based violence education to institutions through sketch comedy shows, online sketch videos and social media content. Brianna Rodebaugh, a mechanical engineering senior, and Jacob Corsaro, who graduated from Cal Poly in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in communications, conceived this startup.

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.

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 the 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.

Photo information: Accelerator.jpg — Front row (from left): Arlo Rudy, Brianna Rodebaugh, Rose Badrigian and Aaron Quinn. Middle row (from left): Arash Goshtasbi, Kieran Scandrett, Alexander Decker, Andrew Lam, Brandon Baldovin and Tynan Guerra. Back row (from left): Paul Studer, Spencer Harrison, Ryan Amesbury, Sidney Collin, Shaun Wixted, Tommy Jara,

Raymond Bartolomucci, David Bartolomucci and Therin Heryford.

# # #

1 2 3 7