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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.

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Cal Poly to Host Entrepreneurship Forum Introducing New Round of SLO HotHouse Accelerators on May 15

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will announce the student-founded startups selected for the SLO HotHouse Summer Accelerator program during an entrepreneurship forum on Tuesday, May 15, in the Performing Arts Center San Luis Obispo on the university campus.

Entrepreneurs from each Cal Poly startup will introduce to the community the business ideas they expect to hone over the 13-week program. The Summer Accelerator gives Cal Poly students and recent alumni access to hands-on mentorship, weekly workshops and access to $10,000 in seed funding to start building their business.

The student entrepreneurs will be joined by panelist Joel Flory, a Cal Poly alumnus who co
-founded VSCO, a smartphone photo application. VSCO has been named Apple’s “App of the Year,” Google Play’s “Best Apps of 2015” and Fast Company’s “Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Social Media.”

Flory, the Oakland-based company’s CEO, leads the firm on its mission to “equip, educate and inspire anyone on the journey toward reaching their creative potential.” According to Business Insider, “VSCO is the app professional Instagrammers use to make their photos look amazing.”

Flory and his co-founder, Greg Lutze, combined their passions for photography and technology to build VSCO, which stands for Visual Supply Co., in 2011. Flory was integral in growing VSCO to over 1 million paying subscribers and securing more than $70 million in funding. He understands the complex nature of building and sustaining a brand in the creative industry.

The forum is free, open to the public and held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

During the P.E.N. (Pitches, Exhibits, Networking) portion of the evening, the 2018 SLO HotHouse Accelerator companies will be introduced, followed by the “Business Card Hustle,” a game where accelerator companies compete for resources by collecting as many business cards from attendees.

The quarterly Entrepreneurship Forum Series is presented by Sambazon. Advanced registration is required. For more details to register, visit https://ciemayforum.eventbrite.com.

Cal Poly to Host Entrepreneurship Forum Focused on New Media on Feb. 27

SAN LUIS OBISPO — A panel of industry experts including a former Fox Television president and a social media marketer-entrepreneur will discuss why new media is vital to success in business at Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s forum Tuesday, Feb. 27, in the Performing Arts Center San Luis Obispo on campus.

The theme of CIE’s winter entrepreneurship forum, “Get Connected: Entrepreneurship in the Rise of New Media,” is how a media landscape transformed by social media, among others, presents new opportunities to connect with potential customers, as well as challenges in breaking through the noise of 24/7 online connectivity.

The forum, which is free and open to the public, features panelists Sandy Grushow and Jason Neubauer. It will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Grushow spent 24 years at Fox, many of which he served as chairman. During that time, he was involved with the launch of shows including “The Simpsons,” “Beverly Hills, 90210,” “Family Guy,” “The X-Files,” “American Idol,” “24,” and “House.” After leaving the network in 2004, Grushow turned his focus to digital media and technology, taking on positions such as CEO of Phase Two Media and advisor to the Weather Channel. He was recently named the executive chairman of Winston House Media, a new, music-focused lifestyle brand.

Neubauer was named Social Media Campaign Millennial Engagement of 2017 by the Internet Marketing Association. He is currently the founder and CEO of the Santa Claus Affect. His initial video has been watched on Facebook more than 21 million times. He’s also proposed a TV show about the Santa Claus Affect, which seeks to “change the dialogue on social media, as well as society overall, from one that promotes self-satisfaction to one that aims at helping as many people as possible.” Neubauer is also an entrepreneur who was one of the first to recognize the power that social media influencers have on consumers. He’s a co-founder of Coolbox, a tool box for the 21st century, that was seen in an episode of ABC’s “Shark Tank.”

“Attendees of our winter forum will learn about new media’s important role in building a company, as well as how mastering it has contributed to our panelists’ successes,” said Jonathan York, CIE’s cofounder and interim executive director. “Our forums are designed to bring entrepreneurial-minded people from the Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo communities together to create a productive learning and networking experience.”

The Entrepreneurship Forum Series is presented by Sambazon. Advanced registration is required. For more details to register, visit febforum18.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 http://cie.calpoly.edu/slo-hothouse.

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

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Cal Poly Seeks Entries for First Ever Central California Angel Conference

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Startups could receive up to $200,000 in angel-backed investments by applying for the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s (CIE) Small Business Development Center (SBDC) 2018 Angel Conference.

Entrepreneurs looking to participate must apply by Jan. 31. The cost is $99, which includes entrance and dinner for two to the March 29 event. Apply online at bit.ly/ccangelconference. 

Six selected finalists will pitch in front of angel investors and an audience at the conference. The investors will vote and invest up to $200,000 in the winning startup.

Each investor contributed $6,000 in a fund set-up as a limited liability company (LLC). About 60 percent of investors are local to San Luis Obispo County, 30 percent are from Santa Barbara County and 10 percent are from Fresno County.

The inaugural Angel Conference will be held March 29 at 4:30 p.m., at the Alex Madonna Expo Center in San Luis Obispo. Tickets are $150 for audience members, or $800 per table, which include entrance to the event and dinner.

For more information on eligibility, requirements and event registration, visit bit.ly/ccangelconferencedinner, or contact Adam Lingerfelt, SBDC project coordinator, at (805) 756-5180 or alingerf@calpoly.edu.

The Angel Conference is presented by Pacific Premier Bank.

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 CIE Small Business Development Center
The Cal Poly CIE Small Business Development Center is funded in part through a subcontract between Cal Poly, the city of San Luis Obispo and UC Merced, under the current cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBDC is a top resource for business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, offering no-cost, expert one-on-one business consulting, training and online courses in startup assistance, debt and equity funding, sales and marketing, international trade and product commercialization. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit http://sbdc.calpoly.edu/.

 

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.

How Tech Expanded From Silicon Valley to Bubblegum Alley

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — San Luis Obispo has a reputation for being a sleepy town in central California known for its laid-back charm. Top tourist draws are a nearby 18th-century Spanish mission and Bubblegum Alley, a walkway lined with chewed gum. But Rick Stollmeyer, the chief executive of MindBody, envisioned it as a bustling tech hub.

Nestled along the coast about 230 miles south of San Francisco, San Luis Obispo is far from Silicon Valley. The distance presented a challenge for Mr. Stollmeyer, who sought to lure talent to a small college town known by the acronym SLO, where nature buffs and health food junkies go to find their nirvana.

The New York Times | by Kathy Chin Leong

View Article

Cal Poly to Host Entrepreneurship Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility on Nov. 8

Contact: Candice Conti 

805-756-7171; clconti@calpoly.edu

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) will host a panel of entrepreneurs at the Corporate Social Responsibility forum on Wednesday, Nov. 8, in the Performing Arts Center on campus.

The theme of the forum is the value of corporate social responsibility and how practicing it helps others and increases a company’s success and brand. The forum, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The panel discussion will focus on how considering the economic, social and environmental impacts for all stakeholders contributes to sustainable development. Panelists include:

— Doug Klein, former Walt Disney Imagineer and current managing director of Matchfire, a company that has raised over $150 million since 2001 for brands around the world and created hundreds of award-winning purpose campaigns for celebrities, entertainment studios, Fortune 50 companies and global nonprofits.

— Dan O’Hare, managing principal at Glenn Burdette, the first CPA organization in California to be employee-owned.

— Rafael Pintor, co-founder of Atsa Foods, a snack food company that uses native superfoods to create opportunity in Native American communities and American open spaces.

— Renee Junge, chief marketing officer of Sambazon, a pioneer of fair trade, organic acai products.

During the P.E.N. (Pitches, Exhibits, Networking) portion of the evening from 5 to 6 p.m., the finalists of the eighth annual Elevator Pitch Competition will have 90 seconds to present their pitches in front of the panel for a chance to win $1,000. The winners of the competition will be revealed at the end of the night.

“Attendees to our fall forum will learn how a group of entrepreneurs whose efforts to improve society have benefited their companies,” said Tod Nelson, CIE executive director. “They will also have the opportunity to vote for the Elevator Pitch Competition Audience Choice Award.”  

The forum is presented by Samabazon and sponsored by SESLOC Federal Credit Union and Cuesta College. Advance registration is required. For more details and to register, visit epc17.eventbrite.com.

Cal Poly CIE’s SLO HotHouse Incubator Program Graduates Six Startup Companies

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

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Six companies with more than two dozen employees and $1.8 million in capital have completed the SLO HotHouse Incubator program, a Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) program devoted to taking businesses from startup to sustainable.

“CIE provides a structured, two-year program for early-stage startups that includes all the resources needed to facilitate smarter, faster growth,” said CIE Incubator Director Judy Mahan. “After working closely with these companies over the course of their development, we are excited to see where the future takes them as they continue to expand and grow locally.”

The companies graduating from the CIE SLO HotHouse Incubator program include:

– App Scrolls, an online community platform that increases player engagement and retention for any game;

– Bottlefly, a firm that uses flavor chemistry and data science to help retailers increase wine sales and margins and reach their target demographic;

– Brandplug, software that helps marketers buy high quality, high return-on-investment promotion from social media celebrities;

– Calwise Spirits Co., which produces rum and gin that is handcrafted on the Central Coast with the fruits and herbs that define West Coast life;

– Flume, which puts household water usage in users’ hands with an innovative IoT sensor, which protects homes from water damage, conserves water, and avoid a costly water bills with Flume’s technology; and

– Reduce. Reuse. Grow, which aims to replace unsustainable packaging products with smarter, more eco-friendly solutions that also restore local communities’ native landscapes.

“The SLO HotHouse Incubator program helped us launch our company and gave us the tools we needed to create a sustainable business,” said Alex Henige, co-founder, and CEO of Reduce. Reuse. Grow. “The resources, mentorships and connections made through this program have allowed us to grow to where we are today.”

Since its inception in 2010, the CIE has promoted regional economic development. To date, these six companies have created 27 jobs, benefitted from 644 hours of one-on-one consultations and raised $1,836,000 in capital. All six companies will remain in San Luis Obispo County.

The CIE recently added five community startups to the SLO HotHouse Incubator program. They will join five other ventures that are in their second year of the 24-month incubator program and five in their first year of the program, making a total of 15 startups currently incubating at the SLO HotHouse.

CIE offers faculty, students and community members the tools to transform their innovative ideas into viable businesses. By providing quality coaching, professional consulting and connections with industry professionals, the CIE creates an environment in which new businesses can develop and thrive.

“As we progress towards the future, startups play a critical role not only in the growth of our economy but also in discovering solutions to solve real-world problems,” said CIE Executive Director Tod Nelson. “We are proud to drive entrepreneurship forward, and we are committed to building an environment that will help nurture innovative ideas and facilitate success.

For more information on the CIE programs, visit cie.calpoly.edu.

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, visit http://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 Adds Three New Community Startups to SLO HotHouse Incubator Program

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

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) today announced three new startups that have been selected to join the growing cohort of SLO HotHouse Incubator companies.

The incubator program, which started in 2012 to help startup companies get off the ground and become financially stable and high-growth enterprises, had previously only accepted applications from Cal Poly students and recent graduates.

“Now that we are accepting community startups into the program, the list of success stories continues to grow at CIE with 12 startups currently incubating and three new ones joining,” said Judy Mahan, CIE Incubator, and Small Business Development Center (SBDC) director. “Entrepreneurs are the engine of economic growth all over the world, and at CIE there is nothing we care about more than supporting them.”

The new startups accepted in CIE SLO HotHouse Incubator program include:

— Motoroso is a website that helps automotive and powersports enthusiasts plan, build and share their dream vehicle projects. Conceived by founder and CEO Alex Littlewood. www.motoroso.com

— Savvy Leadership Academy empowering today’s youth with the tools they’ll need to become tomorrow’s leaders. Maggie von Stein is the founder and CEO. www.savvyleaders.com

— Stollmeyer Technologies delivers unmanned automated vehicle (UAV) solutions for professionals; enabling them to perform mission critical tasks reliably. Created by Marc Stollmeyer, founder and CEO, James Thrasher, chief technology officer, and Joseph Coplon, electrical engineer. www.stoll-tech.com

Startups participating in the SLO Hothouse Incubator programs benefit from mentorship, monthly peer-to-peer roundtable discussions, an advisory board for each startup in the program, participation in Pitch Night, networking opportunities, and exclusive access to various entrepreneurial events in the community. Businesses will also be able to utilize all CIE SLO HotHouse resources, including office space, conference rooms and an invaluable peer network.

Participants are excited by the opportunity.

“Leveraging the incredible resources and amazing mentors at CIE and the SLO HotHouse will ensure Savvy Leadership Academy is strongly rooted in San Luis Obispo with the potential to offer our programs around the world,” said van Stein. “SLO roots with a global reach.”

Community startups interested in applying for the CIE SLO HotHouse 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 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.

Photo information: New CIE SLO HotHouse Incubator Companies.jpg
From left: James Thrasher, Joseph Coplon, Marc Stollmeyer, Maggie von Stein and Alex Littlewood are new members of the CIE SLO HotHouse Incubator program.

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Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Opens Incubator to Local Startups

SAN LUIS OBISPO — For the first time, the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) will accept community startups into its SLO HotHouse Incubator program. Applications will be accepted through Nov. 22.

Startups applying for the program must submit a business plan and answers to a series of questions that a committee will review. The committee will look for companies with technology innovation, scalability, and high growth potential. Up to four ventures will be accepted into the intense 24-month Incubator starting Jan. 11, 2016.

“Thanks to the community’s support, we are able to accept local startups into our program,” said Judy Mahan, director of the CIE Incubator and Small Business Development Center (SBDC). “Our Incubator Program includes everything needed for early-stage companies to develop into financially stable, high-growth enterprises by providing the tools, training, and infrastructure that helps facilitate smarter, faster growth.”

Programming for the SLO HotHouse Incubator includes mentorship, monthly peer-to-peer roundtable discussions, an advisory board for each startup in the program, participation in Pitch Night, networking opportunities, and exclusive access to various entrepreneurial events in the community. Businesses will also be able to utilize all of the CIE SLO HotHouse resources, such as office space, conference rooms, and an invaluable peer network.

“This program provides emerging enterprises with a strategic path; a wide array of vital business development services and resources; and ongoing guidance, motivation, and support to help new ventures succeed,” said CIE Executive Director Tod Nelson.

“Growing in an incubator increases a business’s chance of success and potential for long-term economic impact,” said Jeff Buckingham, SLO HotHouse Community Advisory Board member. “Entrepreneurs thrive when they live in a supportive environment, and when entrepreneurs thrive, so does the local economy.”

Community startups interested in applying for the CIE SLO HotHouse Incubator program should go to www.slohothouse.com.

About the Cal Poly Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship
The Cal Poly Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship manages and supports a wide variety of programs and activities to stimulate the entrepreneurial Learn by Doing spirit at Cal Poly and to assist entrepreneurs in following their dreams. For more information, go to www.cie.calpoly.edu.

About the SLO HotHouse
The SLO HotHouse is a community space that has been created through the efforts of Cal Poly, the San Luis Obispo 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.

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