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Cal Poly Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Announces 2022 Summer Accelerator Cohort

Cal Poly Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Announces 2022 Summer Accelerator Cohort

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Cal Poly Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE) accepted seven startup teams to their Summer Accelerator program.

The intensive 13-week program helps Cal Poly students and recent graduates develop their startup ideas and launch their companies. Each participating team is provided with $100,000 in seed funding, access to expert mentorship and tailored workshops, as well as a dedicated workspace in the HotHouse.

“The Summer Accelerator is an opportunity to work with people who believe in the power of entrepreneurship,” CIE Director of Student Innovation Programs Jose Huitron said. “It is a true Learn By Doing experience, full of peer collaboration, learning, team building and startup possibility.”

The eight teams were officially announced at the CIE’s May Entrepreneurship Forum on May 16 at 4:30 p.m. in the Cal Poly Performing Arts Center (PAC). 

The forum also featured a Q&A session with Cal Poly alumnus and entrepreneur Scott Edwards. Edwards graduated from Cal Poly in 2013 with a degree in industrial technologies and is now founder and CEO of Drop Water, a startup scaling the use of compostable and biodegradable packaging materials. 

The 2022 Summer Accelerator teams represent a variety of different concepts, from adaptive sports with this year’s Innovation Quest (iQ) winner, Adapted Mobility, to agricultural technology with Better Berry.

“Our 2022 Summer Accelerator comprises an exciting cohort of entrepreneurs and teams who each bring unwavering passion, entrepreneurial skill and resolve to help build the future,” Huitron said.

This year’s cohort includes:

Adapted Mobility, a compact, capable and intuitive mobility device built from commercially available electric unicycles, created by Evan Lalanne, a manufacturing engineering senior from Arroyo Grande.

BetterBerry, a startup using technology that reduces the amount of water, waste, transportation and labor needed to grow strawberries to provide high-quality, locally-grown berries to communities that do not have adequate climates for farming. The startup was founded by business administration senior Corrine Cooper and mechanical engineering seniors Brandon Janney and Shalin Gogri.

FemForward, a reusable, machine-washable and leak-proof period short created by biomedical engineering senior McCall Brinskele of Marin County, California.

Grip Safe, a patent-pending firearm safety device that makes AR-15s secure for storage and safe shoot and state law-compliant for transport, all through an interchangeable grip attachment innovated by business administration senior Shaun Tanaka of Los Angeles and mechanical engineering sophomore Dylan DeFazio of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.

Lend Technologies Inc., a software that connects outdoor equipment shops to consumers created by business administration sophomore Dylan Tran, computer science junior Shubh Khandhadia, software engineering junior Nikhil Nagarajan, computer engineering freshman Brian Mere, computer science freshman Xiuyuan Qui and business administration and consumer packaging sophomore Lindsey Lau.

Quickie, a 10-minute mobile delivery service providing select food, beverages and other essentials to college students anywhere within two miles of campus founded by Matthew Menno and William Tregenza, business administration sophomores from Arroyo Grande.

Ryde Carpool, a social carpooling marketplace that allows college students to buy and sell empty seats in each other’s cars, founded by recent computer science graduate Emily Gavrilenko of Antioch, California; recreation, parks and tourism senior Johnny Morris of Berkeley, California; and computer science sophomore Josh Wong of San Francisco.

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About the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship: 

The CIE opens a world of entrepreneurial opportunities 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/.  

About the SLO HotHouse: 

The HotHouse is a community space for Cal Poly for Center and Innovation Entrepreneurship off-campus programs created through the efforts of Cal Poly, the city and county of San Luis Obispo, the business community and the CIE. The goal of the 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/hothouse.  

Cal Poly Student Startup Teams Win Big at Innovation Quest 2022

Innovation Quest first place winner Evan Lalanne (right) with CIE Executive Director John Townsend (left).
Innovation Quest first place winner Evan Lalanne (right) with CIE Executive Director John Townsend (left).

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Three student startup teams won from $30,000 in prize money at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s (CIE) annual Innovation Quest (iQ), a high stakes competition where Cal Poly students pitch their innovative business ideas and prototypes to a panel of judges in hopes of winning thousands to fund their startup. 

Manufacturing engineering senior Evan Lalanne from Arroyo Grande won the first place prize of $15,000 with his startup Adapted Mobility. Adapted Mobility is a startup developing compact, capable and intuitive mobility devices from commercially available electric unicycles.  

“Winning iQ was awesome,” Lalanne said. It was great to see all of my hard work come together into something I can really be proud of.” 

The idea for Adapted Mobility began when Lalanne modified a hoverboard to work with his wheelchair.  

Lalanne hopes to file a patent this summer and begin shipping his first production units in 2023. 

Biomedical engineering senior McCall Brinskele of Marin County, biomedical engineering junior Sally Thurman of Dallas and business administration seniors Jocelyn Overmyer of Marin County and Kyra Jacks of West Hills won the second place prize of $10,000 with Fem Forward, a startup creating leak-proof period shorts for women to wear when sleeping during their menstrual cycle. 

“It felt really great to know that what we are working on is super important not only to us, but others who recognize its importance,” Overmyer said. 

Shaun Tanaka, a business administration and interdisciplinary studies senior from Los Angeles, and Dylan DeFazio, a mechanical engineering sophomore from Selinsgrove Pennsylvania, won the third-place prize of $5,000 with their startup, Grip Safe. Grip Safe is developing a patent-pending firearm safety device for AR-15s, which will ensure firearms are secure for storage, legally-compliant transport and safe shoot, all through an interchangeable grip attachment. 

“There were so many qualified teams with amazing innovations, and it was a privilege to place among the top few,” Tanaka said. “It was very rewarding to see our team’s hard work and late nights in the Hatchery come to fruition.” 

iQ was held in-person for the first time since 2019 on April 20. The event included pitches from 12 finalists, updates from past iQ contestants and the event’s banquet and awards ceremony. 

iQ was founded in 2004 by Cal Poly electrical engineering graduates and business leaders Carson Chen, Richard Boberg and Laura Pickering. Since its launch, iQ participants have received more than $400,000 in funding and helped launch several successful businesses. 

“iQ was a reminder of just how diverse our polytechnic campus is,” said professor of innovation and entrepreneurship Tom Katona, who coordinated iQ. We saw student innovations in food products, software, hardware, and services that truly represented the unique and varied culture and disciplines found on our campus.” 

In addition to the three winners, the 2022 finalists included: 

Apogee Tech, a spacecraft assembly documentation system with automatic configuration tracking features created by aerospace engineering senior Jered Bell and electrical engineering junior Mark Wu. 

Armadillo Designs, an aftermarket truck accessories company designing a customizable shell for the bed of a pickup truck, founded by manufacturing engineering senior Sam Hunt and recent business administration alumnus Fabian Araujo. 

Better Berry, a startup using technology that reduces the amount of water, waste, transportation and labor needed to grow strawberries to provide high-quality, locally-grown berries to communities that do not have adequate climates for farming. The startup was founded by business administration senior Corrine Cooper and mechanical engineering seniors Brandon Janney and Shalin Gogri. 

Forever Fresh, a startup building tools to standardize quality assessment and reduce waste in the produce supply chain, created by liberal arts and engineering senior Avi Peltz and computer science major Nate Holland. 

Home Greens, a startup delivering healthy greens directly to consumers’ homes or businesses, founded by public health major Ethan Tse and accounting sophomore Javier Emmanuel Rivera-Romo. 

HydroScoops, an ice cream product infused with electrolytes to create a fun method of hydration, created by agriculture science senior Kiara Benavides, agribusiness major Cameron Kemper and agribusiness juniors Andrew Arroyo and Shelby Daniele. 

OdinXR, a startup developing a virtual-reality (VR) landscape where students with disabilities can remotely perform engineering labs, created by electrical engineering seniors Tessa Luzuriaga and Ruben Curiel, business administration senior Ryan Gudmunds, computer engineering senior Christian Bloemhof, electrical engineering student Kyle Reis and computer science student Russell Siu. 

Polypie, an Artificial Intelligence as a Service (AI SaaS) platform helping businesses implement contextual chatbots and create personalized user experiences at scale, created by Cal Poly Master’s of Business Administration and Master’s of Science in Computer Science graduate Jenny Wang and computer science junior Micha Wibowo.  

Ponderose Design, a startup pioneering the intersection of design and 3D-printing to provide elegant and sustainable lighting, founded by Master’s of Science in Packaging Value Chain students Nate Pratt and Peter Moe-Lange, industrial technology and packaging major Puneet Mahesha and recent environmental horticulture graduate Eden Breazeale. 

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About the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship: 

The CIE opens a world of entrepreneurial opportunities 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/.  

About the SLO HotHouse: 

The HotHouse is a community space for Cal Poly for Center and Innovation Entrepreneurship off-campus programs created through the efforts of Cal Poly, the city and county of San Luis Obispo, the business community and the CIE. The goal of the 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/hothouse.  

Cal Poly Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship startup acquired by Netmarble F&C

Former CIE Incubator company Gamerspeak was acquired by game developer Netmarble F&C Inc.

San Luis Obispo, CA — Former Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) startup Gamerspeak was acquired by online gaming company Netmarble F&C Inc. in December of 2021. Gamerspeak, founded in 2015, delivers actionable insights and recommendations from superusers to gaming companies.

The California-based startup joined the CIE Incubator shortly after it was founded. The Incubator is a two-year CIE program that helps early-stage companies develop into financially stable, high-growth enterprises through tools, training and infrastructure that facilitate smarter, faster growth. Gamerspeak graduated from the program in 2017.

“The first two years of my entrepreneurial journey were incubated in the CIE,” Gamerspeak founder and CEO Chad Kihm said. “After (participating in several CIE programs and competitions) I had $21,000 to bootstrap my business with. Not only that but the CIE provided access to incredible advisors that helped me fine tune GamerSpeak over the years into an attractive acquisition target.

Netmarble, a Korean-based company, focuses on the publishing and development of mobile games. 

The recent acquisition will increase Gamerspeak’s accessibility to game developers and promises to be a rewarding relationship for both companies and their stakeholders. Several new games are expected to roll out in the first quarter of 2022 as a result of the acquisition. 

“GamerSpeak has made many innovations in the gaming industry, so we are happy to strengthen our bond and excited to continue the wonderful journey with GamerSpeak,” Netmarble CEO Woo Won said.

To learn more about the CIE and services available visit cie.calpoly.edu

Media Contact
Liz Fisher
805-756-5171
calpolycie@gmail.com

Student Entrepreneurs Win Cash Prizes for Their Innovative Ideas at 12th Annual Cal Poly CIE Elevator Pitch Competition

SAN LUIS OBISPO — A Cal Poly student and one from Allan Hancock College each won $1,000 at the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) 12th annual Elevator Pitch Competition, a fast-paced, high-energy competition for Cal Poly, Cuesta College and Allan Hancock College entrepreneurs, held recently in the Cal Poly Performing Arts Center.

A third student, also from Cal Poly, received the $500 audience choice award.

Nine finalists, selected from an initial pool of over two dozen applicants, had 90 seconds each to pitch their innovative product, service and startup ideas on Nov. 2. They were evaluated by a panel of judges on four criteria: How well the problem or opportunity was explained; whether the idea was innovative and creative; if the direction was clear; and whether the pitch was persuasive.

Cal Poly’s Surya Venugopal, an industrial engineering senior from Pleasanton, California, won with his pitch for XCredit, a peer-to-peer platform that allows users to cultivate their credit scores by fulfilling their payment requests.

“It’s something I’ve been working really passionately on,” said Venugopal, the startup’s chief operating officer and co-founder. “(Winning the Elevator Pitch Competition) is another step along the way of bringing it into a reality … I’m investing (the $1,000) directly into my company.”

Allan Hancock College’s Ruby Ramirez’s winning pitch was for Home Goodies, an e-commerce platform that allows users to sell home-cooked food — an income source that grew in popularity after Assembly Bill 626 took effect on Jan. 1, 2019, allowing residents to obtain permits to sell food from their home kitchens.

“Winning is a huge confidence boost,” said the Santa Maria native, who plans to use her winnings to further develop her startup. “It means my dreams can come true.”

Cal Poly business administration junior Sara Dada’s startup idea was the top pick of attendees. Dada, from San Ramon, California, pitched Beacon, an app designed to prevent violence on college campuses by centralizing campus safety resources.

“It’s been such an amazing experience networking and connecting with so many people within the Cal Poly and SLO community and getting funding to hopefully start and launch my startup,” said the business administration major in the Marketing Management Area.

Dada and her team are currently working with the Cal Poly CIE Hatchery, an on-campus incubator that helps develop students’s startup ideas. They are developing a prototype of the Beacon app.

Other Elevator Pitch Competition finalists included:

— Fleet, a startup developing solar power docking technology to reduce maintenance and charging costs of Bird scooters, pitched by Cian Amor, a Cal Poly business administration senior.

— Peer Connect, an app supervised and developed by healthcare professionals that allows students to easily access peer listening and counseling programs, pitched by Hugo Balcazar, a high school student also enrolled at Cuesta College.

— Foveo, a digital health platform that allows users to send each other letters that they can access when they need support, pitched by Alyssa Liu, a Cal Poly fifth-year computer and biomedical engineering student, from Concord, California.

— Picasso Learning Academy, a private school focused on relationships and interactions with a strong commitment to innovations and research, pitched by Asael Picasso of Hancock College.

— Extendable Shoe, a startup developing an adjustable children’s shoe to provide greater shoe longevity, pitched by Zander Sheffield, a Cal Poly industrial technology and packaging junior from Austin, Texas.

— Nritya, a digital platform simplifying the process of learning and sharing choreography on a freelance basis, pitched by Anvita Vyas, a Cal Poly business administration sophomore from Dublin, California.

Alexandra Joelson, founder of CIE startup Intego Technology, formerly Intego Sports, from Carlsbad, California, was the forum’s keynote speaker.

The business administration senior, with a concentration in financial management, won the 2019 Elevator Pitch Competition with her proposal for the Cleat Guard, a silicone-like mold that adheres to the bottom of a cleat to prevent the studs on the shoe sole from wearing down. Since that pitch, Intego Technology has pivoted from their original idea; today Joelson and her team are focused on innovating and licensing technology to improve footwear durability and sustainability.

To watch the pitches of the event go to the CIE YouTube channel here.

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About the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship):

The CIE opens a world of entrepreneurial opportunities 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/.

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Contact: Stephanie Zombek
805-756-5171; szombek@calpoly.edu

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

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Two startup companies have completed the incubator program, a Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) program. Both companies plan to continue to grow their ventures in San Luis Obispo County.

The companies graduating from the CIE Incubator program include:

—Armadillo Designs, a company innovating a better storage solution for construction workers and other tradesmen

—Trees, a company developing an app to help guide individuals in new situations through decision-making processes

“Our experience in the incubator program has been nothing but fun, challenging, motivating and opportunistic,” COO and co-founder of Armadillo Designs Fabian Arujo. “It has taught us the principles of providing value, communicating effectively with our audience and being able to hold our own confidently and professionally. We’d like to thank the CIE and SBDC for allowing us to not only grow as a company, but as founders over the past couple years.”

Since its inception in 2010, the CIE has promoted regional economic development. To date, these two companies have created 5 jobs, benefitted from 630 hours of one-on-one consultations, raised $50,000 in angel investment and obtained $249,000 in grants and awards.

The CIE recently added five new startups to the incubator program. They will join seven other ventures that are in their first year of the 24-month incubator program, making a total of 12 startups currently in the incubator program.

—ARTIFEX, a building technologies company creating a spatial detection tool to expedite the as-built drawing process for construction professionals

—For Mom Care, a web-based platform that helps physicians support new moms through their postpartum recovery

—PowerMove, a virtual, gamified fitness platform creating healthy screen time and teaching kids to love exercise

—TractorCloud, an end-to-end heavy machinery diagnostic, management and predictive maintenance cloud platform

—Zoetic Motion, a company gamifying the physical therapy process to improve patient adherence and equip physical therapists with the ability to maximize patient progress

The CIE offers faculty, students and the business community 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.

The CIE incubator program is open to the business community. Startups interested in applying for the incubator program, should go to http://cie.calpoly.edu/launch/incubator.

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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, and promotes entrepreneurial activity and dialogue across the university and throughout San Luis Obispo County. For more information, visit http://cie.calpoly.edu/.

Cal Poly CIE to Host Demo Day Entrepreneur Event on Sept. 14

Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Summer Accelerator program where students and recent alumni develop their business model, learn how to operate a business, and practice telling their story to pitch their company. This team is working on an attachable sensor that uses electromyography, or recordings of the electrical activity of muscle tissue, to better inform users of their muscle activation status during exercise to minimize the risk of injury. It was created by mechanical engineering senior Ivet Avalos from Moorpark, California and computer science senior Zeeshan Khan from Los Gatos. Photo by Joe Johnston/University Photographer/Cal Poly 7-22-21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Cal Poly’s top innovators will present their startup ideas after three months of preparation.

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) will host its annual Demo Day to showcase nine startups in-person at SLO Brew Rock and online on Tuesday, Sept. 14.

The event culminates the 2021 CIE Summer Accelerator, an intensive, three-month program that helps Cal Poly students and recent graduates develop their startup ideas into sustainable businesses. Representatives from each of the companies will pitch their startups and show what they’ve accomplished with the help of dedicated CIE mentors and staff.

“Our student entrepreneurs have been working hard all summer on exciting new ventures,” said Jose Huitron, the CIE’s director of student innovation programs. “Demo Day is our chance to showcase what these teams have been working on and give the greater community an inside view into the next chapter of Cal Poly innovation and entrepreneurship.”

The Summer Accelerator program provides teams with $10,000 in seed funding to build their startups, as well as access to mentorship from industry experts and tailored workshops that delve into the details of building a business.

Demo Day will give the 2021 Summer Accelerator cohort an opportunity to show how months of hard work and collaboration prepared them to turn their startups into viable business endeavors.

“We wouldn’t be here without the tremendous time and effort the CIE faculty, mentors and guest speakers have invested into us,” said Russell Caletena, co-founder of Accelerator startup Slolar who received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in June. “Each programmed session and office hour gave us opportunities to apply our championed ‘Learn by Doing’ philosophy and ensure we’re on the right path leading up to Demo Day.”

This year’s Accelerator cohort includes a wide range of industries and disciplines, from renewable energy to postpartum care and footwear innovation.

“The overall teamwork, diversity of ideas that span global industries and truly interdisciplinary skill-sets (were) exemplified by a group of amazing student entrepreneurs and innovators,” Huitron said. “I anticipate we’ll see some groundbreaking results in the very near future.”

This year’s cohort includes:

ARTIFEX is creating a drawing tool that will save architects time and money. It was founded by Elijah Williams of Berkeley, California, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture, and Anna Baytosh, a graduate business student from Gold River, California.

For Mom is building a postpartum recovery platform that provides holistic support to ensure mothers properly heal after birth. It was launched by Christina Grigorian of La Crescenta, California, who earned her master’s degree in biomedical engineering, and Camila Monchini of Santa Monica, California, who is a graduate biomedical engineering student.

Intego Technology, formerly Intego Sports, is working to create the most durable and sustainable footwear on the market with a patent-pending manufacturing process. It was founded by business administration junior Alexandra Joelson of Carlsbad, California and environmental management and protection junior Samuel Andrews of Boulder, Colorado. As a freshman, Joelson won the 2019 Cal Poly CIE Elevator Pitch Competition with a 90-second pitch for Intego Sport’s Cleat Guard, a silicone-like mold that adhered to the bottom of a cleat to prevent wear-down.

Kit & Sis, formerly AG Sisters, is helping children explore hands-on crafting through subscription craft boxes, in-person and virtual summer camps, special events and more. It was founded by twin sisters Madeline and Gabrielle Pollock, both business administration juniors with concentrations in entrepreneurship, and their childhood friend Kate Lally, who is a business administration sophomore at Stonehill College in Massachusetts. They are all from Los Gatos, California.

OdinXR is developing an educational virtual reality sandbox that engineering students can use to conduct experiments. It was founded by electrical engineering senior Tessa Luzuriaga of Temecula, California and computer engineering senior Ali Mohammad of Escondido, California. 

PowerMove, formerly FEARLESS Fitness Kids, is developing immersive video games with exercise as the core component to keep children active. It was founded by Sara Glaser, a 2021 business administration graduate from Calabasas, California and business administration senior Madison Lewandowski of Santa Barbara, California. Glaser and Lewandowski won the 2021 Cal Poly CIE Innovation Quest competition with their idea for FEARLESS Fitness Kids.

Slolar is empowering residential solar panel owners to accelerate their return on investment. It was founded by Caletena of Glendale, California and recent graduates Paul Romano, mechanical engineering, of Los Olivos, California and Fernando Estevez, computer engineering, of Goleta, California.

TractorCloud is building a hardware-software solution to help farmers and operations managers monitor the maintenance of their vehicles. It was founded by computer science graduate student Morgan Swanson of Pleasanton, California, industrial technology and packaging graduate Harrison Whitaker of Carmel Valley, California and Roxanne Miller of San Ramon, California, who earned a master’s in computer science in June.

Zoetic Running, formerly Muscle Ninja, is developing wearable technology to help runners move without injury. It was founded by Ivet Avalos of Moorpark, California, who graduated in June with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering, and computer science graduate student Zeeshan Khan of Los Gatos, California.

Demo Day general admission tickets to attend in-person are available for $10. In-person seating is limited due to COVID regulations. SLO Brew Rock is at 8555 Aerovista Lane.

Virtual tickets are free to watch the event on YouTube Live.

Register for in-person or virtual tickets at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/demo-day-2021-tickets-162570792617?aff=CIEWebsite.

About the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship:

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

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Contact: Stephanie Zombek
805-225-4738; szombek@calpoly.edu 

Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is Headed to Paso Robles

Cal Poly CIE extends two of their flagship programs to North County

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation for Entrepreneurship (CIE) is expanding — bringing its Incubator program and Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to THE SANDBOX Paso Robles, a resource center for North County entrepreneurs.

The two programs have been at the forefront of technology, innovation and economic development in San Luis Obispo County. The CIE will host an open house for its new partnership with the facility at 1345 Park St. from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 1. RSVP on Eventbrite at cieopenhouse.eventbrite.com.

The SBDC, a top resource for business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, offers no-cost, expert one-on-one business consulting, training and online courses in startup assistance, debt and equity funding, sales and marketing. The center has 35 consultants with a wide array of business and entrepreneurial backgrounds and expertise.

This SBDC outreach center — located in the heart of downtown Paso Robles — will provide programs and events to benefit the North County small business community. These include:

“While our SBDC services cover all of San Luis Obispo County, we are excited to offer new and existing clients a dedicated space for programming closer to their base of operations,” said Judy Mahan, the CIE SBDC economic development director. “THE SANDBOX Paso Robles space has provided a unique opportunity for us to focus on programming specific to the agricultural and hospitality industries that make up the core of their business community.”

The CIE Incubator is a two-year program that includes everything needed for early-stage companies to develop into financially stable, high-growth enterprises by providing the tools, training and infrastructure that help facilitate smarter and faster growth.

While technology and innovation are the focus, other businesses are accepted and encouraged to apply, including but not limited to: CleanTech, AgTech, MedTech and Aerospace. Applications are open year-round at bit.ly/cieincubator.

The new CIE location will house startups in the AgTech industry. Companies in the program will have dedicated office space at THE SANDBOX, a collaborative business center, coworking space, shared office and event space, and the CIE will provide access to resources such as membership mixers and an invaluable peer network.

THE SANDBOX Paso Robles, which opened in October of 2019, is a community of entrepreneurs, technology and creative professionals focusing on creating technology solutions, lifestyle brands and a lifestyle of their own that is uniquely Californian.

“We are excited to host the CIE Incubator and Small Business Development Center programs in our space and kick off a great partnership with the Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” said Kyle Ashby, SANDBOX founder. “Having a number of AgTech companies and mentors at THE SANDBOX in addition to the support of CIE and the SBDC is a great way to build on our mutual goals of supporting entrepreneurship and innovation, small businesses and new ventures in both Paso Robles and the Central Coast region.”

To learn more about these programs visit CIE.CALPOLY.EDU.

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Contact: Liz Fisher
805-756-5171; slosbdc@gmail.com

 

 

Cal Poly Announces CIE HotHouse Summer Accelerator 2021 Cohort

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) accepted eight startup teams and an additional remote participant into this year’s HotHouse Summer Accelerator program.

The intensive 13-week program helps Cal Poly students and recent graduates develop their startup ideas and launch their companies. The selected teams are provided with $10,000 in seed funding, access to expert mentorship and tailored workshops and a dedicated office space in the SLO HotHouse

“The accelerator is our most comprehensive offering at the CIE, providing a true launchpad experience for student entrepreneurial teams through workshops, mentorship, community building, leadership development and access to capital,” CIE Director of Student Innovation Programs Jose Huitron said.

At the end of the program, teams will be given the opportunity to pitch their companies to investors and show what they accomplished during their time in the accelerator at Demo Day, to be held in September.

Applicants from across the Cal Poly campus competed for one of the eight available spots in this year’s HotHouse Summer Accelerator. A dozen finalists were considered from the initial 26 applicants before eight were chosen by a panel of judges earlier this month. 

This year’s cohort represents a variety of concepts, from childrens’ health and wellness with this year’s Innovation Quest winner FEARLESS Fitness Kids, to virtual reality innovation with Odin XR. 

“We have such a high-energy group and diverse set of entrepreneurs that I’m excited to work with over the course of the summer,” Huitron said. “I believe this is going to be one of our most dynamic cohorts yet and what is shaping up to be an eventful summer of learning and growth.”

This year’s cohort includes:

AG Sisters, a startup that helps children explore hands-on crafting through virtual and in-person camps, special events, subscription craft kits and more. AG Sisters was founded by second-year business administration majors Madeline Pollock and Gabrielle Pollock and first-year business administration major Kate Lally, all from Los Gatos, California.

FEARLESS Fitness Kids, a startup developing immersive video games with exercise as their core mechanic to keep children healthy, active and entertained. FEARLESS Fitness Kids was developed by fourth-year business administration majors Sara Glaser of Los Angeles, California and Madison Lewandowski of Santa Barbara, California, second-year biomedical engineering major Clayton Pelz of Portland, Oregon and fourth-year computer science major Emily O’Neal of Santa Cruz, California.

For Mom, a postpartum recovery platform that provides holistic support to ensure that mothers properly heal after birth, developed by blended bachelor’s and master’s biomedical engineering program students Camila Monchini of Santa Monic, California and Christina Grigorian of La Crescenta, California.

Intego Sports, a startup creating the most durable and sustainable footwear on the market through their patent-pending manufacturing process. The Intego Sports team includes second-year business administration students Alexandra Joelson of San Diego, California and Allison Wagner of San Jose, California and second-year environmental management and protection student Samuel Andrews of Boulder, Colorado.

Muscle Ninja, an attachable sensor that uses electromyography, or recordings of the electrical activity of muscle tissue, to better inform users of their muscle activation status during exercise to minimize the risk of injury. Muscle Ninja was created by mechanical engineering senior Ivet Avalos from Moorpark, California and computer science senior Zeeshan Khan from Los Gatos.

Odin XR, an extended reality (XR) company developing an educational virtual reality (VR) sandbox that can be used by science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students to conduct experiments. Odin XR was created by electrical engineering junior Tessa Luzuriaga of Temecula, California, computer engineering junior Ali Mohammad of San Diego, electrical engineering sophomore Michaela Whitcomb-Weston of Sacramento, California, art and design junior Ruben Curiel of Palmdale, California, electrical engineering sophomore Chrisian Bloemhof of Shafter, California, aerospace engineering junior Isaac Velasco of Atascadero, California, Channel Islands University software development sophomore Cole Moody of Ventura, California,computer engineering senior Luke Matusiak and Ralis Daum of Oceanside, California.

SLOLAR, a company looking to increase the residential solar panel owner’s power generation while increasing the overall grid power generation created by mechanical engineering senior Paul Romano of Los Olivos, California, electrical engineering senior Russell Caletena of Glendale, California and computer engineering seniors Fernando Estevez of Goleta, California and Yash Desai of Fremont, California.

Tractor Cloud, an end-to-end heavy machinery diagnostic, management and predictive maintenance cloud platform developed by liberal arts and engineering studies senior Takumi Arai of Torrance, California, industrial technology and packaging senior Harrison Whitaker of Carmel Valley, California, electrical engineering seniors Jin Huang of Buena Park, California and Kyle Kesler of Poway, California, computer science senior Roxanne Miller of San Ramon, California and computer science master’s student Morgan Swanson of Pleasanton, California.

Also joining the HotHouse Summer Accelerator as a remote participant is ARTIFEX, a startup leveraging Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) sensors and Machine Learning to create a drawing tool that will help architects and builders save time and money. The ARTIFEX team includes graduated architecture students Elijah Williams of Berkeley, California and Logan Kozlik of Hastland, Wisconsin and Harvey Mudd College graduate Nathaniel Diamant, also from Berkeley.

Cal Poly Student Startup Teams Win Big at Innovation Quest 2021

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Four student startup teams won from $35,000 in prize money at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s (CIE) annual Innovation Quest (iQ), a high stakes competition where Cal Poly students pitch their innovative business ideas and prototypes to a panel of judges in hopes of winning thousands in funding for their startup.

Business administration seniors Sara Glaser of Calabasas, California and Madison Lewandowski of Santa Barbara, California, biomedical engineering sophomore Clayton Pelz of Portland, Oregon and computer science senior Emily O’Neal of Scotts Valley, California won the first place of $15,000 with FEARLESS Fitness Kids. FEARLESS is a startup developing immersive video games with exercise as its core mechanic, to keep children healthy, active and entertained. 

“Winning Innovation Quest truly felt like a dream,” Glaser said. “When we heard we won, we were literally screaming, jumping up and down and crying in excitement and happiness.”

Glaser and her team began working on FEARLESS about a year and a half ago. In that time, they have participated in other CIE programs, like the on-campus Hatchery, and competed in other CIE-sponsored competitions. Innovation Quest was their first win.

“We learned from our downfalls and have been working extremely hard this year,” Glaser said. “To hear we had won Innovation Quest proved to us that our hard work paid off and that people really believe in us. We are truly grateful for this experience and for the support from the CIE.”

Graduated architecture graduate students Elijah Williams from Berkeley, California and Logan Kozlik from Hastland, Wisconsin and recent Harvey Mudd College graduate Nathaniel Diamant of Berkeley won the second place prize of $10,000 with ARTIFEX

ARTIFEX is a startup leveraging developments in machine learning and Light Detection Ranging (LIDAR) sensors, a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure variable distances, to create clear and usable drawings of the build environment. The startup is focusing first on small-scale residential renovations with Project Geronimo, a handheld measuring device that automates outdated, as-built and drawing workflows.

Agriculture systems management graduate Garrett Forbes from Atascedero, California won the third place prize of $5,000 with the Large Round Bale Handler, an implementation device which loads large round hay bales onto a standard flatbed equipment trailer for transport.

A fourth team, PERCH Sensing, won the $5,000 Brett & Leslie Eldridge Environmental Impact Award, a new honor awarded to the top team with a focus in environmentalism and sustainability. 

PERCH Sensing provides real-time wildfire weather and detection alerts to power utilities and first responders in high-risk areas. It was developed by electrical engineering senior Emil Erickson from Yuba City, California, business administration seniors Caitlin Maltbie from Santa Maria, California and Brooke Randolph from Nipomo, California, computer science seniors John Waidhofer from Scotts Valley and Richa Gadgil from Cupertino, California, graphic design senior Arthur Waidhofer of Scotts Valley, computer engineering senior Reed Slobodin of Lake Oswego, Oregon and electrical engineering graduate student Dominic Gaiero of Pleasanton, California.

iQ was held online via Zoom on April 24. The event included pitches from the 12 finalists, updates from past iQ winners and contestants and the event’s awards announcement.

This was the first year that Innovation Quest was opened up for public viewing. iQ was founded in 2004 by Cal Poly electrical engineering graduates and business leaders Carson Chen, Richard Boberg and Laura Pickering. Since its launch, iQ participants have received more than $400,000 in funding that helped them to launch successful businesses.

Hayley Pavone, founder and CEO of Pashion Footwear, created an adaptable shoe that can easily convert from a pump to a flat and pitched her idea at Innovation Quest in 2017. She was the top prize recipient that year.

Pavone founded the company as a junior business administration major at Cal Poly. In the years since, she has developed her product, assembled a team, secured patent-pending status in 30 countries and raised more than $3.5 million in seed funding. She formally launched Pashion Footwear online in June of 2019.

This year, Innovation Quests finalists introduced a plethora of new concepts. In addition to the five winners, the 2021 finalists included:

Ovubrush, a saliva-based ovulation predictor device in the form of a toothbrush. The device was developed by general engineering senior Janis Iourovitski of Palo Alto, California, biomedical engineering junior Tina Vo of Chula Vista, California, blended bachelor’s and master’s biomedical engineering program student Grant Coe and recent graduate of the same biomedical engineering program Grace Boyes of Ventura, California.

Business Outsider, an online source for satirical business and technology news created by Ross Levine, a manufacturing engineering senior from Redondo Beach, California, and Sean Riley, a recent aerospace engineering graduate from Sunnyvale, California. 

Intego Sports, an innovative sports shoe company that creates footwear expected to be three times more durable than any market competitors. The company was founded by business administration sophomore Alexandra Joelson of Carlsbad, California, environmental management and protection sophomore Samuel Andrews of Boulder, Colorado and aerospace engineering sophomore Jack Browers of Sammamish, Washington.

Framework, a dignified tiny home community equipped with facilities and services that invite the homeless to change their lives for the better, founded by Boulder’s Sarah Holland, a business administration senior, and mechanical engineering seniors Nash Elder of Salt Lake City, Utah and Bowen Schwoerer of San Luis Obispo.

SLOLAR, a robot that cleans solar panels and an accompanying app that provides data to help keep solar panels operating at maximum efficiency. The product was developed by seven Cal Poly seniors: mechanical engineering majors Paul Romano of Los Olivos, California and Chris Linthacum of San Jose, California, computer engineering majors Fernando Estevez of Goleta, California and Yash Desai from Fremont, California, electrical engineering major Russell Caletena of Glendale, California, manufacturing engineering major Alex Garcia Cruz of Goleta and business administration major Camila Fuenzalida of Gilroy, California.

Limbotics, one of the only prosthetic bionic arms with powerful microprocessors and a full sensor suite to improve grip functions. The device was developed by aerospace engineering junior Jared Bell of Royse City, Texas, electrical engineering sophomore Mark Wu from Ontario, Canada and UC Irvine student Heath Muskat and Cal State Sacramento graduate student Altia Picott, both from Vacaville, California.

Instamoov, a property technology company eliminating security deposits with small subscription payments, founded by computer science juniors Mukhammadorif Sultanov of San Francisco, California and Andrew Doud of Belmont, California and University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign graduate Oybek Olimjanov.

Mezzrow Energy, a solar cell composed of hemp waste fibers and other organic materials to generate affordable and environmentally friendly solar power, developed by Greenville, South Carolina’s Matthew Kilbride, a liberal arts and engineering student.

Cal Poly and Cuesta College Elevator Pitch Winners Cash in on Innovative Ideas

Student entrepreneurs earn $1,000 for 90-second product proposals at 11th annual  contest through Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Two students, one from Cal Poly and the other from Cuesta College, each won $1,000 at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s (CIE) 11th annual Elevator Pitch Competition Finals, a fast-paced contest for Cal Poly and Cuesta College entrepreneurs, recently held virtually.

A third student, also from Cal Poly, received the $500 “audience choice” award.

Ten students had just 90 seconds each to deliver their innovative business ideas at the Nov. 10 event. They were evaluated by a panel of judges on four criteria: how well the problem or opportunity was explained; whether the idea was innovative and creative; if the direction was clear; and whether the pitch was persuasive.

Cal Poly student Ross Levine’s winning pitch was for Business Outsider, an online source for satirical tech and business news.

“There are all these satirical sources for all these different markets, but there wasn’t one for tech and business,” said the Redondo Beach, California, resident.

Levine’s plans for Business Outsider include publishing what he describes as “a satire of a self-help book,” titled “Winning the Race to the Bottom.

With the e-book set to arrive in Amazon’s Kindle store Dec. 9, Levine plans to continue working with his team to publish online articles.

“We’re working on growing the team’s knowledge,” said Levine, who is pursuing bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial engineering. “We have a team of nine writers, and we’re trying to get them to be as good as they can be.”

Cuesta College’s Elliot Thorogood won with his pitch for Vision: First Step Photography, an innovative photography company that will allow students greater creative freedom in their yearbook portraits, inspired by Thorogood’s own photography experience.

“We want to spice it up, allow for more creativity in the yearbook and give students a voice in their yearbook — because it’s really their yearbook and their pictures,” said the Nipomo resident who also attends the Central Coast New Tech High School.

Thorogood plans to invest his $1,000 prize into Vision: First Step Photography and is working with his team to develop a plan to overcome the obstacles posed by the pandemic.

“We don’t know if we can get it started this year — actually take the pictures — because of COVID-19,” he said. “We’re going to invest the money into the company and see where we go from there, and hopefully start (taking yearbook photos) at the end of this year, or next year at the latest.”

Cal Poly’s Julie Arnett, a business student from San Ramon, California, was the top pick of attendees. She pitched Celebrate, an online gift registry to allow users to create “interest boards” that friends and family can view when shopping for their birthday or holiday gifts.

“I think that if I wanted to win one of the two (awards), I would have wanted the crowd favorite just because you have that validation from everyone,” she said. “Feeling that support from the crowd was really awesome.”

Arnett and her team, who have worked on Celebrate for almost a year, are fully engaged in the CIE’s Hatchery program. They are currently in their product development phase, working with coders to develop their startup website and fine-tune its key features.

“We’re also starting to dive a little bit further into marketing,” Arnett said. “And then, the next competition we’re looking at is Innovation Quest.”

Cal Poly business sophomore Alexandra Joelson, the founder and CEO of Intego Sports, was the forum’s keynote speaker. She won the 2019 Elevator Pitch Competition as a freshman with a proposal for the Cleat Guard, a mold that fits to the bottom of any cleat to prevent the cleat’s bottom from wearing down. Since winning the competition, Joelson and her team have begun working with a design firm and manufacturing team, and are now creating their first manufactured prototype.

To watch the 2020 Elevator Pitch Competition video, visithttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOmebWlHs6I.

Click on the links for more information about CIE’s upcoming events, Innovation Quest and Camp PolyHacks.

About the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The CIE enriches talent and enables the dreams of Cal Poly students, faculty and community businesses across campus and throughout San Luis Obispo County. For more information, go to cie.calpoly.edu.

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

December 4, 2020

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