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

Contact: Candice Conti


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.

– 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

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

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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