Cal Poly Startups Shine at Innovation Quest Competition

Cal Poly startups took the top four spots at the annual Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) Innovation Quest (iQ) competition. All top four teams included students from the Orfalea College of Business.

iQ empowers and supports innovators and entrepreneurs to build interdisciplinary teams to go from ideas to prototypes to companies. iQ is designed to encourage innovators to pursue their ideas and help with the funding needed to launch their business. This is an opportunity for entrepreneurial-minded students to showcase what they’ve built, coded, designed or prototyped throughout their efforts at Cal Poly.

Founded in 2003 by Cal Poly graduates and business leaders, Carson Chen (Electrical Engineering, ’73), Richard Boberg (Electrical Engineering, ’70), and Laura Pickering (Electrical Engineering, ’84), iQ has already awarded more than $300,000 in support of Cal Poly innovators and entrepreneurs who have used the program as a platform to launch successful businesses. Startup teams applied for iQ in winter quarter, and finalist selection and presentations took place in spring.

Pashion Footwear at Innovation QuestParsons, a technology-driven engineering services firm based in Pasadena, Calif., has sponsored iQ for four years by providing thousands of dollars in prize money and enabling industry veterans to serve as judges for the final presentations.

2017 Prizes
$15,000: 1st Place Innovation Award
$10,000: 2nd Rich and Jackie Boberg Innovation Award
$5,000: 3rd Place Prize
$1,600: 4th Place Prize

Current Solutions at Innovation Quest1st Place Winner: Pashion Footwear
Pashion Footwear is an innovative fashion startup working to create a “practical and fashionable” approach to the classic stiletto heel – an adaptable shoe that can fully convert from a pump into a sandal.

  • Founder and CEO of Pashion Footwear, Haley Pavone (business administration major)
  • Co-founder and CTO of Pashion Footwear, Tyler Unbehand (industrial technology and packaging major)

2nd Place Winner: Current Solutions
Current Solutions brings users and their loved ones peace of mind and enhanced safety. Its  app and stun-gun enabled cell phone case harnesses the power of community for when you find yourself in unsafe or emergency situations, even if it’s just when you’re walking to your car after work.Brandplug at Innovation Quest

  • Co-founder of Current Solutions, Elan Timmons (industrial technology and packaging alumnus)
  • Project manager for Current Solutions, Madison Weiss (business admin major)
  • Co-founder of Current Solutions, Maxwell Fong (business administration alumnus)

3rd Place Winner: Brandplug
Brandplug allows marketers to lower their social media celebrity marketing costs by more than 50 percemt by using our novel pay-per-impression social media celebrity-marketing platform.

  • Fred Wilby, Lead Front-end Engineer (computer science alumnus)
  • Founder and CEO of Brandplug, Sam Betesh (business administration major)
  • Growth Marketer at Brandplug, Tim Elkana (business administration major)

Atsá foods at Innovation Quest4th Place Winner: Atsá Foods
Atsá Foods LLC is an innovative foods company that incorporates Native American super foods into everyday snacks.

  • VP Logistics & Manufacturing for Asta Foods, Neal Gorris (industrial technology and packaging major)
  • VP Visual Communications and Design for Asta Foods, Sam Baber (art and design major)
  • VP Product Research and Development for Asta Foods, Peter Haverkamp.(food and science major)
  • President of Asta Foods, Rafael Pintor (agricultural business major)