Cal Poly Students Launch 11 Companies During Startup Weekend

A lot can happen in 54 hours. In the 54 hours that spanned Nov. 9-11, teams of interdisciplinary Cal Poly students, along with support from San Luis Obispo community members, launched 11 startup businesses as part of the Cal Poly Entrepreneurs’ Startup Weekend.

Startup Weekend isn’t solely a Cal Poly venture. In fact, they happen worldwide. But the one hosted by Cal Poly is one of the few that is entirely student-run. Cal Poly Entrepreneurs planned, organized, promoted and facilitated the event. It brought together students from a variety of academic backgrounds with business visions and an interest in entrepreneurship, who gained hands-on experience building a company from scratch.

At the start of the weekend, participants pitched their big ideas to the entire group, who then voted on their favorites. After settling on 11 finalists, the participants split into teams and got to work. Team members, some of whom had never met before, worked closely and tirelessly for the rest of the weekend to launch each startup.

And by Sunday, all 11 companies were off the ground. Nov. 11 found the teams in Chumash Auditorium, presenting their work to an audience and a panel of judges.

The “Best Pitch” Award, decided by audience participation in sponsor Unanimous AI’s Swarm technology, went to Poly Talent, an online freelance marketplace. While the overall winner, decided by the judges, was EleVate, a unique laptop case with a built-in stand.

Other event sponsors included Whalebird Kombucha, Guayaki Yerba Mate, Clif Bar, Dozuki, iFixit, Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab, Pearce Services and Creative Tim.

The winning team walked away with an package of prizes, including admittance to the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s Hatchery program. But win or lose, every team left with valuable Learn by Doing experience and a taste of the startup journey.

For more information on the startup companies, check out this Mustang News feature.