Cal Poly to Host Demo Day for Startups on Sept. 8

The Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) hosts its annual Demo Day on Friday, Sept. 8, at the Performing Arts Center on campus.

The event culminates CIE’s 2017 SLO HotHouse Summer Accelerator program — an intense 13-week program that helps students and recent graduates who have developed new products and ventures. Representatives of the six participating companies will give demonstrations, pitches and answer questions about their entrepreneurial efforts.

“It is truly incredible to watch the accelerator’s progress from start to finish,” said Tod Nelson, CIE executive director. “This unique program pushes them and encourages them to grow fast, and to grow smart. Demo Day is when we get to see how all this hard work is paying off.”

The summer accelerator program provides $10,000 in seed money to each company, hands-on strategic business guidance from Cal Poly faculty and mentors as well as dedicated office space at SLO HotHouse. The entrepreneurs receive training, introductions to investors and unlimited resources to help move their startup forward.

The CIE Accelerators constantly worked and pivoted throughout the program, and the startups are seeing this pay off.

“The SLO HotHouse Accelerator program has exceeded our expectations,” said Haley Pavone, CEO and founder of Pashion Footwear. “The program and resources at the CIE have allowed us to accomplish way more than we would have on our own. What I’ve learned here and the connections I’ve made are priceless.”

This year’s accelerator companies include a variety of industries and disciplines, making it a unique cohort. They include:

— Atsá Foods LLC is an innovative food company that integrates Native American superfoods into everyday nutritious snacks while positively impacting Native American communities where key ingredients are sourced.

— DTE Materials manufactures hemp-based, high-performance, non-toxic and sustainable building insulation material.

— LocalsOwn is a virtual farmstand offering local farmers’ market products online. It provides consumers with a way to see what the best local farms and food artisans have to offer with just a few clicks of the mouse.

— Pashion Footwear has designed an adaptable shoe that can easily convert from a pump into a flat that is an innovative and pain-free approach to women’s footwear.

— PolyRents simplifies the housing rental process for landlords and their prospective tenants.

— The Lens is a global media brand that captures a familiar world through authentic perspectives. “We connect you to human stories on global affairs, race, and culture and empower you to take action on the issues you care about most,” the company says.

Demo Day is sponsored by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Professional Corporation.  The Sept. 8 event is free and open to the public; advance registration is required. For more information and to register, go to