Eight startups founded by Cal Poly students and recent grads pitched to a packed house at Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entreprenurship’s Demo Day on Friday, Sept. 9. The event marked the conclusion of CIE’s Summer Accelerator, where each team received seed funding, intensive mentoring from leading entrepreneurs and innovators, and work space in the SLO HotHouse for 13 weeks.
The entrepreneurs networked with a crowd of more than 300 community members, Cal Poly supporters and potential investors at the Performing Arts Center. Orfalea College of Business students and alumni were part of six of the eight companies presenting.
Finance senior Matt Maxwell and his team developed a scalable electric bike rental company aiming to revolutionize transportation in college towns and in busy urban areas. The company empowers commuters to choose a more sustainable way to get around by offering high-quality bikes, maintenance, and month-to-month rental options.
Biomedical engineering major Griffin Paul and mechanical engineering grad Ricky Riedl engineered sturdy, adaptable parts that enable a variety of bicycles to carry significant loads. The new rack design is designed to lower the center of gravity of a bicycle’s front wheel to carry cargo safely.
Finance major Maxwell Fong and industrial technology and packaging senior Elan Timmons teamed up to create a smartphone case with a built-in stun gun used for self defense. The product’s integrated app also dispatches police to the scene of the incident, notifies emergency contacts, and starts recording video to help identify and apprehend an assailant.
Ashley Tovar, a liberal studies senior, and Naomi Faud, a graphic communications sophomore, established an all-in-one website where brides and event planners can book space and vendors directly. Their vision is to create a marketplace that allows homeowners, landowners, and businesses to list their properties and event services.
Entrepreneurship student Lucas Toohey and computer engineering student Jacob Copus helped create unique technology that allows multiple streaming of 2D content in a 3D environment. Its interactive features and functions take advantage of booming virtual reality technology.
Entrepreneurship senior Kiley Becker, computer engineering senior Nicholas Verhage and industrial engineering junior Michael Wong are behind PCkit, a cost-efficient gaming computer kit that customers could build themselves. The kits would be adaptable to specific games and would come complete with all tools, parts, and instructions necessary.
Business students Gannon Daynes, Sonya Bengali and Kendall Melton teamed up with mechanical engineer Jared Becker to create the Vibro hydration backpack that vibrates bass frequencies from the music played at live music festivals. The company looks to tap into the growing market of electronic dance music (EDM) festivals around the world.
Entrepreneurship alumna Kaitlyn Henry and mechanical engineering junior Adrian Eaton presented their sustainable drip irrigation technology that helps the agricultural community save water and grow more consistent crops. The team targeted the Central Coast’s grape growing industry, and plans to expand to other crops and regions.
CIE’s Accelerator program is one of many ways Cal Poly students can explore their own business idea or innovate a new product or service. Throughout the year, it also offers pitch competitions, hackathons, industry tours, and community forums. The CIE also offers an on-campus Hatchery for young startus, and an Incubator program for more mature ventures looking for co-working space in a thriving entrepreneurial environment in Downtown San Luis Obispo. For more information, visit www.cie.calpoly.edu.