Students and San Luis Obispo community members launched 11 startups in 54 hours at the Cal Poly Entrepreneurs’ annual Startup Weekend Nov. 9-11.

Startup Weekend happens all over the world, but Cal Poly’s is one of the few student-run events and one of the highest attended, Cal Poly Entrepreneurs president and business administration senior Sierra Scolaro said.

Participants kicked off Startup Weekend Friday by pitching their business ideas to the whole group. Participants voted on their favorites and formed teams of around 11 people.

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Students and community members of diverse backgrounds worked together to formulate business plans, build software, prototype, talk to customers and create succinct minimum viable products to present to an audience and panel of judges.

Startup Weekend participant and political science freshman Sakina Nuruddin said the lack of sleep was worth the experience.

“I think you will be surprised to see how passionate and excited you will be going through a process like this,” Nuruddin said. “It’s so inspiring and motivating.”

Two days after meeting each other — many for the first time — team members presented their pitches on Sunday, Nov. 11, in Chumash Auditorium. The final 11 company launches included:

  • Poly Peels: a water conservation system made out of orange and avocado peels. The peels bond with water to form a water-retaining gelatin.
  • Tulum Cosmetics: a business meant to treat medical issues. The minimum viable product they presented at the competition was a liquid lipstick that expedites the cold sore healing process.
  • Poly Talent: an online freelance marketplace of Cal Poly creators.
  • EleVate: a laptop case with a built-in stand providing protection with ways to adjust for height.
  • Openspace VR: an affordable, mobile VR experience that would utilize consumers’ personal mobile devices and handheld motion trackers.
  • Odobo: a plugin that would offer a sidebar of local options available for purchase every time they search for a product on Amazon.
  • Female Synergies: a device females can use to continuously monitor their core body temperature to optimize contraception and provide Kegel exercises.
  • Health Block: a blockchain that would prevent the selling of personal health data to third parties under the table.
  • Spiced: a website that would provide visibility and accessibility to spices from around the world.
  • OMO: a platform for artists to grow their follower count and live performance audience through playlists.
  • Ethic: an online marketplace for ethically sourced products.

After each company delivered their pitch, audience choice awards for best pitch and most promising team were decided using artificial intelligence. Poly Talent won the best pitch award. No consensus could be reached for the most promising team award using the Swarm AI software.

The judges selected EleVate as the first place winner overall. The team won admittance to the Hatchery program, iFixit toolkits, three cases of Yerba Mate, a tour of Doc Burnstein’s, mentorship from Unanimous AI and a Creative Time Package. The second and third place winners were Tulum Cosmetics and Poly Peels, respectively.

Lauren Arendt | Mustang News

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