Zach Donnenfield | Mustang News

iCracked Founder AJ Forsythe returned to the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s (CIE) Elevator Pitch Competition 11 years after he pitched his phone repair company idea at Cal Poly. 

Now with nearly 800,000 repairs, iCracked, that company, has gained national media attention and Forsythe has been featured on Inc. Magazine’s “30 under 30” list.

“Winning the Cal Poly Elevator Pitch Competition back in 2011 really put the wind in the company’s sail,” Forsythe said.

Forysthe was a fifth year psychology student when the idea for iCracked came to him. He said he was tired of constantly breaking his phone and paying Apple to fix it, so he bought parts and fixed it himself.

“We now have a couple thousand technicians, we partner with insurance companies and retailers and we’re one of Amazon’s largest in-home service providers right now,” Forsythe said.

AJ and his brother Chris Forsythe, co-founder of Rebel Coast Winery, were the keynote speakers at this years competition on Nov. 7 at the Performing Arts Center.

The brothers took the stage after the pitches were made, recounting stories crucial to their growth as entrepreneurs.

Both Chris and AJ started pursuing entrepreneurship while studying and wrestling for Cal Poly’s team. They quit wrestling when they began to take starting their own businesses seriously.

“Our parents cut us off, so we needed to make money. We started businesses out of necessity,” AJ said. “I used to get kicked out of the library every night trying to build a business there.”

The competition

Contestants pitched their ideas on stage in 90 seconds to a panel of judges — think Shark Tank, but less brutal. Only three winners could be chosen, one from Cuesta College, one from Cal Poly, and one chosen by the audience. Journalism senior Alyssa Mavor won both the Cal Poly prize and the audience choice prize with her idea Local Motive, a web browser extension that shows a local option for anything you want to buy.  

“I’m really grateful and excited. It’s still sinking in, I haven’t wrapped my brain around it,” Mavor said.

Mavor said she plans to take her idea to the hatchery, an on-campus program that fosters entrepreneurship initiatives among the student body.

“My pitch was something that I really cared about and thought was possible,” Mavor said. “I’d really like it to become something someday.”

The winner from Cuesta College was Hannah Goldstein, who pitched Peace Through Coexistence, a business that would bring the local community together through yoga, meditation and music.

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