Zach Donnenfield | Mustang News

Six startup companies graduated from the SLO HotHouse Incubator program run by the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). Between them, the companies have more than two dozen employees and $1.8 million in venture capital.

According to the CIE website, the two-year program gives early-startups access to the necessary tools, training and framework for success in the professional world. CIE Incubator Director Judy Mahan was optimistic and excited for the future of the recently graduated startups.

“After working closely with these companies over the course of their development, we are excited to see where the future takes them as they continue to expand and grow locally,” Mahan said.

The companies that graduated from the CIE SLO HotHouse Incubator program include:

  1. App Scrolls – an online community platform that increases player engagement and retention for any game;
  2. Bottlefly – a firm that uses flavor chemistry and data science to help retailers increase wine sales and margins and reach their target demographic;
  3. Brandplug – software that helps marketers buy high quality, high return-on-investment promotions from social media celebrities;
  4. Calwise Spirits Co. – produces rum and gin that is handcrafted on the Central Coast with the fruits and herbs that define West Coast life;
  5. Flume – puts household water usage in users’ hands with an innovative Internet of Things (IoT) sensor that protects homes from water damage, conserves water and decreases cost;
  6. Reduce. Reuse. Grow. – aims to replace unsustainable packaging products with smarter, more eco-friendly solutions that also restore local communities’ native landscapes

Since its official introduction in 2010, the CIE has boosted regional economic development. These six companies have created 27 jobs, benefited from 644 hours of one-on-one consultations and raised $1,836,000 in capital. All six companies will remain in San Luis Obispo county.

“The SLO HotHouse Incubator program helped us launch our company and gave us the tools we needed to create a sustainable business,” co-founder and CEO of Reduce. Reuse. Grow. Alex Henige said. “The resources, mentorships and connections made through this program have allowed us to grow to where we are today.”

With the program’s recent success, five additional community startups have been added to the SLO HotHouse Incubator program. They will join five other ventures that are in their second year of the 24-month incubator program and five in their first year of the program, making a total of 15 startups currently incubating at the SLO HotHouse.

“As we progress towards the future, startups play a critical role not only in the growth of our economy but also in discovering solutions to solve real-world problems,” CIE Executive Director Tod Nelson said. “We are proud to drive entrepreneurship forward and we are committed to building an environment that will help nurture innovative ideas and facilitate success.”

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