Cal Poly to Host Annual Demo Day Entrepreneur Event on Sept. 6

Six startups that participated in this year’s HotHouse Summer Accelerator program will showcase their businesses to the community

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) will host its annual Demo Day to showcase six startups Friday, Sept. 6, at the Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo.

The event culminates the CIE’s 2019 HotHouse Summer Accelerator program — an intense 12-week program that helps students and recent graduates who have developed new products and ventures. Representatives of the six participating companies will give demonstrations and pitches and answer questions about their entrepreneurial efforts.

“This is a diverse and cohesive group representing every one of Cal Poly’s six colleges.  It’s amazing to see how much the teams have grown and progressed throughout the program,” said John Townsend, CIE’s interim executive director. “They’ve been continually challenged and fully encouraged to advance at startup company speed, and Demo Day is when we get to see how all their hard work has paid off.”

The highly coveted 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 the HotHouse in downtown San Luis Obispo. The budding entrepreneurs receive training, introductions to investors and resources to help their startups move forward.

The members of this summer’s crop of CIE Accelerators, who constantly worked with advisors and pivoted over the course of the program to progress their startups, will show how their hard work has paid off.

“Mentorship is critical for startups because we have to deal with an incredible amount of uncertainty and there is no one clear path to success,” said Joseph Sobrero, co-founder of startup Ropegun. “The CIE has given us unique access to knowledge and resources that have fortunately led us in the right direction.”

This year’s accelerator cohort includes a variety of industries and disciplines:
— Armadillo Designs is creating the Armadillo Shell, a camper shell that covers the bed of a pickup truck, aimed at providing a better storage solution for construction workers and other trades. 

— Ethic is an e-commerce platform that highlights the social and environmental impacts of brands and products, making it easy and convenient for consumers across the country to shop their values.

— Ropegun is a mobile application that makes it easy for rock climbers to track their training progress, compete with friends and get personalized training suggestions based on their goals and performance.

— Totem is a music festival communication platform that allows attendees to call and text each other, even in the absence of an internet connection. 

— Tunmi Da Silva through her artwork brings the voices of marginalized communities into spaces where they are traditionally excluded.

— Wayve is making it easy for travelers to obtain clean, safe drinking water — wherever in the world they go. With a portable water purifier that doubles as a reusable water bottle cap, Wayve turns any faucet into a purified water source in seconds.

Demo Day is sponsored by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Professional Corp., a Palo Alto-based law firm specializing in business, securities and intellectual property law. The event is free and open to the public; advance registration is required. For more information and to register, go to The Fremont Theater is at 1035 Monterey St. in downtown San Luis Obispo.

About the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The CIE opens a world of entrepreneurial opportunity to Cal Poly students, faculty and community members and promotes entrepreneurial activity and dialogue across the university and throughout San Luis Obispo. For more information, go to

Contact: Candice Conti

August 30, 2019

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