The winners of this year’s Startup Challenge Monterey Bay were selected on May 12, 2017 by a panel of judges at the at the Joel and Dena Gambord Business & Information Technology Building on the CSU Monterey Bay campus.
Aether, the Venture Division Winner, won the $20,000 cash prize plus $10,000 in legal and other business services. Their goal is to lower manufacturing costs and accelerate pharmaceutical development by their Organism Design Software with high-throughput, robotic automation to engineer microorganisms for pharmaceutical production.
The Lab Pros, the Main Street Division Winner, won the $10,000 cash prize. They are a new local laboratory offering services and quality control for the Central Coast wine industry.
Cruz Foam, the Student Division Winner, (UC Santa Cruz) transforms shrimp shells into surfboards to shape the future of sustainable surf boards won the $1,500 cash prize.
This year 91 entrepreneurs from the Monterey Bay region applied for this year’s Startup Challenge. The Challenge includes three divisions: Venture, for businesses intended to grow into large enterprises; Main Street, for small businesses; and Student, for high school through graduate school. These applicants presented their ideas to a panel of judges on April 8. From that group, 24 finalists were selected to expand their business idea and prepare a 10-minute presentation to a panel of judges in the morning on May 12th.
These companies reflect the quality entrepreneurship happening in the Monterey Bay region, and the opportunity to grow viable businesses building on our regional strengths: cutting edge University-related research; thriving agriculture and wine industries; abundant natural resources and recreational opportunities; and an inherent desire to improve the world we live in.
FORA is the Premier Sponsor of the Startup Challenge through its Economic Development program, providing financial, strategy and marketing/IT support. FORA looks forward to continuing support and collaboration with CSUMB leadership and faculty, regional business leaders, and the entrepreneur community so the Monterey Bay Region becomes a leading hub of innovation, business creation and opportunity.