Are you ready for the BIG BANG!? Not the literal cataclysmic birth of the universe, but rather the culmination of the 2018-19 UC Davis Big Bang! Business Competition. 105 teams were narrowed down to thirteen semi-finalists and this Thursday, May 23, the Final Five will emerge, present and the winner will be declared! It’s free to attend the festivities, but please RSVP here.
I know a number of the companies who made it to the semi-finals — they’ve presented at 1 Million Cups or other events around the region over the last year. I love seeing how founders have developed their early ideas into real businesses and I’m crossing my fingers that my friends at Humanly, PairAnything, RePurpose Energy, TownToday, and VertX Advertising make it to the finals! You can learn more about all the semi-finalists here, including links to their 2-minute pitch videos. Who’s your favorite to win?
Jeff and I will both be at the Kauffman Foundation’s ESHIP Summit in Kansas City this week along with hundreds of other entrepreneurial ecosystem builders from around the nation. The ESHIP Summit is a multi-year initiative designed to bring early adopters of ecosystem building together to think about — and collaboratively create — the programs, practices and policies that the field needs to more effectively do the work of creating communities that empower entrepreneurs. This is the third year and collectively, Jeff and I attended the first two summits. You can read the draft Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Building Playbook 3.0 here. The outcome from this year’s summit should be a final version. I’m stoked and ready to spend the week both contributing and learning.
Here’s my favorite statement from the Playbook (and what defines the work we do at StartupSac):
We must make our economy more entrepreneurial, creating more growth, jobs, wealth, and innovation. Communities need to think beyond stealing companies from other jurisdictions and retaining existing companies. Instead, they must concentrate on growing new companies. (emphasis mine)
I love me some homegrown Sacramento region startup companies! You’re what gets me up every morning!
My FAV local entrepreneur, Sonny Mayugba, CMO of Waitr (and owner of several Sacramento restaurants) is the StartupSac Happy Hour AMA guest on Tuesday, May 28 at Hot Italian. YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS an opportunity to ask Sonny ANYTHING about his startup journey! RSVP
Placer County Folk! 1 Million Cups is heading to Roseville next week, May 29. This is a morning startup presentation event with plenty of hot coffee! Free to attend. RSVP
Global Startup Weekend Sustainable Revolution is just a month away! Register now for this June 21-23 event and save big with Early Bird pricing! Plus, enter “digest” in the promo code field and save $25! Register
We’re building community! The StartupSac Community Facebook Group has over 300 members. Now we need you! Request to join here.
Abivin is the winner of the 2019 $1 M Startup World Cup
The 2019 Startup World Cup Grand Finale is one of my favorite startup events. The Startup World Cup, which is organized by Pegasus Tech Ventures, is a world wide competition with 35 global regional pitch events. The regional events are held in places like Nigeria and Vietnam as well as more well known places like Silicon Valley and Boston.
This year’s Grand Finale was held at the San Francisco Masonic Center and was a full day extravaganza. Before the final pitches from the finalist, there’s a mixture of international entertainment and fireside chats and speeches with A-List entrepreneurs.
My favorites was the fireside chat with Pandora Founder Tim Westergren and the keynote by TechCrunch’s Josh Constine who gave my favorite line of the event, “Create Your Own Hype but Don’t Believe It.” Afterwards, we were able to view the pitches of the 12 Global Finalists.
And the Winner Is….
Abivin, the finalist from Vietnam, took the top prize of $1 million. They have built an AI powered Logistics Optimization platform that helps companies save on logistics costs, automate process, and enable complete supply chain visibility.
Finalist from Norway
Tag Sensors, the finalist from Norway, has developed an innovative temperature logger solution that innovates the cold chain management. In their pitch, they announced a world wide global rollout with McDonalds.
Finalist form United States (Boston)
Sonavi Labs, the finalist from Boston, has developed the Feelix and FeelixPro, digital stethoscopes that incorporates their patented core AI technology.
Finalist from Mauritius
Aeraccess, the finalist from Mauritius, designs and manufactures custom drones used for law enforcement and the military.
Finalist from Japan
JEPLAN, the finalist from Japan, is a recycling company that has effectively been able to recycle clothes made from polyester. They have effectively created a textile to textile recycling supply chain in Japan with revenues of $7 M annually.
Finalist from Canada
Klue, the finalist from Canada, is a platform that aggregates competitive intelligence info from disparate sources and consolidates it into an easy to use dashboard.
Finalist from Australia
Starts at 60, the finalist from Australia, is the largest Australian online community for seniors with aspirations to rollout to the United States.
Finalist from Finland
Finnos, the finalist from Finland (an unintentional alliteration) , offers solutions that produce accurate comprehensive data on log quality already from sorting.
Finalist from Korea
Noul, the finalist from Korea, has developed miLab which is a compact device that can quickly and inexpensively test for Malaria using a very small blood sample.
Finalist from United States (Silicon Valley)
Mira, the finalist from Silicon Valley, has developed an FDA registered platform that consist of both hardware and software that tracks a woman’s fertility.
Finalist From Brazil
Biosolvit, the finalist from Brazil, created a material that can effectively absorb crude oil from water as they demonstrated in their video demo. Their tagline was save the world and make money.
Finalist from Sweden
Mimbly, the finalist from Sweden, has created an add on water recycling system designed for hotel and apartment building washing machines. Their system saves 90% of water, 30% in energy, and reduces the microplastics sent into the river and oceans.
As I reflect on the finale, I think it’s amazing that obscure startups world wide can share a global stage with other powerhouse startups from Silicon Valley and get the visibility and funding they need to grow. It’s quite amazing. The World Cup illustrates that innovation occurs globally and I look forward to the 2020 competition.
Startup Graduation season continues: last week I attended the Sacramento Entrepreneurship Academy’s 2019 Showcase and was impressed with the business ideas being pursued by this year’s graduating cohort. There were ten new business launched and they are solving problems ranging from mental health to sustainability to hangover recovery and everywhere in-between! I’m scheduling them to present at 1 Million Cups over the next 4-6 weeks so keep an eye out for these brand new companies! Congrats to ALVA4U, Apollo VR, Blockchain of Evidence, Box to the Future, Faculty Support System, Mental Health Navigator, RAIVES, Recycle Genie, RELIV and Xiaocun!
The final round of startup graduations happens next week, on Thursday, May 23, when UC Davis Big Bang! Business Competition holds its Finalist Presentations and Award Ceremony. It’s free to attend but please RSVP so they’ll know you are coming. More details/RSVP here.
Speaking of cool startup-focused events in our region, I want to remind you that the Impact Global Venture Summit is happening June 19 at Golden 1 Center. Attendees will gain insights on the potential impact of foundation technologies, hands-on demonstrations of early applications, and access to the real innovators and policymakers shaping their adoption in our markets and communities. It’s also a great opportunity to rub elbows with Silicon Valley/SF investment capital! The SUPER EARLY BIRD price is expiring next week, so register now, using this link to get $10 off the early bird registration fee of $35. Don’t be a procrastinator — you know you want to go!
REMINDER: StartupSac is hosting another Warm-Up Pitch event on June 25 to help you prepare for presenting to investors. If you have a working MVP and have revenue or are very close to it, this competition will hone your presentation skills and teach you what investors are looking for in potential portfolio companies. In addition to the opportunity to present on stage in front of coaches and investors, qualified candidates will attend 3 pitch workshops prior to the Warm-Up Pitch. Applications are due by THIS WEDNESDAY May 15. Apply Now
This Week’s Best Bets
1 Million Cups will be at the Metro Chamber/SBDC this Wednesday morning. It’s your opportunity to see one of the Big Bang! semi-finalists present (PairAnything) and one of the SEA graduates present (Apollo AR). This meetup starts promptly at 9:00 am so come a little early to grab a cup of coffee, meet someone new and find a seat before the show starts. It’s free to attend but RSVPs appreciated! RSVP
Ready for a little fun? Geek out at the Sacramento Developer Collective’s Social Mixer at the Coin-Op Game Room on K St this Friday. It will be a fun time of food, libation, gaming and hanging out with your people. Newbies welcome! Free but RSVP
June 21-23 Startup Weekend Sustainable Revolution is happening at The Atrium in Sacramento. It’s part of a global initiative and over 50 same-themed startup weekends will be happening all over the world in June. Combine early bird pricing ($75) with your digest reader’s discount (use promo code digest for $25 off) and attend this 2 1/2 day event for just $50. That includes SEVEN delicious meals! Anyone can participate — all you need is a desire to help solve a world problem related to sustainability. More info/Get Tickets
We’re building community! The StartupSac Community Facebook Group has over 300 members. Now we need you! Request to join here.
There’s lots of great stuff going on in the tech startup community–check out the details in this week’s Startup Digest. If you’d like to receive the digest in your inbox every Monday morning, sign up for free here. And for even more startup information, happenings and resources, browse the StartupSac Website.
If you’ve organized (or know about) an event you think belongs in the Startup Digest, please submit it here for consideration.
H@ck the Park Fest transforms North Laguna Park into a tech wonderland for all ages! In partnership with the City of Sacramento, local S.T.E.M. based non-profit Square Root Academy has curated a STEM-tastic experience for the whole family celebrating culture, innovation, and community! This festival is engineered for fun and you definitely don’t want to miss out on experiencing the festivities!
Speaking of festivities, be prepared for all kinds of fun at the HtP Fest InnoStage, InnoBooths and Science Fair Exhibits! The InnoStage will showcase science infused performances with a special performance from our friends at Intel (ever been to a drone show?). Festival goers will also get a chance to interact with dozens of interactive booths hosted by HtP Maker Partners. And as most of us may have experienced, making happens at all ages which is why Htp Fest will also be working with scholars from the Elk Grove, Twin Rivers, and Sacramento City Unified School Districts to allow scholars the platform at the HtP Fest to show the city how they leverage their tech skills to solve issues in their community at HtP’s Science Fair Exhibit!
All this, +FOOD TRUCKS! & MORE @ HtP, Sacramento’s S.T.E.M. Festival in the Park!
Square Root Academy is a S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) based non-profit organization dedicated to educating underrepresented youth on the fundamentals of S.T.E.M. while emphasizing collaborative learning, innovation, and academic excellence.
This goal is executed under three key pillars: Community involvement, project based learning, and professional S.T.E.M. exposure. They expose Academy students to the growing field of S.T.E.M. at no cost, while promoting creativity, leadership, and academic excellence.
Mark your calendars for the next StartupSac Happy Hour on May 28! We’ll have another guest entrepreneur ready to answer your startup, innovation, and entrepreneurial questions. Our featured guest this month will be Sonny Mayugba, serial entrepreneur, alum of the Launch accelerator, founder of Requested and now, Chief Marketing Officer for Waitr.
Sonny Mayugba is Chief Marketing Officer of Waitr Holdings (Nasdaq:WTRH), the highly successful mobile on-demand restaurant ordering and delivery company. In his role, Sonny has been instrumental in positioning Waitr, which became a public company in late 2018, for the national stage, and led all communications efforts surrounding Waitr’s recent acquisition of Bite Squad, a Minneapolis-based online restaurant food delivery service. Stewarding the Waitr brand, user acquisition, activation and retention and company revenue growth, Sonny has helped Waitr grow to serve cities in 22 states across the U.S.
Sonny joined Waitr through the acquisition of the company he founded, Requested, a venture-funded software platform that enabled diners to name their own price at restaurants that Inc. Magazine named one of the top eight startups to watch for in 2015. He has a passion for local food, which he embraces as the Founder/Owner of the popular Red Rabbit Kitchen and Bar, Solomon’s Deli and Tiger Bar, all in California. Throughout his career, Sonny has built impactful business strategies for global commodities, NASDAQ-traded retailers and top-tier lifestyle brands.
So start prepping your questions now and make sure you join us for an engaging evening where you can learn and get direct insight and feedback as well as enjoy the supportive, collaborative Sacramento startup community.
Thanks to our venue host for this event Hot Italian in Midtown for working with us on the space to help keep this event free.
When I chat with local startup founders about what Sacramento needs to take our community to the next level, one of the most frequent comments that I hear is that we need more tech conferences and events. While I too would like to see more and bigger tech events in our region, let’s not forget those that we already have. I’m talking about the upcoming Impact Global Venture Summit on June 19 at the Golden 1 Center.
The numbers for last year’s event are pretty impressive.
200 + Global Investors
Check out some of the photos from last year.
Back for its third year, this year’s event promises to be even bigger and better. The Impact Global Venture Summit will be a day-long exhibition focused on the innovation and regulation of emerging tech. Attendees will gain insights on the potential impact of foundation technologies, hands-on demonstrations of early applications, and access to the real innovators and policymakers shaping their adoption in our markets and communities. Technology and policy are colliding everywhere you look; those who understand these collisions will create the greatest opportunities.
Here’s an overview of what to expect at this year’s event.
3 running stages & exhibition areas
15 expert panels & presentations
25+ tech exhibitors
Office Hours sessions
VIP & LP reception + green room
Media & Press interview space
Topics Include in this Year’s Event
Internet Platforms & Markets
Blockchain & Data Economy
Mobility & Infrastructure
Analytics & Governance
Women Leading Tech
Date: Wednesday, June 19
Time: 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Location: Golden 1 Center
We’ve got our tickets. Will we see you there? We’ve got a “SUPER EARLY BIRD” price for you! Just use the link below get $10 off the early bird registration fee of $35.
StartupSac is hosting another Warm-Up Pitch to help you prepare for presenting to investors. If you are close to being investment-ready (have a working MVP and have revenue or are very close to it), this competition will hone your presentation skills and teach you what investors are looking for in potential portfolio companies. In addition to the opportunity to present on stage in front of coaches and investors, qualified candidates will attend a pitch workshop and two pitch practice sessions prior to the Warm-Up Pitch.
While this is not an investment pitch, winners will receive a non-cash prize package that includes services that will help them prepare their startup to be investment ready. Prizes will be awarded for First Place, Second Place and Audience Favorite.
StartupSac Warm-Up Pitch
Tuesday, June 25, 4:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Mandatory Workshop Dates — all workshops from 6:00-8:00 pm
Monday, June 3 Presentation Workshop
Monday, June 10 Pitch Practice
Monday, June 17 Final Pitch Practice
Sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact Laura Good for details.
StartupSac Warm-Up Pitch Partners
About StartupSac Warm-Up Pitch
StartupSac Warm-Up Pitch is an event designed to help near investment-ready startups hone their presentations skills and pitch decks. A cohort of Sacramento region startups is selected to attend an Investment Pitch Preparation workshop and then compete for a prize package in front of a panel of judges and an audience of investors, mentors and other key players in Sacramento startup ecosystem. A First Place, Second Place and Audience Choice are selected and awarded a non-cash prize packages of services that will help them advance their company. The presenting startups do not offer investment opportunities–this is a Demo event only. The events help participants develop presentation skills, provide valuable feedback for future pitches to investors, and connect startups with mentors and coaches.
Improve Sacramento’s economic trajectory through innovation by improving the viability, visibility, and scalability of Sacramento startups by holding a series of community startup pitch competition events each year.
A 2018 report by the Brookings Institution found significant gaps in our innovation ecosystem – that Sacramento lags our peers in business dynamism and that to improve our economic trajectory requires actions to help young innovative firms start and scale.
Founders and investors report a need for more pitch events in the region to better prepare startups for pitching to investors for funding, to gain access to high level advisors in order to help them scale and succeed. Additionally, many startups lack connections with experienced advisors and mentors that can provide invaluable insight, guidance, and experience.
How do you create a company that is considered one of the best places to work or one of the most successful in an industry? You don’t get that recognition from the old notion of being a boss; someone who tells people what to do. Is it all about who you hire, how you develop talent, or the products and services you sell? What’s the secret sauce?
Today, businesses successful at attracting and retaining talent, exceeding customer expectations, and becoming vanguard in their industries demonstrate a new vision of what it means to be boss.
Attend BizX 2019 to find out how some local business leaders are achieving success through this new vision, and learn how you can too!
Join entrepreneurs, small businesses, and industry leaders at the Golden 1 Center on May 7, 2019 for an afternoon of inspirational storytelling designed to energize, motivate, and give you practical tips to lead business growth, talent development, and competitive advantage.
Cassandra Walker-Pye, Founder & CEO, 3.14 Communications
For over 35 years, Cassandra Walker Pye has enjoyed a successful career in communications, government, politics and advocacy for corporate interests in global, national, state and local arenas. In January 2015, she founded 3.14 Communications, LLC. In addition to leading a full-service communication consultancy, Pye is a professional trainer, facilitator and executive coach.
Darryl Carter, CEO & Founder, DDI Consulting
A former football champion at Cal Lutheran University, Darryl Carter started his post-college career in sales management in the retail industry. After joining a growing sales and marketing company that enabled him to gain news skills and develop professionally at his own pace, he was on track to being one of the company’s key expansion players. That experience, combined with his passion for motivating people and helping others create a life of financial freedom, led him to establish DDI Consulting, Inc. in 2014.
Francine Vorhees, Partner, Moss Adams
Francine Vorhees is a partner at Moss Adams, a leading integrated professional services firm providing accounting, tax and business consulting services firm serving clients nationally and abroad. Francine leads Moss Adams’ trust and estate practice for the firm’s California Central Valley office and co-leads its estate planning practice.
Donte and Dominic Morris, Founders, HoopMaps
Twin brothers Dominic and Donte Morris are sports fanatics with a passion for entrepreneurship. Donte and Dominic taught themselves coding and created HoopMaps, a mobile location-based app that calls up a map that shows games taking place nearby or about to start. The brothers’ innovation gained popularity after local news media coverage leading into the NCAA Tournament and coverage on the popular technology websites TechCruch and SportTechie, and on ESPN’s morning SportsCenter show.
For nearly 20 years, annual UC Davis Big Bang! Business Competition, the largest annual business competition in the Sacramento region, has been launching startups. On Thursday, May 23 the community will have a chance to see the latest cohort of startups pitch their ideas.
This year, record 105 teams from across campus, the Sacramento region, California, the country and the globe entered the 2019 competition.
After a networking reception, watch the five finalist teams pitch their ventures. Find out who wins in the the awards ceremony, including the $20,000 top prize and the People’s Choice Award, voted on by the audience. This year’s Big Bang! will award more than $100,000 in prize money.
First Place Award || $20,000 || Top innovation across all categories
People’s Choice Award || $7,500 || Selected by audience vote
Food + Agriculture Sector Award || $10,000
Health Sector Award || $10,000
Energy Sector Award || $10,000
Engineering Sector Award || $10,000
Central Valley Innovation Award || $10,000
UC Davis Health Innovation Award || $3,000
Food, Ag & Health Innovation Award || $3,000
CleanStart Award || $2,500
Date: Thursday, May 23
Time: 5:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Location: UC Davis Alumni Center, 530 Alumni Lane, Alpha Gamma Rho Room, Davis, CA 95616
At the April 23 StartupSac Happy Hour Barb DeHart stepped in as our guest to answer startup, innovation, and entrepreneurial questions from the audience. Barb is a startup advisor, investor, and co-founder & CEO of Sama Learning, virtual reality learning platform that recently was awarded “Best Pitch” by a panel of judges at the Capital Region ARVR Accelerator Demo Day. Barb shared her experience and insights as she fielded a range of questions from the audience. Check it out in the audio podcast below.
About Barb DeHart
Barbara DeHart fell in love with technology early in her life and has spent her career leading businesses in the media & entertainment technology industry. Barbara recently co-founded Sama Learning whose purpose is to use technology to teach technology, particularly in STEM. The Sama VR Learning Platform, even in its earliest versions is producing a full letter grade improvement in learning for 1st year college students. And in some college classes, they are reducing the failure rate to zero. Barbara has extensive experience in product strategy & management, distribution & marketing and mergers & acquisitions. She holds a bachelor’s degree from University of San Francisco.