Several Engineering Students Launch Startups in Cal Poly’s HotHouse Summer Accelerator Program

Several engineering students are included in this year'sa Summer Accelerator Program.
Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Summer Accelerator program where students and recent alumni develop their business model, learn how to operate a business, and practice telling their story to pitch their company. Tractor Cloud, an end-to-end heavy machinery diagnostic, management and predictive maintenance cloud platform developed by liberal arts and engineering studies senior Takumi Arai of Torrance, California, industrial technology and packaging senior Harrison Whitaker of Carmel Valley, California, electrical engineering seniors Jin Huang of Buena Park, California and Kyle Kesler of Poway, California, computer science senior Roxanne Miller of San Ramon, California and computer science master’s student Morgan Swanson of Pleasanton, California. Photo by Joe Johnston/University Photographer/Cal Poly 7-22-21

Ali Mohammad is one of several engineering students participating in the Summer Accelerator Program.
Ali Mohhamad, a computer engineering student, works during the Summer Accelerator Program. His team is creating an extended reality (XR) company developing an educational virtual reality (VR) sandbox that can be used by science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students to conduct experiments. Photo by Joe Johnston/University Photographer/Cal Poly 7-22-21

Five of the nine startup teams accepted into Cal Poly’s HotHouse Summer Accelerator program feature students from the College of Engineering, according to the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE).

The intensive 13-week program, through the CIE, helps Cal Poly students and recent graduates develop their startup ideas and launch their companies. The selected teams are provided with $10,000 in seed funding, access to expert mentorship and tailored workshops and a dedicated office space in the SLO HotHouse.

“The accelerator is our most comprehensive offering at the CIE, providing a true launchpad experience for student entrepreneurial teams through workshops, mentorship, community building, leadership development and access to capital,” CIE Director of Student Innovation Programs Jose Huitron said.

At the end of the program, teams will be given the opportunity to pitch their companies to investors and show what they accomplished during their time in the accelerator at Demo Day, to be held in September.

Applicants from across the Cal Poly campus competed for one of the eight available spots in this year’s HotHouse Summer Accelerator. A dozen finalists were considered from the initial 26 applicants before eight were chosen by a panel of judges earlier this month.

This year’s cohort represents a variety of concepts, from children’s’ health and wellness with this year’s Innovation Quest winner FEARLESS Fitness Kids, to virtual reality innovation with Odin XR.

“We have such a high-energy group and diverse set of entrepreneurs that I’m excited to work with over the course of the summer,” Huitron said. “I believe this is going to be one of our most dynamic cohorts yet and what is shaping up to be an eventful summer of learning and growth.”

This year’s cohorts with engineering students include:


— For Mom is building a postpartum recovery platform that provides holistic support to ensure mothers properly heal after birth. It was launched by Christina Grigorian of La Crescenta, California, who earned her master’s degree in biomedical engineering, and Camila Monchini of Santa Monica, California, who is a graduate biomedical engineering student.

— OdinXR is developing an educational virtual reality sandbox that engineering students can use to conduct experiments. It was founded by electrical engineering senior Tessa Luzuriaga of Temecula, California, computer engineering senior Ali Mohammad of Escondido, California and electrical engineering senior Ruben Curiel of Palmdale, California

— Slolar is empowering residential solar panel owners to accelerate their return on investment. It was founded by Caletena of Glendale, California and recent graduates Paul Romano, mechanical engineering, of Los Olivos, California and Fernando Estevez, computer engineering, of Goleta, California.

— TractorCloud is building a hardware-software solution to help farmers and operations managers monitor the maintenance of their vehicles. It was founded by computer science graduate student Morgan Swanson of Pleasanton, California, industrial technology and packaging graduate Harrison Whitaker of Carmel Valley, California and Roxanne Miller of San Ramon, California, who earned a master’s in computer science in June.

— Zoetic Running, formerly Muscle Ninja, is developing wearable technology to help runners move without injury. It was founded by Ivet Avalos of Moorpark, California, who graduated in June with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering, and computer science graduate student Zeeshan Khan of Los Gatos, California.

The Cal Poly College of Engineering understands there has been an enormous amount of turmoil and transition due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). As we continue offering support to our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends, we also continue providing critical updates as well as college highlights. Ours is a college full of creative and bright engineers and staff. For more information on COVID-19 visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. For more information on how Cal Poly is responding to COVID-19, visit the Cal Poly Coronavirus website Coronavirus website.

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