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Sunstone Management Announces Million Dollar Commitment at Sunstone CSU Startup Launch Competition
[May 10, 2023]

Sunstone Management Announces Million Dollar Commitment at Sunstone CSU Startup Launch Competition

Fifteen student teams from CSU campuses took home a total of $200,000 on Friday, May 5, at the conclusion of the Sunstone CSU Startup Launch Competition hosted at San Jose State University.

Sunstone Management announced at the event that this is the first year of a five-year commitment to sponsor the entrepreneurial event, with a total of $1 million coming through the Sunstone Community Fund in prize money to promote pursuit of business innovation at California State University campuses.

"This is an investment in the future of entrepreneurship," said John Keisler, CEO of Sunstone Management. "Being able to tap into and support the brain power and energy of students and professors in the CSU system is both our honor and duty. We look forward to a long partnership."

There were five tracks in the competition - two product tracks, two services tracks and a social entrepreneurship track. Two teams each from 18 of the 23 campuses in the CSU came to compete in the five tracks.

The CSU chancellor's office was pleased with the event, according to Dr. Ganesh Raman, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research, who was in San Jose.

"I was delighted to see 18 CSU campuses participate in the systemwide CSU/Sunstone student business pitch competition hosted by SJSU," he said. "We were treated to some spectacular business pitches on new products, services and ventures with social impact. We are grateful to Sunstone Management for their generous support that provided significant prizes to the CSU student launched companies."

Judges evaluated pitches based on desirability, feasibility, and viability. First, second and third place awards were made in each track, with teams winning $25,000, $10,000 and $5,000 respectively.

"The Sunstone CSU Startup Launch has taken another big step forward with 36 teams representing 18 of the 23 CSU campuses competing for prize money to move their ideas forward," said Wade Martin, director of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Cal State Long Beach and one of the Startup Launch founders. "The competition showed the high-quality entrepreneurs that are coming out of the CSU system. The support from Sunstone Community Fund is making this possible and shining a light on the potential economic impact of the CSU community on the state economy."

Winners in each track were:

Product Track 1

  • First Place - AxoTech (CSU San Bernardino)
  • Second Place - AirGlue (Sonoma State)
  • Third Place - From Nature (CSU Northridge)

Product Track 2

  • First Place - Solubrin (CSU San Bernrdino)
  • Second Place - X-Adapt (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo)
  • Third Place - Tipsy Treats (CSU Northridge)

Service Track 1

  • First Place - Nomad Recruiting (Fresno State)
  • Second Place - FutPlay (San Jose State)
  • Third Place - Altrole (Cal Poly Humboldt)

Service Track 2

  • First Place - Ryde (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo)
  • Second Place - ReliaCare (San Diego State)
  • Third Place - Credit Cliq (San Jose State)

Social Enterprise

  • First Place - Planit Ponics (CSU Dominguez Hills)
  • Second Place - Craft Your Bra (CSU San Marcos)
  • Third Place - Bag/Get (CSU Fullerton)

Sunstone Management, a diversified private capital sponsor firm headquartered in Irvine, Calif., focuses on early-stage startup companies through partnerships with higher education institutions, governments, accelerators and more.

The 2024 Sunstone CSU Startup Launch Competition will be held at CSU Dominguez Hills. Contact Jayro Sandoval at [email protected] to participate and learn more about the Sunstone Community Fund.

About Sunstone Management

Sunstone Management is a diversified private capital sponsor firm located in Southern California that invests in diverse early-stage technology entrepreneurs who seek to build great companies. We believe in the aspirational power of the American economy to attract and inspire investors and entrepreneurs from throughout the world. We deliver new and exciting opportunities for economic growth through the creation of innovative public-private partnerships, and our unique experience across government, education, and private sectors. Identified by Financial Times as one of America's Fastest Growing Companies three years in a row.

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About Sunstone Community Fund

The Sunstone Community Fund is a Donor Advised Fund managed by the National Philanthropic Trust. It is an important component of Sunstone Management's vision to advance public-benefit programs that support the development of inclusive and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems. The SCF supports a network of universities, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies that develop and implement university-based entrepreneurship programs, early-stage tech accelerators, and advance local economic development through inclusive entrepreneurship and innovation.

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