Semi-Final Pitch Day

The Spring 2019 LAUNCH cohort gathered on April 12-13 for the second bootcamp of the semester. The teams spent Friday working on practicing and refining their VC pitches, attending lectures, and working with advisors. The teams then reconvened on Saturday to compete in the semifinals in front of a panel of judges comprised of VCs and angel investors to decide the finalists for Demo Day in two weeks.

Each team presented their pitch and were judged on their idea, their progress, and the viability of their product. The bootcamp also served as an opportunity for each team to get specialized mentorship from VCs and angel investors who have funded many startups in the past.

Pranav Sekhar and Brian Blumenfeld, co-founders of Quickscope, a curated E-sports highlight feed, talked about the value of working with the entire cohort and being able to listen to their pitches.

“It’s awesome. In one word, it’s so enlightening. You basically get to hear about all sorts of B2B and B2C company and learn about the differences in the ways that they approach the problems,” Sekhar said. “So with a lot of B2B companies, it’s like, look, we have this one customer and there are a lot of people like them and they face this one problem in their business. With a B2C company, it’s more about how to create value,” he added.

Blumenfeld, a 2015 Cal graduate in sociology, gave some advice to aspiring entrepreneurs. “Be forever humbled. You’re going to be constantly learning, you’re exploring a world on a blueprint and you’re trying to write it yourself. So be ready to learn and get hit in the face a few times, but action rules everything around us,” he said.

The 12 finalists will present their finalized pitches at Demo Day on Thursday, April 25th

The 12 teams that advanced to the finals to compete for the grand prize at Demo Day are (in no particular order):

  • Grido, a network of e-scooter charging docks placed at small businesses and private residences on city blocks

  • Callisto Rum, a team developing a new rum for the nascent craft rum market

  • Vested, an SEC-registered investment advisor that allows global investors to invest in US stocks and ETFs easily and affordably

  • Clean Slate, a team creating an easily-accessible STD test for high school and college students

  • Caldo, a smart vending machine company with fresh meals using broth and water-based heating technology

  • Fruitful Health, a mobile-web application that allows patients and providers to easily keep track of their most up-to-date medication lists

  • BruxA, a team aiming to improve the treatment of sleep bruxism by providing a smart night-guard and mobile application to track nighttime teeth grinding

  • Ogma Scientific, a team providing high-throughput microbial solutions for industrial ecosystems

  • StruDoc, an AI App that identifies building damage

  • Tannor’s Tea, a direct-to-customer matcha company, creating a first-to-market sugar-free matcha concentrate as an alternative to coffee

  • Eat Makhana, a team creating a nutritious snack food from water lily seeds known as “Makhana”.

  • Suite Social, a marketplace used to automate and scale influencer marketing, acting as a “market maker” for influencer campaigns and lowering transaction costs that occur when orchestrating a micro-influencer campaign.