Santa Cruz Tech Beat


11th Annual Startup Challenge Monterey Bay Winners Announced


May 15, 2020 — Santa Cruz, CA

Regional tech startups startups Levered Learning and Parallel Flight Technologies each place in competition

On Friday, May 8, 2020, the Institute for Innovation and Economic Development (iiED) at the College of Business, Cal State University Monterey Bay held the final round of the 11th Annual Startup Challenge Monterey Bay. Thirty teams of entrepreneurs competed to be the champions. The Challenge this year had over 100 entering companies, and was supported by 40 judges and 25 mentors.

This year, the Startup Challenge went completely online. The Challenge held 8 online pitch workshops prior to the Qualifying Round on April 4th. The Qualifying Round pitches are normally held as a live in-person event, but this year the participants prepared their pitches as pre-recorded videos. 24 judges reviewed these pitches and chose 31 finalists in four divisions – Student division, Main Street division, Social Venture division, and Venture division.

These finalists were partnered with mentors to advise them on preparing their business summary and final pitch. The Startup Challenge hosted 8 finalist pitch workshops and rehearsals, a branding workshop, and a COVID-19 financial assistance webinar. Thirty of the thirty-one finalist teams then submitted their Final Round pitch videos, which were reviewed by a panel of regional business experts. On Friday, May 8th each of the finalist teams had an online Q&A session with the judges, after which the judges made their selections for winners and runners-up.

Congratulations to all of the participants in this year’s Startup Challenge! The winners of the 2020 Startup Challenge competition are:

Venture Division:

  • infiniRel Corporation – Winner
  • Parallel Flight Technologies, Inc. – Runner-Up
  • Ex Vivo Automation – Runner-Up

Social Venture Division:

  • We Hike, Inc. – Winner
  • Levered Learning – Runner-Up
  • JMM Dance Co. – Runner-Up

Main Street Division:

  • Nece’s Gluten Free Baked Goods – Winner
  • Hexbox Fitness – Runner-Up
  • Monterey Bay Moves – Runner-Up

Student Division:

  • Howe Neat, Inc. – Winner

For more information about these companies and the Startup Challenge go to

About Startup Challenge Monterey Bay
Startup Challenge Monterey Bay is supported by Cal State University Monterey Bay’s Institute for Innovation and Economic Development (iiED). The premier sponsor for this event is the Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FORA) and CalGE. Other sponsors include White Summers, IP Society.

About the Institute for Innovation and Economic Development
The Institute for Innovation and Economic Development
(iiED) is a community outreach program of the College of(iiED) is a community outreach program of the College of Business at CSU, Monterey Bay.  Supported through community contributions, sponsorships, and grants, the iiED staff, faculty, students, and business volunteers have worked with over 2,000 aspiring entrepreneurs, supported over 815 startup companies.


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