Entrepreneurs receive $40,000 in awards for big business ideas


Clarissa Alderete

Third place winners, Team Traction, presenting their business idea at the Techstars Start up event held at CSUB on Feb. 23rd, 2020.

Katrina Singleton, News Editor

Techstars Startup Weekend hosted their second annual event at CSU Bakersfield. The event is intended to give young entrepreneurs the opportunity to network with coaches & business leaders and get endorsements for their prototype ideas.

From Friday, Feb. 21 through Sunday, Feb. 23, ten groups spent 54 hours putting together business presentations for a panel of five judges: : John Paul Lake, Co-Founder of Kern Venture Group; richard Chapman, Ceo of the Kern Economic Development Corporation; Martyn Gross, President Of Stratify Genomics; Ian Journey, P.E. and LEED AP for Baskin Mechanical Engineers; and Austin Llach, Head of Mobile for Qorum.

Ranging from a new food location app to a new approach to online dating, the room was filled with entrepreneurs ready to change the game with their business ideas.

Over $40,000 worth of products & services from local law, accounting, branding, coworking, and tech companies were awarded to the ten teams that participated in the start-up weekend, and  Bank of America, the title sponsor of this year’s Techstars Startup Weekend, bankrolled the event with an overall cash gift of $20,000.

Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh was a guest speaker at Techstars Startup Weekend.

“The full range of creativity that’s in this room is so exciting,” said Goh.

Goh said the newest slogan for Bakersfield, which will help bring entrepreneurship to the forefront of the area’s economy  alongside the oil, agriculture, and aerospace industries, is “Bakersfield: The sound of something better.”

At the end of the presentations, three groups were awarded prizes for their business ideas.

Third place was Team Traction. This team developed an online dating site with the sole focus of helping single people find matches that will develop into long lasting connections. Traction starts off as a free trial that allows you to take quizzes and create an online user profile. The user is then matched with seven other Traction users who are compatible based on the way the quiz questions are answered.

Team Traction is considering staying together as team and building their business. This team met for the first time on Friday Feb. 21 during registration and stayed on the CSUB campus late in the night brainstorming their idea before even starting to build the online dating site.

“We were here until 1 a.m. last night putting together our presentation,” Sabrina Ziegler, one of the team members of Traction, said.

Team Traction are interested in testing their website in a campus environment in order to get more feedback from their key demographic, which is people aged 18-25.

Second place was Team Tagfolio. Tagfolio’s product is an attempt at getting rid of resumes and business cards. Tagfolio is a small wooden square equipped with a chip which allows colleagues to sync their resumes, portfolios, or even social media accounts to it. Then, with a tap of a phone, the resume will appear on that same device.

Team Tagfolio has already started to build revenue since the end of their presentation on Sunday Feb. 23. Tagfolio were selling some prototypes they made for $5, and had already sold five or six Tagfolio chips.

First place was Team Corner. Team Corner developed a map tracking application to locate moving food enterprises such as food trucks, as they are constantly moving from one place to another and current mapping services do not list these type of food enterprises in their data.

“We were shocked. There’s so many good teams, so we were betting on the other teams to win,” Morgan Cupp, one of Team Corner’s members, said.

Team Corner’s next step is to use all of the resources accumulated by their win to help solidify their business.

“Startup Weekend is a fantastic opportunity for us to continue growing entrepreneurship on the CSUB campus and in the Kern County community,” Faculty Advisor for the CSUB Entrepreneurship Club and one the event’s organizers, Jeremy Woods said.

“It provides the ‘next generation’ of student ventures that will continue helping us turn Kern County, California into a globally recognized hub for innovation over the next decade,” said Woods

CSUB President Lynette Zelezny also made an appearance at the event with a few words for the entrepreneurs.

“We know that Bakersfield and CSUB are gaining a reputation for being a leader in entrepreneurship, and we are proud of those who have stepped up to really show who we are as a city and as a county,” Zelezny said.

Zelezny said that Bakersfield has outpaced larger cities such as Seattle, Boston and cities in the Bay Area in launching start-ups, according to statistics from Inc. Magazine.