Cheer on the Startup Challenge 2022 Finalists & Meet the Winners

Startup Challenge Finale is free and open to the public on May 6, 2022, from 1-4 PM at Cal State University Monterey Bay’s University Center, 4314 6th Avenue, Seaside. RSVP at

After weeks of workshops, mentoring, and pitch perfecting work, 26 finalists will compete at the Startup Challenge Monterey Bay Finale.

During the online Startup Challenge, Qualifying Round on April 8, 2022, participating businesses submitted five-minute pitch videos. After viewing the pitches, judges selected 26 finalists and provided feedback to all businesses who participated. Finalists are now in the process of attending workshops, meeting with mentors, and utilizing other resources supplied by Startup Challenge Monterey Bay, to enhance their pitch and get ready to compete at the Final Round.

This year’s Startup Challenge Finale is free and open to the public. Attendees can discover new startups at the Venture Showcase. Beginning at 1 PM on Friday, May 6th, the Venture Showcase will feature all participating finalist companies. Attendees will be able to vote for their favorite companies by visiting each booth.

Stick around to meet the winners of all divisions, along with the crowd favorite announced the same afternoon.

Startup Challenge has four divisions: Venture, Social Venture, Main Street and Student. Businesses intended to scale and provide venture-investor level returns compete in the Venture division. Those with a significant social mission compete in the Social Venture division. Small businesses and sole proprietorships compete in the Main Street Division, and students from middle to graduate school compete in the Student division. Finalists from each division compete for cash prizes and additional mentorship opportunities. 

RSVP today! See you at the CSUMB University Center on May 6th from 1-4 PM!

Meet the 2022 Finalists (listed in alphabetical order):

Student Division:

  • 3 – 4:30 – Service and food tech
  • ByAsh – Fashion-Tech
  • The Bus Stop – Hospitality and craft alcoholic beverages
  • Woof – Dog Food Retail 

Social Venture Division:

  • A Treasured Tree – Holiday trees with shelves that can be decorated to display holiday treats and gifts.
  • Blue Circle – Blue Circle offers certification of living wages to businesses who meet criteria based on MIT’s living wage calculator.
  • Christian Mendelsohn – Fentanyl fatal overdose prevention
  • Free Monterey Bay – Committed to serving survivors of sex trafficking. Serving women (18 and over) in ongoing case management, therapy, and helping them find residential care.
  • Mind Core – Teaches the evidence based skills of neuroscience in the workplace and educational settings to enhance employee performance and organizational culture.
  • Snapbrillia, Inc – eLearning, blockchain, and HR Technology
  • WorkArk – Staffing, education, business development

Main Street Division:

  • Agape Brands Corp. (Pizzauce) – Manufacturing/retail
  • Broken Tusk Wellness Education – Health and wellness
  • Edi Matsumoto Art & Design – Wearable art fashion design 
  • Eduk8 Learning Center – Education
  • Miss Lippe’s – Food and events
  • Oceanic Expeditions – A personable small boat whale watching company providing an intimate wildlife experience.
  • Red Engine Rides – Entertainment and fun
  • XterminatriX LLC – Pest control and pollinator garden

Venture Division:

  • Cured Ketchup – is platform that offers homecooked meals on a C2C Business Model.
  • InfiniRel Corp – Renewable energy
  • Lavender Creek Co. LLC – Consumer product goods and agriculture
  • Little Feet Packaging – Packaging
  • Panel Tek ADU – Kit homes and offices
  • V2NFT – NFT metaverse
  • WeUse Innovations Inc – Single-use to reusable packaging and products

Startup Challenge History

Startup Challenge Monterey Bay is the premier competitive startup competition for new businesses across Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito counties, with a mission to provide a platform for visibility, connections and funding to local entrepreneurs and offer them the tools they need to succeed in the marketplace.

The Startup Challenge began in 2010 as the Monterey Bay Regional Business Plan Competition and was created by the Marina Tech Cluster, a business incubator located at the MBEST Center in Marina. When the Marina Tech Cluster closed in 2013, the Challenge moved to its current home at the Institute for Innovation & Economic Development (iiED) in the College of Business at CSUMB. 

Over the past 12 years, the Challenge has provided a launch pad for a variety of businesses across the Central Coast. Since 2010, over 840 businesses have entered the Challenge. Past finalists include Yoderm (now Apostrophe), Cruz FoamHeavyConnect,  infiniRelNew Wave ProgramsMonterey Bay Moves,  Nece’s Gluten-Free Baked Goods in Monterey, New Bohemian Brewing Company in Santa Cruz, Open Ground Studios in Seaside, and the Carmel Honey Company in Carmel and Monterey.

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