Meet the Finalists for the 2024 Startup Challenge!

Twenty innovative and exciting new businesses have been selected to be this year’s finalists in the Startup Challenge Monterey Bay.

The following companies from Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Councils have been selected to move to the Final Round

Student Division:

  • Love, Maddie – a home-based bakery specializing in Asian American desserts, particularly cakes
  • Metamorphosis – trendy and stylish clothing for all people of different races and ethnicities, body types, and ages
  • Tallyrus – web application that leverages AI to evaluate essays, significantly reducing the time teachers spend on grading
  • Velocity Auto Spa – a cutting-edge brushless automated car wash experience designed to meet the unique needs of vehicle owners

Social Venture Division:

  • Drivers’ Repair Initiative for Vehicle Empowerment – A charitable organization dedicated to assisting individuals with automotive repair costs
  • Mother Tree – an affordable recovery program for mothers experiencing mental health challenges before or after pregnancy
  • Motivando Corazones Consulting – provide services in three crucial areas, Parenting Support, Childhood Education Trainings, and Women Empowerment conferences
  • STEAM and Robotics for All in the 831 by Varajic Consulting Robotics and STEM/STEAM opportunities for students in our community after school, on weekends and summer camps

Main Street Division:

  • Becoming – Our app allows parents to easily create a baby book that covers the first few years of their child’s life
  • Fog’s End Distillery – We produce small batches of award-winning spirits in Monterey County
  • H.E.R.O. Event Services – a certified and accredited boutique agency that will help you save time and reduce stress by simplifying the planning and production processes
  • Rooted Wonder – Rooted Wonder play cafe will be a one-of-a-kind community space designed to foster creativity, imagination, and social interaction among children and families
  • Sammich’d – farm to table, locally sourced gourmet sandwiches
  • The Sticky Kitchen – The Sticky Kitchen is a commissary kitchen, ghost kitchen, storefront, and event space
  • The Traveler’s Learning Collective – We empower families to take extended trips abroad, and help turn the world into a classroom through our unique online program
  • The Yard – an outdoor community gathering space that will be programmed to host mobile food vendors, events, and workshops

Venture Division:

  • BikeGarage – make bike customization easy with an intuitive, free, parts configuration app
  • EIVIE CORP – next generation of eVTOL, selling IP, manufacturing crop sprayers, manned aircraft
  • Life Stages – provides an ecosystem of wellness products to promote mind-body health across the lifespan
  • Pacific Paleontology, Inc. – fossil mitigation services for your construction project in order to quickly and effectively meet county, state, or federal level requirements for ground disturbing activities

This year’s Startup Challenge Qualifying Round was held online. Applicants submitted a 5-minute pitch video that was reviewed by a panel of judges on April 5th. The judges selected the finalists and provided feedback to the businesses.

The Startup Challenge will provide workshops, mentors, and other resources to the 20 finalists to prepare the businesses to compete in the Final Round competition on April 26th.  

Meet the finalists and celebrate the winners on April 26, 2024, 1-4 pm at CSU Monterey Bay’s Otter Student Union. Click here to RSVP.

The annual Startup Challenge Monterey Bay is hosted by the Institute for Innovation and Economic Development (iiED) at Cal State Monterey Bay.  The iiED, a leading entrepreneurship center in California, promotes entrepreneurship and fosters the development of a diverse and dynamic entrepreneurship ecosystem in the Monterey Bay region. Each year the iiED challenges and supports entrepreneurs with the Startup Factory, Startup Challenge, and monthly Startup Connect events. The iiED also supports startups through the Startup Launchpad business incubator program for regional entrepreneurs.
For more information regarding the Startup Challenge and the 2024 Finalists, visit

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