Cal Poly CIE’s SLO HotHouse Incubator Program Graduates Six Startup Companies

SLO Hothouse

Six companies with more than two dozen employees and $1.8 million in venture capital have completed the SLO HotHouse Incubator program, a Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) program devoted to taking businesses from startup to sustainable.

“CIE provides a structured, two-year program for early-stage startups that includes all the resources needed to facilitate smarter, faster growth,” said CIE Incubator Director Judy Mahan. “After working closely with these companies over the course of their development, we are excited to see where the future takes them as they continue to expand and grow locally.”

The companies graduating from the CIE SLO HotHouse Incubator program include:

– App Scrolls, an online community platform that increases player engagement and retention for any game;

– Bottlefly, a firm that uses flavor chemistry and data science to help retailers increase wine sales and margins and reach their target demographic;

– Brandplug, software that helps marketers buy high quality, high return-on-investment promotion from social media celebrities;

– Calwise Spirits Co., which produces rum and gin that is handcrafted on the Central Coast with the fruits and herbs that define West Coast life;

– Flume, which puts household water usage in users’ hands with an innovative IoT sensor, which protects homes from water damage, conserves water, and avoida costly water bills with Flume’s technology; and

– Reduce. Reuse. Grow, which aims to replace unsustainable packaging products with smarter, more eco-friendly solutions that also restore local communities’ native landscapes.

“The SLO HotHouse Incubator program helped us launch our company and gave us the tools we needed to create a sustainable business,” said Alex Henige, co-founder and CEO of Reduce. Reuse. Grow. “The resources, mentorships and connections made through this program have allowed us to grow to where we are today.”

Since its inception in 2010, the CIE has promoted regional economic development. To date, these six companies have created 27 jobs, benefitted from 644 hours of one-on-one consultations and raised $1,836,000 in capital. All six companies will remain in San Luis Obispo County.

The CIE recently added five community startups to the SLO HotHouse Incubator program. They will join five other ventures that are in their second year of the 24-month incubator program and five in their first year of the program, making a total of 15 startups currently incubating at the SLO HotHouse.

CIE offers faculty, students and community members the tools to transform their innovative ideas into viable businesses. By providing quality coaching, professional consulting and connections with industry professionals, the CIE creates an environment in which new businesses can develop and thrive.

“As we progress towards the future, startups play a critical role not only in the growth of our economy but also in discovering solutions to solve real-world problems,” said CIE Executive Director Tod Nelson. “We are proud to drive entrepreneurship forward, and we are committed to building an environment that will help nurture innovative ideas and facilitate success.

For more information on the CIE programs, visit