2018 Startup Challenge Monterey Bay Winners Announced

May 16, 2018

SEASIDE, Calif., May 16, 2018 – Winners of the 2018 Startup Challenge Monterey Bay were selected by a panel of judges at CSUMB @ Salinas City Center May 12, 2018. The 25 finalists first pitched their business ideas in a 10-minute presentation to a panel of judges before a final “shark tank” style pitch competition determined the victors.

Cruz Foam, a company that transforms shrimp shell waste into the eco-friendly equivalent of styrofoam, won the $20,000 cash prize in the Venture Division. That Garlic Stuff, a homemade garlic sauce made with locally sourced garlic, won the Main Street Division, and earned a $10,000 cash prize.

BOHO Marketplace, founded by two students from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, took home a $1,500 cash prize in the Student Division.

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“It was a great experience! A truly inclusive environment. We made many useful connections to further our company."
— Founder of Cruz Foam, Marco Rolandi

This year, a total of 82 entrepreneurs from the Monterey Bay region entered the Startup Challenge. All past winners in the Venture Division are still in business and have raised over $10.5M in capital investments. All but one of the Main Street winners are still in business.

Startup Challenge Monterey Bay is supported by CSUMB’s Institute for Innovation and Economic Development. The premier sponsor for this event is the Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FORA). Other major sponsors include Wells Fargo and the City of Salinas.