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Graphic Communication Senior Selected for Cal Poly's Accelerator Program

GrC graduating senior Joe Sobrero successfully participated in Demo Day earlier in the month for his product Ropegun, a fitness tracker, route-guide and social media platform for climbers. Nathaniel Furbeyre, a mechanical engineering graduate, also worked on the team.

Ropegun is one of seven teams accepted into Cal Poly's Accelerator program. The intense 12-week program is designed for students and recent graduates who have developed new ventures and need funding and Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) resources to help launch their companies.

Ropegun Startup

The program provided these teams with $10,000 in capital, plus hands-on strategic business guidance from faculty and mentors, dedicated office space in the HotHouse, and weekly programming. Accelerator companies also received training, introductions to investors and resources to help advance their startups.

According to Sobrero, "When we applied to the accelerator, we had a rough idea of what we were trying to accomplish and a simple prototype of the mobile application we were building. The Graphic Communication curriculum was a fantastic foundation for this project. Developing our brand and designing sections of our app allowed us to generate real interest from potential customers and investors before building a product.

Through workshops, mentorship, customer development, and advising sessions with Cal Poly's most successful alumni, we were able to test many of our assumptions and refine our business strategy. The program pushed us to focus on what is critical for our business to succeed and taught us what it takes to be successful entrepreneurs. We did everything from learning how to define customer segments to meeting with Silicon Valley's top venture capital firms. Because of the accelerator, we have the knowledge, resources, and connections we need to grow our business beyond the startup phase."

Sobrero's next steps are acquiring pre-seed funding, and hiring marketing and software development interns so he can get his company's product to market.


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