Local Students and Entrepreneurs Compete

PORT OF HUENEME, July 30, 2019 – Innovators from around the state descended on the Port to kick off Startup Weekend Ventura County 2019. Joined by State Treasurer Fiona Ma and Oxnard Harbor District Commissioner Jason Hodge, over 70 creators spent three days innovating, collaborating, developing, and pitching their ideas to the judging panel.

Startups Weekend VC

Over 70 students and innovators gathered for Startup Ventura County Weekend at the Port of Hueneme

State Treasurer Fiona Ma stated, “This is the newest ‘Silicon Coast’ incubator Fathomwerx housed at the Port of Hueneme: a beacon for education and problem solving happening 24-7 to come up with innovative solutions for the U.S. Navy and the Port of Hueneme.”

A result of the collaboration between the Port of Hueneme’s MAST Program (Maritime Advanced Systems and Technology), Matter Labs, the Economic Development Collaborative, and Hub 101; the event featured 20 mentors from the community and local companies including: Navy Base Ventura County (NAVSEA & NAVAIR), Trupart Manufacturing, Meissner Filtration, Steamworks, Bunker Labs LA, Hub101, Sandbox, Kickass Café, 805 Startups, Fathomwerx and various individual entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. The mentors assisted the eight teams with idea development and refining their pitch for the judging panel.

Matter Labs Co-Founder Eric Went, State Treasurer Fiona Ma, and OHD Commissioner Jason Hodge

Matter Labs Co-Founder Eric Went, State Treasurer Fiona Ma, and OHD Commissioner Jason Hodge

“Events like these are a dream come true for a lot of us, it is exactly what we envisioned this space to be used for,” Oxnard Harbor District Commissioner Jason Hodge stated. “Yes, our Port exists to provide economic opportunity and serve as a gateway for global cargo; but we also exist for events like this, to provide a space for innovation and foster an incubator to develop the technologies of the future.”

The three winning teams all presented new app concepts:

  • 1st Place: “Get it Done” – an app to help connect budget sensitive startups with new service
    providers looking to provide free of low-cost services in exchange for expand their portfolio of work.
  • 2nd Place: “Local Friends” – an app that connects travelers or new residents of an area to local people who share the same interests, much like an activity specific tour guide showing new people what their new city has to offer.
  • 3rd Place: “CompU” – an app for small businesses to issue points to frequent customers
    for purchases and referrals, including an option for sharing referrals with friends instead of the entire public.

Students from California Lutheran University, UCSB, and local Ventura County High Schools were among the eight teams of creatives taking aiming to develop and present their concepts to the judging panel. The three winning ideas earned three months of support services and workspaces from Hub101, Sandbox, Kickass Café, 805 Startups, Fathomwerk, and Matter Labs.

“Encouraging innovation, fostering startups, and supporting entrepreneurship is in the Port’s DNA,” stated CEO and Port Director Kristin Decas. “The partnership you saw this weekend is an indicator of more of what is to come from the Port’s MAST Program.”

Brian Went Co-Founder of Matter Labs stated, “This Startup Weekend was unique in its partnership with the Port of Hueneme. Hosting it at the Port gave a creative twist which inspired the participants in developing their ideas. I am delighted to see the Port opening its doors and being a leader in fostering innovation and startups in our region.”

Teams of innovators refine their concepts for pitch to the judges in the MAST Lab at the Port

Teams of innovators refine their concepts for pitch to the judges in the MAST Lab at the Port

Various members of the community participated to make this event possible including NewCo, Health Care Foundation of Ventura County, Pacific Coast Business Times, and RX/MAX Gold Coast Realtors. The next startup weekend, Conejo Valley Startup Weekend, will take place on October 4th – 6th at Hub 101.

Learn more about the Port’s MAST Program here.