Poly Canyon Ventures Announces Partnership Centered Around Funding and Assisting Cleantech Startups at Cal Poly

Poly Canyon Ventures (PCV), a San Luis Obispo-based 501(c)(3) non-profit founded and managed by Cal Poly students, announced last night at its end-of-the-year event that it has partnered with Cal Poly’s Department of Energy, Utilities, and Sustainability (EU&S) to help foster cleantech innovation at the university. With initial commitments of $10,000 from the EU&S Department and $5,000 from PCV, the two parties will work together to identify, evaluate, select, fund, and assist cleantech-focused, student-led startups on campus.

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Dennis Elliot, the Director of the EU&S Department said, “We’re honored to be working with PCV to fund and seed startups and are excited to see where this partnership will go. I’m constantly amazed by the entrepreneurs coming out of Cal Poly.”

Nathan Johnson, PCV’s Chairman of the Board said, “I think the EU&S Department is the perfect partner for us right now and I am thrilled that we will be able to work with them next year.”

This initiative is part of PCV’s Climate Changer’s Fund, which originated in September in collaboration with Heidi Harmon, the San Luis Obispo Mayor. In a speech at the event, Heidi said, “I haven’t necessarily been in the habit of seeing businesses as the solution makers to climate change. Volunteering with the PCV team has given me a new hope that businesses can contribute to this effort.”

The funding that the EU&S Department has committed can be traced back to their partnership with REC Solar – a partnership that was formed during the development of the Gold Tree Solar Farm. ​REC Solar​, a national commercial solar company based in San Luis Obispo and local company founded by Cal Poly graduates, committed funding for five years to the EU&S Department to support development of renewable energy curriculum and applied research, and other sustainability initiatives such as this innovative partnership with PCV, which is hoped will accelerate creation of more cleantech businesses like REC Solar.

Michael Borger, REC Solar Project Developer, said in a speech, “I would encourage students to pursue their dream of starting a business. REC Solar is just one example of a successful cleantech business that was started by Cal Poly graduates.”

Poly Canyon Ventures was founded one and a half years ago by Cal Poly students with the mission of helping create hands-on learning experiences for students in entrepreneurship and early-stage investing. Their inaugural year’s Executive Director is Sean Reilly, an Aerospace Engineering student. He said in a speech at the event, “This year we served over 40,000 people through our involvement in the community and we also formed a number of partnerships with like-minded organizations. Our team worked with 15 amazing startups this year, and after careful due diligence, we decided to fund Radical Box, a food startup founded by Cal Poly students Griffin Arkilic and Cannon Wong.”

Chairman of the Board, Nathan Johnson said, “I’m incredibly proud of what this year’s team has accomplished. I think we have set the groundwork for a great year ahead. We have so many people and organizations to thank for helping us get to where we are now – namely our donors, advisors, volunteers, and the entrepreneurs we have the chance to work with. We are very grateful for the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship for helping us figure out a model that adds value to the growing San Luis Obispo entrepreneurship ecosystem. Cafe Roma, Bang the Drum, SLO Brew, and Cal Poly have all donated food, drinks, and space to us – thank you to them and everyone else. This is a true community effort.”

About Poly Canyon Ventures:

Poly Canyon Ventures​ (PCV) is a San Luis Obispo-based 501(c)(3) non-profit that provides funding to Cal Poly student-run startups. It is composed of Cal Poly students and alumni who are passionate about helping startups grow and thrive on the California Central Coast. PCV is a strong proponent of socially and environmentally responsible business and investing practices, and its team works to expose these practices to Cal Poly students and the communities it interacts with.

Founded in 2016, PCV is finishing its first year of serving Cal Poly and the surrounding communities. Through tax-deductible donations, PCV is able to provide students with unique hands-on learning opportunities in the fields of entrepreneurship and angel investing and help create a sustainable and prosperous central coast.

About the Cal Poly Energy, Utilities, and Sustainability Department

The ​Cal Poly Energy, Utilities, and Sustainability Department​ is dedicated to responsible management of the natural resources needed to assure the continued efficient operations of the Cal Poly campus. Electricity, natural gas, water, and various other resources are critical to operating a successful university; Cal Poly is an award-winning leader in sustainability because it manages those resources using sustainability as a driving force in campus planning and operations. Read more about Cal Poly’s ​commitment to sustainability here​.