For the first time ever, Cal Poly’s annual Startup Weekend will be judged by an artificial intelligence software — SWARM AI by Unanimous AI

The 54-hour team-based event, held Nov. 9 and 10, requires participants to take a 30-second idea and transform it into a business model with a minimum viable product and a pitch.

The software will choose the overall winners this year. 

“It’s a more effective way to gauge the thoughts of a group,” business sophomore Alistair Schwab, who planned this year’s event, said. “Typically you would take an average, but it’s more reflective of the judges as a whole.”

Saturday will begin as an early work day with three workshops: business model canvas, customer development and pitching. The event is open to all majors.

“It’s an opportunity to network and build your skill set,” Schwab said, adding that many area-based professionals will be in attendance.

Cal Poly Entrepreneurs | Courtesy

Chief Executive Officer and founder of iFixit Kyle Wiens will speak Friday night. Chip Besse, an investor who has been involved in more than 25 companies, will speak Saturday.

Demo night is on Sunday, where teams will give their final presentations.

The event will also offer free food — dinner on Friday night and three meals on Saturday — and a shirt.

Schwab said there will be more than $3,000 in prize money, including Doc Burnstein’s gift certificates and free access to the premium service Creative Tim, a digital marketing platform.

The winners will also be entered in the regional startup event. Winners of the regional event will then be entered in the national event, where winners receive $100,000 in Google cloud credit, Schwab said.

Tickets for the event, as well as for Demo Night, can be found on Eventbrite.



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