Delta Prize Fall Demo Day

Eugene Noh   |   December 10, 2015



On Dec. 1, over 200 students, investors, mentors, and friends gathered at Sibley Auditorium for the Delta Prize Demo Day, an event that showcased the progress and achievements of the five finalist teams. The Delta Prize program helps early-stage startups with measurable traction get to the next level by providing customized mentoring and resources with the singular goal of preparing early-stage companies to be investor-ready.

The evening began with a panel discussion with venture capitalists Michael Berolzheimer, Patrick Chung, and Victoria Liang. Then SCET alumni Thibault Duchemin and Pieter Doevendans, co-founders of Ava, spoke about their progress since advancing from SCET in 2014, their passion for helping the hearing impaired, and their upcoming public launch in early 2016.




In recognition of Ironfire Ventures, the lead sponsor of the Delta Prize, Ritik Malhotra, founder of Streem and Delta Prize mentor, talked about the value Ironfire Ventures provided his company as an early investor and expressed his support for the next generation of Cal startups as a newly-minted venture partner.

For the main event, each finalist pitched their startup, with Dus and Hopsy receiving the Delta Prize for demonstrating the most progress over the course of the program. Shawn Sheikh and Patrick McGartoll spent much of their undergraduate years building other products, until they spun off last summer to start Dus, a mobile dating app for South-Asian singles. Dus uses a mix of cultural, religious, and personal attributes to find the perfect match and integrates structured games to break the ice.

Reflecting on the last three months, Sheikh said, “We’re young founders that came into the Delta Prize program with a big idea, but few people believed in us, and we had very little sense of direction. The advisors, mentors, VCs, and other founders really helped us figure out our product roadmap and strategy, as well as what metrics were important to track in our product. Without the program I can honestly say that our company wouldn’t be where it is today, and we’re both thankful and humbled by all of the help and support everyone continues to provide even after the program.” Dus launched on iOS last summer and currently has 15,000 registered users, with 3000 daily active users, and they will release the Android version in early 2016, with over 13,000 users already on the waitlist. Dus is endorsed by Indian celebrities Jus Reign, Haji Springer, and Pooja Bawa, and has an aggressive expansion plan for Europe and India.




Hopsy was founded by Sebastien Tron, Andrew Perroy, and Bodie Paden, who met while working at Naked Wines and were inspired to transform the beer distribution industry by creating a direct connection between consumers and brewers. They are providing home delivery of craft beer in growlers directly from 12 local microbreweries, with more to come. “The Delta Prize experience was more than we had imagined. Our mentor was fantastic with experience and advice that were directly applicable to the challenges we’re facing in our current stage of growth.” On Dec. 10, Hopsy opened their retail store in Albany and launched their service for a select group of early customers, with plans to expand service in early 2016 and to introduce a home tap system (Nespresso for beer) by mid-2016.




The three other finalists also made impressive progress during the program. Nosocom Solutions has developed a novel UV disinfection cabinet for disinfecting surgical lead aprons to reduce healthcare-associated infections. After coming out of stealth mode this fall and entering the Delta Prize competition, they received final patent approval, secured key advisors, were accepted into the CITRIS Foundry, and will be launching the product at a cardiac care hospital in Bangalore, India, in January 2016.

Vyrill is a video-centric product marketplace, focused on converting product video views into product sales. Vyrill curates short and certified video content from brands, fans, experts and press from multiple sources, such as Youtube, Vine, Vimeo,Consumer Reports, brand sites, etc. Since launching four months ago, they have provided 50K+ video searches, and over 10 brands have reached out to feature their videos on Vyrill.

Hitmap is a SaaS company that uses over 200 variables to predict the performance of future retail business locations of any type. Since entering the Delta Prize competition, founder Jose Urrechaga has refined his go-to-market strategy and received a $25k investment through Foundation Capital’s Berkeley Founders Program.

As a whole, this event was a celebration of the achievements of the founders and companies that have been supported by the Sutardja Center. We are now accepting applications for the Spring 2016 Delta Prize.