Capitalize Contestants – Where Are They Now?

Last week, the Sacramento Kings, in partnership with Sacramento Urban Technology Lab, launched the fifth annual Capitalize startup contest. The Capitalize contest provides local startups with the opportunity to refine their business ideas and compete for the chance to win $10,000 towards developing their company.

Interested in applying to be a part of Capitalize but want to learn more about what can be gained from the experience? Read testimony from some past contestants who shared what they learned during the competition process:

Japa, Inc., 2019 Winner
Japa is a leading smart parking company delivering data and advanced analytics to solve parking issues. Here is what the 2019 Capitalize contest winner had to say about their Capitalize experience:

“The experience we had in the Sacramento Kings Capitalize competition was beyond phenomenal,” said Japa, Inc. CEO & Co-Founder Mathew Magno. “Not only did we make connections with people who, instead of letting the problems of the world daunt them, are working to fix the world, but we met many people that are helping and supporting us today to excel our company.”

“After Capitalize, Japa, Inc. has been growing tremendously. We have secured four new clients (SMUD, UCSB, Woodland and UC Berkeley) with a lot more in our pipeline. Two new partnerships are in the works, and we are close to closing our $1 million seed round and plan to do a big hire once completed.”

“The value of this contest for us came in the form of amazing media coverage, connections for potential clients and partnerships, and, more importantly, getting our name and product out to the public! The Kings Capitalize competition is a great stage for startups/companies to let our community know of the amazing innovations that are on the way.”

The Makers Place, 2019 Finalist
The Makers Place is an intentionally-designed multipurpose space where working parents can create, connect and collaborate while their young children are cared for onsite. As a finalist in the 2019 competition, The Makers Place shared what the company learned while participating in the contest:

“Being involved in Capitalize really helped us clarify the next level of programs and services we wanted to offer as we developed our pitch. It was also very powerful to be surrounded by so many other driven entrepreneurs with bold ideas for local innovation and change,” said The Makers Place Co-Founder and Community Manager Leslie Bosserman. “I would encourage businesses in the startup or expansion stage to apply to participate with the intention of making strong connections and clarifying their purpose and impact.”

PROTXX, 2018 Winner
PROTXX integrates wearable sensors and advanced data analytics into non-invasive clinical tools that address unsolved challenges presented by complex medical conditions in which multiple physiological systems are impaired. Here is how the company has developed since winning first place in the 2018 Capitalize contest:

“The contest was a key event in launching market engagement at PROTXX, by helping to introduce the company to some of our first pilot deployment partners,” said PROTXX CEO and Founder John Ralston. “PROTXX was originally founded to address the challenges encountered by athletes following concussions, by developing an unobtrusive sensor that could monitor an athlete’s head impact exposure over time and quantify resulting changes in physiological performance. Following our Capitalize win, engagements with college/professional sports organizations and clinical/rehab medicine providers in the Sacramento area revealed the applicability of the PROTXX solution to a much broader range of degenerative neurological conditions.”

In addition to offices in Menlo Park and Sacramento, CA, PROTXX has now opened a Canadian office in Calgary, Alberta. Their first revenue-generating product was released in 2019, and today they have customers in the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Japan.

Trifecta, 2017 Winner
Trifecta is one of the nation’s largest all-organic meal delivery services, offering food that suits many different diet types and a la carte options. The 2017 Capitalize winner shared multiple takeaways they gathered from the experience:

“Trifecta gained a huge amount of publicity, investor introductions, free brand visibility, and of course, $10,000 in cash from winning the Kings Capitalize contest. We honed our investor presentation skills and were able to connect with venture capitalists to present the company and brand as we were scaling,” said Trifecta Co-Founder and CEO Greg Connolly. “We became widely recognized as the #1 startup in the Sacramento region, and have gone on to be a beacon for the startup community – proving that it can be done in Sacramento and that there is a support system in the investor and startup community.”

“I would encourage early-stage CEOs to apply for the Kings Capitalize contest for the visibility, practice pitching your company, connections to the investor community, and of course, the $10,000 is a welcome bonus for any early-stage startup.”

The Capitalize contest aims to provide all participants with valuable insight and business advice from industry professionals. Interested in applying for the 2020 Capitalize contest? Learn more about how to apply here. Applications close Sunday, February 23, at 11:59 p.m.