Sunstone CSU Startup Launch Competition

In the top right corner, a green logo like the roads leading out from a traffic circle sits to the left of the words, “Sunstone CSU Startup Launch hosted by SJSU San Jose State University.”  Below that is a line of four photographs spanning the width of the page. In the leftmost,  a young woman with dark hair and round glasses sits on a tall stool, speaking as part of a panel discussion. In the second photo, a different young woman with long, dark hair speaks animatedly into a handheld microphone.  In the third photo, two female students and two male students gather around a laptop screen, where one of the male students is pointing something out. In the last photo, fourteen students dressed in suits and/or sportcoats are lined up in front of a large projection screen, applauding.

18 of the 23 California State University campuses will come together on
May 5, 2023 at the Sunstone CSU Startup Launch Competition at San José State University, hosted by the SJSU SpartUp Program.

Two pre-qualified teams of student entrepreneurs from each campus will pitch their startups in competition for a total of $200,000 in prizes provided by sponsor Sunstone Management.  All tracks of the competition and the awards ceremony will be live streamed. 


The event will feature five separate competition tracks:  (2) Product tracks, (2) Services tracks and (1) Social Entrepreneurship track. Tracks may change, subject to the teams selected from each campus.

Each team will deliver an 8-minute pitch presentation, followed by a 5-minute Q&A from the judges.  Projection of PowerPoint decks will be available in each competition track room.

The team's pitch may be delivered by a single team member.  Other team members are welcome to participate, but all travel expenses are the responsibility of the participating campus.

Judges will evaluate each pitch based on the desirability, feasibility and viability of the startup.

Agenda [pdf]


Each of the five tracks will have first, second and third place awards of $25k, $10k and $5k respectively.


At least one founder must be a current undergraduate or graduate student of the respective campus, or have graduated within the past twelve months (no earlier than 5/5/22).

The pitch must be delivered by the team’s CSU student or recent graduate.

Only startups with revenue of less than $10,000 to date from product/ services sales are eligible to compete.

Although non-CSU students may be on the team, leadership and decision-making must be composed of students and/or alumni from the participating campus.

Participating Campuses

CSU Dominguez Hills, Cal State East Bay, Fresno State, CSU Fullerton, Cal Poly Humboldt, CSU Long Beach, Cal State Los Angeles, CSU Monterey Bay, CSU Northridge, Cal Poly Pomona, Sacramento State, CSU San Bernardino, San Diego State, San Francisco State, San Jose State, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CSU San Marcos and Sonoma State.

Do you want to compete?

Applications have closed for the 2023 competition.  


The competition requires a diverse group of volunteer judges who can listen to a short pitch followed by a brief period for Q&A, and quickly rank a startup in three areas: Desirability, Feasibility, and Viability. Each group of five judges will be assigned to one track with six to seven startup pitches.


In addition to title sponsor Sunstone Management, SJSU is pursuing additional sponsorships for each of the five competition tracks.  For sponsorship opportunities, contact Jacob Manaloor, Director of Development for Research and Innovation.


For more information, email .