Sep 21, 2023
For the 10th Demo Day, the Tech community came out in droves to support 75 Georgia Tech startups created by students, alumni, and faculty. In booths spread out in Exhibition Hall, they displayed their products, which ranged from AI and robotic training gear to fungi fashion, and more. Over four hours, more than 1,500 people filed in and out of the hall. Founders pitched their innovations to business and community leaders, as well as students and the public, eager to witness groundbreaking innovations across various industries.
Kiandra Peart, co-founder of Reinvend, said the amount of people surprised her.
“After the first VIP session was over, hundreds of people were just flooding through the door at all times,” she said. “We had to give the pitch a million times to explain it to a lot of different people, but they seemed really, really engaged, and we were also able to get a few interactions.”
Reinvend is working through a potential deal with Tech Dining on using their vending machines, which would expand food options for students after dining halls close.
Demo Day is the culmination of the 12-week summer accelerator, Startup Launch, where founders learn about entrepreneurship and build out their businesses with the support of mentors. Along with guidance from experts in business, teams receive $5,000 in optional funding and $30,000 of in-kind services. This year, the program had over 100 startups and 250 founders, continuing the growth trend for CREATE-X. The program aims to eventually support the launch of 300 startups per year.
Peart said the experience taught the team how to better pitch to potential clients and formulate a call to action after a successful interaction.
Since its inception in 2014, CREATE-X has had more than 5,000 participate in their programming, which is segmented in three areas: Learn, Make, and Launch. Besides providing resources, the program also helps founders through its rich entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“We want to increase access to entrepreneurship. That’s the heart of the program, and it’s the goal to have everyone in the Tech community to have entrepreneurial confidence. The energy and passion of our founders to solve real-world problems — it’s palpable at Demo Day. I’d say it’s the best place to see what we’re about and understand what this program offers,” said Rahul Saxena, director of CREATE-X, who also reminded founders that the connections they make here would last for years.
At its core, CREATE-X is a community geared toward innovation. Participants were at the forefront of integrating OpenAI's GPT-3 when it was not yet widely adopted. They share their insights with each other, and the program has mentors coming back from even the very first cohort. Starting with eight teams, CREATE-X has now launched more than 400 startup teams, with founders representing 38 academic majors. Its total startup portfolio valuation is above $1.9 billion.
Peart compared CREATE-X to an energy drink.
“After going through the program, I was really able to refine my ideas, talk with other people, and now that the program is over, I feel energized,” she said. “I think that having an accelerator right at home allows students who may have never considered starting a company, or didn't have access to an accelerator, to actually utilize their resources from their school and their own community to get their companies started.”
Although Demo Day just ended, CREATE-X is already gearing up for the next cohort. Applications for Startup Launch opened Aug. 31, the same day as Demo Day.
“Consider interning for yourself next summer,” said Saxena. “We know you have ideas about solutions to address global challenges. You’re at Tech; you have the talent. Let us help you with the resources and support system.”
Georgia Tech students, alumni, and faculty can apply to GT Startup Launch now. The priority deadline is Nov. 6. To learn more about CREATE-X, find CREATE-X events to build a startup team, or learn more about entrepreneurship, visit th CREATE-X website