Subscribe to OTP's Newsletter


Launchpad Annual Pitch Competition

Two UCR student-led startups have been selected as semifinalists for the LaunchPad Annual Pitch Competition @ Startup Grind!
By Margarita Manzo (LaunchPad student intern) |

UCR student-led startups Edge Sound Research and SARU Recycling are among 30 semi-finalists selected across the Launchpad network competing for one of seven finalist spots and $50,000 in prizes. 

Edge Sound Research a startup founded in 2019 and led by UCR graduates, Ethan Castro and Valtteri Salomaki, develops audio systems for gamers allowing them to both hear and feel sound in high definition, improving the gamers’ overall experience and performance.

Co-founder and UCR Ph.D. student Ethan Castro has deep personal experience as he was born hard of hearing but was still able to fall in love with sound at an early age. Ethan teamed with Valtteri Salomaki, a UCR MBA student with experience starting companies including Free Logic Media LLC.

SARU Recycling launched the same year, motivated by improving the way recycling is done now by making it more technologically compatible and accessible to the public. The startup was co-founded by Mahmood Shaheen, Toluwani Semi Cole, Sebastian Mukuria-Lead Mechanical Engineer, and Jacob Tivey-Director of Finance and operations. They are currently testing their system with their recycling station located in front of Goodwin’s location in Riverside. 

Only 7 finalists will pitch and answer questions live from the judges at Startup Grind held February 22nd-25th for a chance to win up to $50,000 in prizes.

2021 pitch competition

UCR's Office of Technology Partnerships, with The Blackstone Charitable Foundation and Techstars,  delivers Launchpad at UCR to help students succeed in entrepreneurship and their careers. Whether you have an idea, have a startup, or just curious about entrepreneurship, LaunchPad @ UCR offers a variety of resources at all stages of idea and venture development. To learn more visit LaunchPad @ UCR or contact Mai Temraz (