Thursday, November 23, 2017

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The founders of Recyclinator pose for a photo after the startup company placed second in last year’s Zahn Innovation Challenge. (Credit: Recyclinator) The founders of Recyclinator pose for a photo after the startup company placed second in last year’s Zahn Innovation Challenge. (Credit: Recyclinator)
 


Homebrewed Startup Prepares to Graduate

The SDSU engineering graduates started the company through the ZIP Launchpad.
By Gina Jacobs
 

“Young entrepreneurs need the support of the community and programs like ZIP Launchpad to help make their ideas a reality.”

For mechanical engineering graduates Jordan Custodia, Cassandra O’Shea, Sean Bennett and Matthew Penning, Saturday’s commencement ceremony marks the beginning of a new adventure for the founders of Recyclinator, a startup company they developed while students at San Diego State University.

Through the support of SDSU’s Zahn Innovation Platform (ZIP) Launchpad, Recyclinator CEO Custodia and his classmates developed a device that captures carbon dioxide emitted during the craft beer brewing process, then cleans, stores and recycles it for reuse.

“The Recyclinator CO2 recovery system addresses a major missed opportunity in the craft beer market,” said Custodia. “Our goal is to provide small-scale breweries with a way to become more eco-friendly while reducing production costs.”

According to the company’s research, a 15,000-barrel craft brewing operation is spending about $70 on carbon dioxide in just one day, while nearly $130 worth escapes into the atmosphere as part of the fermentation process—the carbon footprint of about 14 cars.

Jeff Silver, CEO of Rough Draft Brewing, has served as the team’s advisor and let them test their prototype at the Mira Mesa brewery. So far, the results have been promising.

“These soon-to-be graduates of SDSU have the enthusiasm and skills to take their product to market, and they are addressing a real need that Rough Draft and other small breweries have,” said Silver. “Young entrepreneurs need the support of the community and programs like ZIP Launchpad to help make their ideas a reality.”

SDSU’s ZIP Launchpad provided Recyclinator with basic tools to get off the ground, including legal assistance, office space and software licensing. The startup took second place in last year’s Zahn Innovation Challenge. Now that they’re graduating, the students are ready to move the company into the marketplace.

“Until we receive enough funding, we will have to work full-time in industry, but our goal is to be fully employed by our own company by 2019," Custodia said.

The team said they need to raise $20,000 in order to take their company to the next phase, outside SDSU's startup incubator. They’re off to a good start, taking first prize at the University of San Diego’s Social Innovation Challenge, which netted them $7,000. O’Shea, who serves as chief technical officer, delivered the winning pitch. They plan to use the seed funding to develop a full-scale prototype and conduct additional product testing, as well as cover costs that are currently supported by the ZIP Launchpad.

“We hope to test our full-scale protoype this year, and if the results are confirmed again, we’ll begin securing pre-orders via Kickstarter,” Custodia said.

To learn more, visit Recyclinator's website.