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February 8, 2018

Entrepreneurship Student Becomes Semifinalist in National Competition Student Startup Madness

Close-up photo of rave bracelet worn by PLUR Technologies team member David Chalem at the 2016 Elevator Pitch Contest.

Rave bracelet worn by PLUR Technologies team member David Chalem.

Entrepreneurship student Kaytlynne Deardorf has created an innovative software program through her startup company PLUR Technologies that has the potential to transform the future of the rave and music festival business—which attracts over 32 million people in the United States alone.

Deardorf entered the national competition Student Startup Madness and became the first-ever California State University, Chico student to become a semifinalist in the tournament.

“We see the entrepreneurship program growing here at Chico State, and we want our alumni and supporters to see this growth,” said entrepreneurship professor Colleen Robb, who worked with Deardorf on the project. “One of the ways to grow the program to a new level of national distinction is by supporting students like Kaytlynne.”

The first stage of the event included student teams from over 60 universities, including Harvard University, Stanford University, Princeton University, and University of California, Irvine. PLUR Technologies finished as one of 32 semifinalists in the competition.

“Kaytlynne is an extraordinary student with a great business sense, which made it easy to create a business plan with a scalable business model to compete with the Ivy League schools,” said management professor Jim Downing, who has also worked with Deardorf on the startup since its conception. PLUR Technologies was previously awarded first place at the 2016 Chico State Elevator Pitch Contest.

The PLUR Technologies team pose for a photo.

The PLUR Technologies team left to right: Ryan Valtierra, David Chalem,
Kaytlynne Deardorf, Nicholas Reed, and Hector Lopez.

“PLUR,” the term behind Deardorf’s company name, is commonly used within the rave community—standing for peace, love, unity, and respect. That concept inspired Deardorf to come up with a software program and mobile app that will connect rave and festival participants through an RFID chip attached to bracelets that rave goers wear and exchange with one another. This would enable rave and festival participants to easily exchange information with new friends, stay in contact at highly populated events, and even send a distress signal to their personal network.

“The idea is that you buy a charm that has an RFID chip you can attach to a bracelet, and when you give the bracelet to someone they can scan it with their phone and see your user profile,” Deardorf explained. “They can then add their information to the chip, give the bracelet to someone else at another party or rave and it starts to create a social tree that you can upload photos on, comment, and help make new connections.”

Deardorf is currently working on an additional concept for the startup called “electric kandi” that would look like a snap bracelet with a small screen (much like a smart watch). This would offer even more to concert goers, including concert information such as musicians playing, times, directions inside the festival, and even a panic button that would turn the bracelet red and vibrate for anyone in their network.

“The distress signal would give your personal network directions to where you are, and since the bracelet is glowing red, other people would be able to see that you’re in distress and could help,” she said. “It helps promote unity and caring for each other, adding a much needed safety aspect to these events.”

While PLUR Technologies did not go on to become one of the eight finalists, Deardorf is as inspired as ever to ensure her startup becomes a success. Her team is utilizing the brand new CSU, Chico Maker Space and its 3D printers to create versions of her product. Deardorf was awarded $5,000 in startup funds by the Center for Entrepreneurship’s Accelerator Fund, and is continuing to look for investors.

Find out more about PLUR Technologies at www.plurtech.com

The Center for Entrepreneurship is dedicated to helping all Chico State students pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations through coaching, competitions, networking, and so much more. Visit its website at www.csuchico.edu/cfe or visit Glenn Hall 221 to get started turning your ideas into reality.

Kelsey Horne
College of Business
California State University, Chico