It's not even close to March, but March Madness has begun in the Sacramento Kings Capitalize contest, a March Madness-style tournament for local startup companies.
The Kings introduced their Sweet 16 on Tuesday from more than 100 applicants, and today they've narrowed it down to the final eight companies vying for a $10,000 top cash prize.
The final eight companies will get some extra coaching leading to a pitch day, March 1.
The four finalists will make pitch videos, and the winner will be decided by judges and fans' votes at the Kings' home game against the Phoenix Suns March 24.
The Capitalize Elite Eight contenders this year are:
- 3D Organic Polymer Silk, Davis company working with spider silk as glue for medical uses.
- Adload Technologies Inc., a Sacramento company that sells digital screen advertising on big rigs.
- AppOrchid, a San Ramon- and Folsom-based company that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to quickly build apps for enterprise energy and utility customers.
- Bekonix Inc., Sacramento company that developed a no-code platform to easily build Internet of Things systems.
- Ferreter Inc., the Santa Monica-based developer of an app to conduct business due diligence on people and companies.
- HuLoop Automation Inc., an Auburn company that uses artificial intelligence to help clients enable business-process automation, robotic-process automation and software-test automation.
- Ravata Solutions, a Davis company with technology to improve in vitro fertilization success for people and animals.
- Shared Vision, a Rocklin company offering online affiliate link marketing management.
Last year, the winner was Elk Grove’s EyeRate, an online review startup that now has grown to more than 40 employees.
The Kings this year also are adding food innovation and global innovation contests to the ongoing Kings Capitalize contest. The "Capitalize: Food" and "Capitalize: Innovation" contests will launch later this year with strategic goals to be set by the Kings.
This year's contest is presented by the Kings and partner Dialpad Inc., a communications technology company based in San Ramon. The winner also gets three years of access to Dialpad technology.
Now in its eighth year, the Kings launched the Capitalize contest under the ownership of Chairman and CEO Vivek Ranadivé, a technology industry veteran.