Davis Roots Brings in Third Class of Start Ups

Davis-Rootsby Alex Rossbach

Davis Roots is bringing in our third class on April 1st. Davis Roots is a non-profit startup accelerator in downtown Davis. Our mission is to foster the development of high-growth ventures in Davis.

One of the big issues we see in Davis, and the driving force behind the creation of Davis Roots, is that we have a great University but as a community we’re not taking advantage of the technology and talented workforce coming out of it. There have been many promising tech startups that leave Davis and head to Silicon Valley due to a perceived lack of support from the Davis community.

Our first class of companies consisted of two startups, Barobo and Nuritas. Barobo builds learning robots which are used to teach children math and programming skills. They have raised funding and are in the Davis community building their company. Nuritas is a nutraceuticals startup that works to identify active ingredients in food. The founder is currently raising funding so she can continue building the company in Davis.

Currently we have four startups in our accelerator program as part of our second class. Three of them are web-based tech startups (EveryLevel, The Gift of Education and JamHive) and one (Fishrock Labs) is a food-tech startup.

The third class is quite a varied group of startups; they range from web-based ed-tech to food tech to wearable tech startups. There are short summaries about all three startups below. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them as quickly as possible.


SonanuTech is building phage detection hardware and sensors for the dairy industry. It’s a spin-off from university research and will help the cheese industry become more efficient and produce higher quality cheese. Bacteriophages that are present above a certain threshold in milk will eat the good bacteria necessary to make cheese and cause it to spoil, ruining an entire production run of cheese and contaminating the cheese factory which then must be cleaned at great expense.

Current tests take a day to get results, which means they aren’t effective for milk entering the facility. The phage detectors that SonanuTech are building will allow cheese companies to test for bacteriophages and receive results back within an hour which makes it feasible to test all milk coming into the factories.

This startup is a great example of the synergy that needs to exist between the university and the Davis community. Professors and graduate students from the university need to be able to license their own IP quickly and easily so they can bring their product to market within a reasonable time-frame. This technology has the potential to make our dairy products safer and we consider it to be a game changer with many potential future applications beyond dairy.

CT Technology

The CT Technology team is building a learning platform that teaches children the basics of programming and computational thinking through math concepts that they are familiar with. The idea behind it is that children have to do math homework every day throughout their educational career. So why not kill two birds with one stone and teach them computational thinking and the basics of programming while they learn math?

The tech industry is one of the most lucrative and highest paying fields in the United States with an industry average salary of $93,000. One of the biggest barriers towards entering the industry is that our educational system doesn’t recognize computer programming as an important skill and so students don’t get any exposure to it until they reach college. Programming is similar to learning a foreign language, in that the earlier children get exposed to computational thinking and programming the higher chance of success they will have later on if they decide to pursue computer science as a career.


Overheat is building a wearable lactic threshold sensor which will help athletes train more effectively and will help the general population exercise more efficiently. Wearable tech is the future and Overheat is pushing the boundary of technology to build a better wearable exercise device.

Lactic acid is an important measure for athletes because it helps them with endurance training (running, swimming, rowing and biking) and allows them to achieve the best training possible. It also has applications beyond athletics because lactic threshold training can also help people lose weight more effectively and gives them greater insight into their body’s behavior and overall fitness. Fitbit, Garmin and Nike Fuelband are wearable tech 1.0, Overheat is building wearable tech 2.0.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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  1. Tia Will


    Thanks for the article. I love the updates on Davis Roots. I was especially interested in the information on bacteriophages.

    “This technology has the potential to make our dairy products safer and we consider it to be a game changer with many potential future applications beyond dairy.”

    Can you elaborate on what other applications you might see as relevant in the future ?

    1. Davis Roots


      Future applications mainly consist of food safety. We can use the technology to quickly detect any specific type of bacteria in food. For example supermarkets could test products in-house and make sure they’re safe for sale.

      If you’d like to learn more, we’re hosting a Demo Day on April 25th at Davis Roots from 4:30-6 where all three of our incoming companies will be giving short summaries of their products along with longer presentations from our second graduating class.


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