Plugging into the UC Berkeley Startup Ecosystem


Many early-stage investors, accelerators, service providers, and corporations want to know how to plug into UC Berkeley’s ecosystem of startup companies. The university encourages this interest and values the resulting connections. Accordingly, the campus has staff, web content, programs, and events that facilitate connecting with Berkeley startups. 

Image of woman in a lab research stationGetting Started

Visit to get a lay of the startup landscape at Berkeley. The BEGIN website includes infographics, listings, and links to Berkeley accelerators, incubators, student groups, programs, resources, and events related to the startup scene on and around the campus. You can ask specific questions and request guidance through the BEGIN website concierge service.

Startup Pipeline

Some startups roll out of campus, while others blast out. Understanding these two common trajectories for university startups will help you direct your efforts for plugging into the entrepreneurship pipeline.  

At most universities, including Berkeley, the majority of startups are roll outs. Roll-out startups are typically founded by undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who are embarking on their first entrepreneurship journey. These founders leverage many of Berkeley’s startup resources including incubators, accelerators, mentor networks, and Berkeley-centric early-stage investors. Many roll-outs exit the campus with robust momentum, including funding and revenue.

Suggestions for plugging into Berkeley’s pipeline of roll-out startups include:

  1. signing up for e-newsletters, for example, from the Berkeley IP licensing office (IPIRA)
  2. attending events, such as the periodic demo days
  3. volunteering as a startup mentor, for example a SkyDeck Advisor
  4. establishing a rapport with Berkeley-focused VCs, such as Berkeley Catalyst Fund, The House Fund, and SkyDeck Fund

Blast-out startups are typically co-founded by faculty who are preeminent in their field, or previously co-founded a successful startup. Many of Berkeley’s most promising startups blast out of the campus. In most, but not all, cases, blast outs do not need the majority of the campus’s startup resources. Instead, at their onset they get VC funding, experienced leadership, and commercial space. The challenge with plugging into this pipeline is identifying blast outs (and perhaps helping to catalyze them) as they coalesce in campus labs. Otherwise, they blast out before getting on your radar.

In order to plug into Berkeley’s pipeline of blast-out startups, start with the steps for pursuing the roll-out pipeline (above). In addition, we recommend:


Join the IPIRA Mailing List




Accessibility | Nondiscrimination | Privacy