Startup Pathways for Faculty

UC Berkeley’s innovation & entrepreneurship (I&E) ecosystem provides faculty with critical support for launching startups. Since every startup situation and journey is unique, there’s no single linear pathway for success. Beyond all the resources the university offers to support your efforts, turning an idea into a thriving business depends upon your own resourcefulness, team skills, product fit, and market response.


   Don’t know where to begin? Ask the IPIRA Concierge for tailored guidance.

Campus I&E Ecosystem

Familiarize yourself with the campus programs designed to position UC Berkeley entrepreneurs for success. Explore the diverse suite of I&E programs that help researchers traverse their own path on BEGIN: Berkeley Gateway to Innovation, an online portal for the entire campus community. BEGIN is the place to orient yourself to the broad range of I&E resources serving undergrads, grad students, postdocs, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Reach out to those that seem to best fit your needs.

UC Berkeley is home to more than 80 I&E programs led by experienced professionals who help entrepreneurs overcome obstacles, build teams, raise funds, and grow their startups. Your journey may include several programs, with invaluable lessons and connections from each.

Support Services

Technology Transfer

If you plan to leverage patentable inventions or copyrightable software developed on campus, contact the UC Berkeley Office of Intellectual Property & Industry Research Alliances. Contact the IPIRA Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) for help with disclosures, patenting, licensing, and most other aspects of commercializing technology. Contact concierge-ipira@berkeley.edu

Conflict of Interest

Review principles, guidelines, and policies pertaining to institutional conflicts of interests in research, including how faculty can avoid conflict of commitment with outside activities.

Complimentary Legal Services

Berkeley founders can access core incorporation services and more through campus partnerships with leading law firms specializing in technology startups.

Translational Research & Development

Programs and facilities fostering entrepreneurship in the STEM+ fields.

  •  Bakar Fellows. This fellowship offers funding for proof-of-concept R&D to advance your technology beyond the academic research stage, plus access to mentors and advisors.
  •  Bakar Bioenginuity Hub. BBH brings together entrepreneurs across disciplines, offering a vibrant community, distinguished mentors, and lab space explicitly for translational science in the BBH world-class incubator space, Bakar Labs.
  •  Berkeley Research Infrastructure Commons. Industry and academia can share research facilities and services through the Berkeley RIC. The RIC-temp program enables early stage (pre-product sales) startup companies affiliated with UC Berkeley to temporarily conduct new product research and development (R&D) in faculty labs, under certain conditions and rigorous oversight.
  •  Life Sciences Entrepreneurship Center. If your startup plans to commercialize life sciences technology, contact LSEC. The office’s staff has deep expertise with the dynamics of startups in the life sciences sectors.

Signature I&E Springboards

These programs are particularly well suited as jumping-off points for academic researchers interested in moving from innovation to company launch. They guide founders through identifying target audiences, honing business plans, and fine-tuning pitches for funding. They also serve as gateways to the local entrepreneur community, connecting founders to networks of mentors and advisors.

  •  Berkeley SkyDeck. Get hands-on mentorship, and access to advisers, industry partners, and accredited investors who can help you launch and grow world-changing innovations. Berkeley SkyDeck is a top global accelerator.
  •  I-Corps. Learn how to identify your customer and achieve product-market fit by applying the scientific method to business. Start with a a free 3-evening, 1-week course through Intro to Lean Startup: NSF I-Corps Method, which welcomes early-stage teams interested in commercializing technology in all STEM fields. Courses are offered monthly and are virtual. Qualifying academic teams can move on to the National program, with $50k for customer discovery activities including conferences and travel for customer discovery interviews.
  •  Berkeley STeP. Ready to take your first step into the Berkeley I&E ecosystem? Learn the basics in a free, 10-week program, meeting weekly. Faculty-led teams are included in every cohort, alongside postdocs, grad students, and undergrads. Apply as a team, founder seeking teammates, or as an individual seeking a team.
  •  LAUNCH. LAUNCH is a UC-wide accelerator designed to transform early-stage startups into fundable companies. Teams with evidence of product-market fit (initial sales, pilots, LOIs) are paired with serial-entrepreneurs and mentors to support them through a rigorous Lean Startup-focused curriculum. The three-month-long accelerator helps UC startups quickly discover and develop scalable business models.

Funding

  •  SBIR and STTR Grants. These funding programs, run by the U.S. federal government, encourage businesses to engage in R&D with the potential for commercialization in partnership with research universities. The SBIR and STTR programs fund startups and small businesses across technology areas and markets.

The businesses launched and products commercialized by UC Berkeley faculty and graduate students are powerful engines for innovation, change, and societal good. 

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