SkyDeck: As a founder from the San Francisco Bay Area, you must know your fair share of startup accelerators. What made you choose SkyDeck?
Gopika: My relationship with SkyDeck started when I first started pitching with the UCSF entrepreneurship program. I heard about a few options, but SkyDeck particularly stood out to me because of its connection to the Berkeley campus, where we currently have collaborators and recognize the value of UC Berkeley’s resources. Mainly, I chose SkyDeck because of the availability of resources, the amazing talent that Berkeley offers, and the personal connection with the Fund and the advisors.
SkyDeck: You’ve talked about the bountiful network, advisors, and resources available at SkyDeck. Is there a specific part of the programming you found most beneficial?
Gopika: The key advisors the program matches you with are a really impactful way to establish and broaden your network. The advisor matching event is really important — you pitch to a lot of accomplished advisors and the advisors you get matched with play a key role in not just understanding where your product fits, but also expanding your network. Another event that helped a lot was the SkyDeck Bio Dinner, where we were introduced to advisors and alumni in relevant fields. SkyDeck has really taught my team so much about how to form engaging connections.
SkyDeck: As a UCSF founder, you know better than anyone how important it is to be rooted in the Silicon Valley. How have you taken advantage of Berkeley SkyDeck’s resources and network?
Gopika: For other startups that do not originate in Silicon Valley, I would say the most beneficial thing for them would be the direct access to investors, advisors, and researchers in the Bay Area. They are forthcoming to answer any questions you may have and very experienced in the steps needed to form a company in the early stages. We really hoped to be introduced to VCs in Silicon Valley, and we are now gearing to raise our seed round after Demo Day. Everything in the program is so streamlined — the classes are packaged so nicely and the events are so well planned. This program is definitely built to help founders jumpstart their business, and I am glad to be a part of it.