May 3, 2023


SkyDeck welcomes startups to Batch 16!

Caroline Winnett (Executive Director, Berkeley SkyDeck) speaks to new Batch 16 founders at orientation in Berkeley SkyDeck's penthouse. Photo: Marla Aufmuth

After receiving a record number of applications, Berkeley SkyDeck kicked-off Batch 16 on May 2nd, with over 100 startups joining our Cohort, Europe, IPP, and Pad-13 programs. Of the Cohort startups, Chon Tang (Founding Partner, Berkeley SkyDeck Fund) says "the quality of the founders we get is just consistently getting better." SkyDeck empowers visionaries to take flight, and we look forward to supporting our bold new founders. 

SkyDeck partners with UC Berkeley’s LSEC to fund faculty-led startups

SkyDeck has partnered with UC Berkeley Life Sciences Entrepreneurship Center's (LSEC) Venture Grant Program to launch high caliber, faculty-led startups within the new SkyDeck LSEC Bio Track. SkyDeck welcomed the first three startups, Editpep, MZR Neurotech, and AsparaGlue:

AsparaGlue is founded by Professor and Chair of Bioengineering Phillip Messersmith and his postdoc Subhajit Pal. AsparaGlue has developed a superglue-like medical adhesive that can be uniquely used for both external wound closure as well as internal tissue adhesion and sealing.
Editpep is founded by Innovative Genomics Institute Professor Ross Wilson, and Berkeley Haas MBA candidate Malavika (Malu) Kannuswamy. Editpep has developed a class of peptides capable of conveying CRISPR enzymes into clinically-relevant and previously untransfectable cell types.
MZR_Neurotech is founded by Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Professor Rikky Muller, her postdoc Ryan Kaveh, and PhD candidates Saavan Patel and Arya Reais-Parsi. MZR has developed an in-ear EEG sensor for sleep monitoring and more.

The startups will each receive a $100k investment from the Berkeley SkyDeck Fund and $100k non-dilutive grant funding from Berkeley LSEC. Learn more about the selected startups and the Venture Grant Program in the BioSpace article here.

SkyDeck Europe's 2nd Demo Day a success!

Caroline Winnett (2nd from left, Executive Director, Berkeley SkyDeck) and Enrico Noseda (far right, Chief Innovation Advisor, Cariplo Factory) celebrate SkyDeck Europe’s Demo Day finale with startup founders.

Berkeley SkyDeck Europe, Milano held its second Demo Day in Milan, Italy on April 27th. Over 270 investors attended in-person and virtually to watch 9 founders from 6 countries pitch their disruptive solutions in biotech, AI, supply chain, and more. 

SkyDeck doesn’t only accelerate startups, it builds ecosystems. That day, we also hosted our first Investor Summit, featuring leading VC funds, LPs like Fondazione Cariplo, and angel groups, to discuss venture trends and the market landscape. The takeaway? Geographic borders are less of an obstacle to investment, Europe has seen exciting growth in startup ecosystem investments, and everyone is looking for exciting investment opportunities.

Special thanks to the Cariplo Factory, Lendlease teams, and the SkyDeck Europe community for a wonderful event! 

Silicon Valley & AI: What will be unleashed?

Photo: ThisIsEngineering

The rapid advancement of generative AI has triggered companies across industries to rush integration. The Mercury News spoke to Chon Tang (Founding Partner, Berkeley SkyDeck Fund), who says "everybody should pay attention" to this "society-changing, species-changing event...I'm excited by this technology but the downsides are just so immense. We've unleashed forces that we don't understand." Although Tang believes the potential damage and societal change can be mitigated, he's not alone in his concerns. Read the article here

SkyDeck launches Intern Scholarship endowed by Cal alum couple

Simon Ru & Sharon Wu recently endowed SkyDeck Intern Scholarship.

SkyDeck is excited to announce that the Ru and Wu Innovation Fund, headed by Cal alums Simon Ru (SkyDeck advisor and CEO, Upnest) and Sharon Wu (angel Investor and startup advisor), will sponsor the SkyDeck Intern Scholarship. Four to five undergraduate students with financial need (who intern at SkyDeck) will receive up to $5,000 and access to special opportunities at SkyDeck. Interested UC Berkeley students can learn more here, and apply here by May 10th at 5pm PT. 

UC incubator welcomes new entrepreneurs and celebrates alumni success
CITRIS Foundry, the University of California's deep tech incubator, provides access to design, manufacturing, and business development tools to help entrepreneurs build startups that are ready to seek VC funding. Notable alumni startups include WattTime, which went on to receive $1.7M Google AI impact grant and co-founded Climate TRACE with former Vice President Al Gore. CITRIS recently accepted seven new teams to their spring 2023 cohort, tackling early wildfire detection, early Alzheimer's diagnosis, and more. Read more alumni success stories here and learn about the new cohort here
Attend Cal Innovation Week through May 5th!
The UC Berkeley Gateway to Innovation (BEGIN) features innovation and entrepreneurship resources, opportunities, and events to help entrepreneurs connect with the Berkeley ecosystem and take the next step in their journey. BEGIN is hosting Cal Innovation Week through May 5th, with networking, as well as student pitches, awards, and showcases in design, data science, and more. Register for the events here!
SkyDeck Startup News

Modelwise (Batch 13, Cohort) develops AI-based software to automate functional safety analysis, allowing companies to accelerate their development of new products while maintaining high safety standards. They've raised $2.2M in seed funding. Read more here

iDentical (Batch 9, Cohort) disrupted the dental market with the first 3D-printed, drill-free, personalized dental implants and has been featured in Forbes. Read the article here

Augmental (Batch 12, Cohort), an MIT Media Lab spinoff, builds intuitive products empowering all to unleash their creativity. They’ve launched their first product, MouthPad^, a tongue-controlled interface allowing hands-free connection to devices. Read more in TechCrunch and join the waiting list here.

ImmunoMind (Batch 10, Cohort) uses AI and multi-omics to predict early efficacy of cell therapies, helping drug developers focus on therapies that work. Its founders co-authored a study with Northwestern University, and others, assessing responses to cancer immunotherapy antibodies. Its AI technology aided in predicting a patient’s response to checkpoint immunotherapy, which could help guide patient treatments. Read the study here

Sway (Batch 12, Pad-13) makes compostable, seaweed-based packaging that replenishes social and ecological systems harmed by plastics. They've launched their first publicly available product: limited-edition greeting card packaging. Learn more here

Grupa (Batch 12, Pad-13) has launched its platform in the US, a talent marketplace matching startups with technical talent at Big Tech companies in exchange for cash and equity compensation, with the goal of democratizing access to innovation. Read more here

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