Berkeley SkyDeck, UC Berkeley’s business startup accelerator and incubator program, announced a partnership with Universal Music Group, or UMG.
Founded in 2012, SkyDeck provides startups with a variety of resources, ranging from funding to mentorship opportunities. The partnership will give music-focused startups access to UMG, one of the world’s largest music companies, and its vast support network in the music industry, according to SkyDeck director of partnerships Bree Cahill.
“UMG recommends companies to apply to SkyDeck, and if we have companies in the music space, we direct them to UMG’s innovation team,” Cahill said. “It’s a draw for local companies in the music space because they now have access to such a vast network of resources, mentors and more.”
UMG currently works with 10 different accelerator programs across the world, including SkyDeck, as a part of its Accelerator Engagement Network. Talks regarding the partnership began a year ago and the two organizations have been working together since, according to Cahill.
The partnership with UMG will present an ideal opportunity for music startups to grow and enter the industry, according to SkyDeck executive director Caroline Winnett.
“It’s been tough for a lot of startups in the music space and there are a lot of Cal students who just love music,” Winnett said. “Having a partnership with a company that is such a large presence in the music space encourages people with interesting ideas to come forward and act on them.”
SkyDeck has three programs focused on supporting startups: the Cohort Program, the Global Innovation Partner Program and the HotDesk Program. The Cohort and Global Innovation programs emphasize accelerating existing startups, offering sizeable investments and connecting companies to investors and advisers. HotDesk, an incubator program, is dedicated to supporting startups that are not ready to receive funding from investors.
While the two processes are different in their aims, according to Winnett, they are both important in the growth of startups.
“While accelerating established startups is important, it’s just as critical to allow companies that aren’t ready to go to market to have the time and resources to grow and develop,” Winnett said. “Some ideas are incubated until they are ready to be elevated to the next level, and we love to see the innovation that comes from these projects.”
One of the most important things to consider for startups is the ability to form partnerships, according to Cahill. She added that the “mutually beneficial” relationship between SkyDeck and UMG will be key in bringing new startups into the music industry.
“I would say that partnerships, in general, are critical, and with our infrastructure, we can connect young startups to large companies,” Cahill said. “These companies would have the resources and connections that can really elevate smaller projects to the next level.”