Five finalists have been selected to attend the fifth annual 2020 UC Startup Pitch Showcase in Monterey on Jan. 29 and 30, according to a UC press release.
According to the press release, two of the five startups at the summit will be from UC Berkeley. The winner will be selected on Jan. 30, after the showcase.
“The 2020 UC Startup Pitch Showcase is a continuation of the ‘I am a UC entrepreneur’ competition designed to help young entrepreneurs develop new technologies, innovations and solutions to overcome the greatest challenges facing humankind,” the press release stated.
The contest, meant to help entrepreneurs create innovations that benefit the world, is run by multiple partners, according to a UC Newsroom article. The partners include the UC Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Extreme Tech Challenge, which bolsters education and science through a global startup competition.
All five startups will get to pitch to more than 900 business leaders and venture capitalists and compete for $10 million in funding, according to the press release.
According to the UC Newsroom article, the competition was open to alumni, faculty and students across the UC system. The final five startups were chosen by the Innovation and Entrepreneurship team and investors from Samsung Catalyst Fund.
Opportunities for entrepreneurs at UC Berkeley are not a new development, according to UC Office of the President spokesperson Sarah McBride in an email, startup culture is embedded in the “fabric” of UC communities and innovation and entrepreneurial activities have been especially successful over the last five years.
“The University of California has a long history of innovation and entrepreneurship, helping launch iconic industries and businesses in California semiconductors, biotechnology, digital media and aerospace, among other fields,” McBride said in the email.
According to McBride, the UC system features 43 incubators or accelerators, many competitions, and entrepreneurial training academies, among other resources to help students interested in “the startup stages of discovery, validation, commercialization and scaled growth.”
McBride added that UC campus ecosystems birth thousands of startups annually.
One resource for students is the House Fund, a pre-seed and seed-stage venture capital fund that is focused on investing in UC Berkeley student, faculty and alumni startups.
Cameron Baradar, a partner of the House Fund, said he has seen a lot of interest in the intersection of entrepreneurship and technology.
The House Fund, which has a space on Bowditch Street, supports the entrepreneurial ecosystem on campus by investing early in “Berkeley companies,” or companies with at least one founder from UC Berkeley.
“There is so much talent and so many things bubbling up from campus,” Baradar said.