Berkeley SkyDeck held its annual Demo Day on Tuesday, an event where some of its fall program applicants present their technologies.
SkyDeck is UC Berkeley’s startup accelerator and incubator program. Previous companies started with the help of the SkyDeck program include popular electric scooter ride-share company Lime.
This year, Demo Day hosted 23 startups. According to a press release from SkyDeck, more than 700 accredited investors attended the event. The presentation opened with a performance by the Cal Band, which performed the campus spirit song “Fight for California.” Shortly thereafter, SkyDeck Executive Director Caroline Winnett introduced the day’s program.
“We are UC Berkeley’s startup acceleration program,” Winnett said at the event. “We aim to support UC Berkeley’s public education mission.”
Winnett noted that SkyDeck received 1,600 applications for this cohort — more than two times the number of applications submitted for the previous cohort.
Later in her speech, Winnett commented on the future vision of SkyDeck.
“We’re going to need to build not a bigger thing but a more collaborative thing,” Winnett said at the event. “We like to say we have the story, now we have to tell the story.”
Chon Tang, SkyDeck fund manager, said one of the unique aspects of SkyDeck is its ability to harness the large number of opportunities for investors, or the “deal flow,” in Berkeley.
“We are uniquely tapping into the Berkeley deal flow,” Tang said at the meeting. “We are tapping into … work done by faculty and students.”
Overall, the presenters consisted of 11 UC-sourced teams. Of the cohort, 50% earned graduate degrees and 40% hold Ph.D.s.
The presenters’ products spanned a wide area of technology — Hayden AI created monitoring software for city traffic issues, SynderBio focused on cancer cell research and Lastbit designed technology to facilitate the standardization of Bitcoin in everyday life, among other products.
Coreshell Technologies, one of the presenters, is a company created by a UC Berkeley alumnus to improve batteries. By using a nanolayer coating on the inside of a battery, the company claims it can prevent energy loss and safety concerns associated with aging batteries.
“We are creating the future of batteries today,” said Jonathan Tan, CEO and co-founder of Coreshell Technologies, at the meeting. “We can make a Tesla Model 3 (price) competitive with a Toyota Camry.”
Co-owner of SynderBio Sarah Vigmostad said her company could provide a quick and clear cell sample ideal for genomic analysis.
According to Vigmostad, this would eliminate the “bottleneck” effect that occurs as a result of the lack of physician access to precision medicine.
“Instead of searching for a needle in a haystack, we burn down the haystack,” Vigmostad said at the event. “In just minutes, we produce a clean cell sample that is ideal for genomic analysis. … (This) maintains gene expression and works on a wide area of cancers.”