Business

Skydeck hopes to boost Berkeley-based tech startups

The new Skydeck incubator is on the top floor of the tallest building in downtown Berkeley at 2150 Shattuck. Photos: Tracey Taylor

There’s a long-standing mismatch between the number of ventures spurred by innovations at the University of California Berkeley and Berkeley Lab and the number of those startups that locate in Berkeley. The Berkeley Skydeck startup accelerator, with 10,000 sq ft at the top of downtown’s tallest building, hopes to change that.

The Skydeck is a collaboration between the university’s College of Engineering, the Haas School of Business, the Vice Chancellor for Research office, Berkeley Lab, the City of Berkeley, the Downtown Berkeley Association, and the Chamber of Commerce. According to data the university has compiled, there are about 20 companies founded each year from campus and Lab innovations.

“This initiative is a perfect fit for a campus that is deeply engaged with and concerned about real-world challenges,” said Graham Fleming, vice chancellor for research. “We have long needed a space to help support the activities of the campus’ many outstanding entrepreneurs.”

Last summer, the Berkeley Skydeck, which is at 2150 Shattuck Avenue, launch received a $50,000 grant from the Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund to help support the facility’s infrastructure.


Startups who use Skydeck's penthouse floor space enjoy 360 degree views of Berkeley and the Bay

There are nine startup teams now in place at the Skydeck. They span software services, social networking and medical devices. Go Overseas, for example, aims to be the leader in study, work, and volunteer abroad program research and reviews. Mitch Gordon, CEO and co-founder, will be getting his MBA from Haas this year.

Other new companies include Kloudless, HealthyLabs, Building Robotics, GoMake.it, Hybrid Wisdom Labs, InSituGen, Intelligent Obstetrics, and Picatcha.

The student-led projects at Skydeck are monitored by university faculty who set and judge milestones. All the startup teams currently are sponsored by university entities.

The role of Berkeley Skydeck and other accelerators is among the topics we’ll be discussing at Startup Berkeley, the Berkeleyside Local Business Forum on Monday.

The Berkeleyside Local Business Forum 2012 is organized in partnership with Mechanics Bank, and is sponsored by GreenerPrinter and Autodesk. Updates on the Forum are posted regularly on the Startup Berkeley Forum Facebook page and on Twitter (#BerkForum).


When: Monday March 5th, 7:00- 9:00 pm. Doors open at 6:00 pm (time before and after for networking).
WhereFreight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison Street in downtown Berkeley. Refreshments, including beer and wine, available to purchase.
Tickets: $10 ($5 for students and seniors), available through Brown Paper Tickets. Or on the door.

Related:
Berkeley for startups: Perfect spot of brain drain in action? [02.09.12]
Skydeck innovation center receives $50K boost [07.15.11]