Startup Opportunities, Awards, Competitions, and Contests

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September 2018


Office of Economic Development Annual Business Survey

The City of Berkeley Office of Economic Development (OED) is surveying all Berkeley businesses to better understand the profile of Berkeley companies and inform the design of City policies and programs. If you represent a Berkeley business, we would greatly appreciate your response! Thank you for taking the time (< 5 minutes) to provide your feedback.

Fill out the survey before 9am on October 15.

Innovative New Berkeley Coworking Spaces


Two new innovative approaches to limited office space have emerged in Berkeley. hīven connects entrepreneurs and freelancers in need of office space with Berkeley homeowners with extra space. CoWorking with Wisdom is located in Dharma College, and offers members not just a place to work, but onsite Yoga, Meditation, and other tools for a balanced, mindful work life.

Learn more about hīven and CoWorking with Wisdom.

Apply by Oct. 3 to Practice Your Business Pitch

pitch perfect 2

No matter whether you are looking for investors, partners, vendors, or employees - you need to know how to pitch your business. Practice your pitch in front of a panel of experienced angel investors, startup executives and professional investors at Pitch Perfect on Oct. 17 at the Aquatic Park Center in West Berkeley. The event, co-hosted by the Batchery (a Berkeley-based global incubator for seed stage entrepreneurs), Berkeley Startup Cluster, and Wareham Development, will provide 8 entrepreneurs with the opportunity to get feedback on their pitch.

Apply here by Oct. 3 to practice your pitch at PitchPerfect on October 17th.


"Building a Gene Therapy Company with Scarce Resources" Talk

TODAY - Wed, September 19 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Banatao Auditorium // 310 Sutardja Dai Hall, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94709

Xixi Zhu of DNAlite Therapeutics, an early-stage preclinical biotechnology company committed to bringing the next-generation of drugs to organs protected by mucus barriers, will share her operation and business development expertise as part of the CITRIS Research Exchange

Learn more and RSVP here.

Pre-Seed Funding for Startups

Thurs, September 20 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Berkeley SkyDeck // 2150 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

This event, hosted by the Berkeley Postdoctoral Entrepreneurship Foundation, will feature a panel of guests from Bay Area incubators, who will talk about their grant programs, support for startups, and trainings to help aspiring entrepreneurs bring their ideas to market.

Learn more and RSVP here.

Provide Feedback on the Future of Berkeley Development

Thurs, September 20 6:00 PM
Berkeley Council Chambers // 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94703

Many Berkeley founders have expressed their concerns regarding housing affordability and the availability of commercial real estate in Berkeley. Share your perspective on the future of Berkeley development at the special Berkeley City Council meeting to discuss whether to designate Campanile Way (and its view to the water) as a City Landmark.

European Patent Office at UC Berkeley

Fri, September 21, 2018 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
UC Berkeley // 2150 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

The European Patent Office is hosting an event to provide startups with the latest information regarding the filing and processing of patent applications. The free event is open to the public. 

Learn more and RSVP here.

Startup Grind Berkeley Launch & Ribbon Cutting

Mon, September 24, 2018 6:00 PM - 8:15 PM
Berkeley SkyDeck // 2150 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

Startup Grind, an international organization that educates, inspires, and connects more than 1.5 million entrepreneurs in 450 cities, is launching its latest chapter in Berkeley. At the "City as a Startup" event at SkyDeck, join the founders and hear Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín and Councilman Ben Bartlett share their insights on the local economy, small businesses, public-private partnerships, and entrepreneurship. 

Learn more and RSVP here.

Discussion on "Putting AI to Work"

Tues, September 25, 2018 10:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Sutardja Dai Hall - Banatao Auditorium // 330 Sutardja Dai Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720

Learn how AI can be used to extend productive professional activity, expand the available labor pool, support lifelong learning, and enhance human labor, especially for the aging and those with disabilities. Hosted by CITRIS, the Banatao Institute and Microsoft, “Putting AI to Work” will bring together leading scholars, practitioners, industry representatives, and community organizations to discuss the extent of the effects of AI on the future of work in relation to aging and disability.

Learn more and RSVP here.

Big Ideas Information Session

Wed, September 26 6:00 PM
B100 Blum Hall // UC Berkeley Campus, Berkeley, CA 94709

The Big Ideas Contest applications are due November 14! Get all the information you need to get started on your Big Idea —  rules, requirements, eligibility and tips for participating in the 2018-19 Big Ideas Contest.

Learn more and RSVP here.

NSF SBIR Workshop Series

Thurs, September 27, 2018 3:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Online webinar

Bay Area I-Corps has created a workshop series for targeted, in-depth assistance in crafting and submitting a strong proposal for the NSF SBIR grant. The NSF SBIR program is distinctive in its focus on funding companies with novel, high-risk technologies up to $1.5M.

Learn more and RSVP here for the Sept. 27 webinar.

Gender Discussion Sessions

Sun, September 30 and October 28, 2018 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology // 2227 Piedmont Ave, Berkeley, CA 94720

Join the Sutardja Center and guest speakers for an in depth discussion of gender equality in the workplace. 

Email if you are interested in attending.

Social Impact Un-Pitch Day 2018

Thurs, October 4, 2018 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM
South Hall, Room 202 // UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94704

Join the Center for Technology, Society & Policy (CTSP) and the School of Information’s Information Management Student Association (IMSA)  to brainstorm ideas for projects that address the challenges of technology, society, and policy. Students, community organizations, local municipal partners, faculty, and campus initiatives are welcome to discuss discrete problems that student project teams can take on over the course of this academic year.

Learn more and RSVP here.

Silicon Valley Innovation Leadership Week

October 29 - November 2, 2018 
Held in Berkeley and Silicon Valley

Responsible for leading your company's innovation? Interested in understanding disruptive technologies from the leaders? Help your company advance with new strategies, technologies and a transformative framework now.

Apply by September 21st to reserve your spot.

2018 Berkeley Visionary Awards

Tues, October 23, 2018 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM
The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive  // 2155 Center St, Berkeley, CA 94720

The Berkeley Chamber created this event to celebrate innovative Berkeley entrepreneurs who strive to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The evening promises accomplished speakers, inspirational videos and a chance to meet the business leaders who are making Berkeley known for transformational enterprises.

Learn more and RSVP here.


Seeking Judges & Mentors for Student Innovation Contest

The Big Ideas Contest is an early-stage innovation contest that provides funding, resources, and inspiration to interdisciplinary teams of students with creative solutions to pressing social challenges. Big Ideas judges and mentors have a unique opportunity to “give back” by providing feedback and support to aspiring entrepreneurs -- while also getting a first-hand look at some of the most innovative social ventures being developed across UC Berkeley.

Click here to express your interest in serving as a Big Ideas Contest judge and/or mentor.

Apply Now for the Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge

Winners of the 5th edition of Hello Tomorrow's Global Challenge for deep-tech early-stage startups will meet with VCs and industry leaders, get a chance to pitch their startup projects in front of a select crowd, and win up to €100K equity-free funding.

Learn more and apply here before September 14th.

Applications for SkyDeck's Spring 2019 Cohort Due September 21st

Looking to accelerate your startup?  Apply to Berkeley SkyDeck, UC Berkeley’s global startup accelerator!  UC Berkeley’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, workspace in the Penthouse of the tallest building in downtown Berkeley, help with access to lab space, over $500K of in-kind resources, PLUS the $100,000 investment by the Berkeley SkyDeck Fund (backed by top Silicon Valley VCs) will prepare you for a Demo Day pitch in front of hundreds of Silicon Valley investors.

Apply by September 21st.

Applications Due Soon for the Chevron Tech Challenge

Chevron is working with the U.S. Department of Energy to find technologies that can significantly decrease produced water management costs while reducing or eliminating waste streams. If you have a technology that is demonstrated at a lab scale, submit it by September 30th for a chance at winning a cash prize, potential funding or equity investment, advice from Chevron experts, and a field trial opportunity at a Chevron site. 

Submit your application by September 30th.

Submit your Proposal to the Molecular Foundry by September 30th

The Molecular Foundry at Berkeley Lab is a national nanoscience research facility available to researchers from around the world through a competitive proposal process — free of charge for non-proprietary work. Foundry users may come from industry, academia, or government.

Learn more and apply here before September 30th.

Apply for the Westly Prize for Young Innovators of California

Are you a California resident under 28 with an innovation to help your community? Submit your early stage prototype for the chance to win $40,000 in cash prizes. Individual founders or founding teams (of up to four) may apply. 

Learn more and apply here by October 15th. 

Nominations are Open for the 2019 East Bay Innovation Awards! 

The East Bay Innovation Awards are a great way for East Bay startups to gain recognition. Nominate yourself or someone else for this prestigious award. 

Submit your nomination by October 19th.

Enter the NSF 2026 Idea Machine Competition!

What pressing issues do you think need to be explored in the coming decade? The National Science Foundation (NSF) is seeking research question submissions. Participants can earn cash prizes and receive public recognition, as well as help set the U.S. agenda for fundamental research in STEM and STEM education.

Learn more and submit your question by October 26th.


Berkeley SkyDeck Makes a Splash

The startup accelerator has been featured in a slew of news articles lately, including the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Francisco Business Times, Berkeleyside, Digital Journal, and Finsmes.

UC Berkeley Venture-Backed Startups Drive Innovation

How do UC Berkeley’s entrepreneurs stack up in the Bay Area’s ecosystem of venture-backed startups? Quite nicely, according to a report released by Startup@BerkeleyLaw. Venture capitalists have poured an impressive $790 million into 320 campus-incubated startups over the past five years.

Read more about the report here.

JITX Receives Recognition at Y Combinator Demo Day

The Berkeley-based company JITX has created machine learning software that can automatically create circuit boards, saving time and money for hardware companies. 

Learn more about JITX and the other companies at Y Combinator here.

Jiminy Dog Treats Featured on BuzzFeed

Jiminy's dog treats fit well in Berkeley's thriving Food 3.0 ecosystem - they're made with cricket flour. Now the company has been featured in "7 Life-Changing Things to Try in September".

Read the BuzzFeed article here.

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