UC Berkeley Venture-Backed Startups Helping to Drive Innovation in…

The impact of UC Berkeley entrepreneurs extends far beyond the companies covered in the report, which is limited to startups specifically incubated at UC Berkeley. According to PitchBook data, more than 1,000 graduates have launched more than 880 new companies over the years

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 UC Berkeley-incubated startups over the past five years.

These high-profile businesses include San Francisco-based Flexport, which is developing the software to efficiently ship containers around the globe.

The report, titled “Startup and Venture Capital Trends at the University of California at Berkeley,” was released to mark Monday’s kickoff of Startup@BerkeleyLaw’s Venture Capital Deal Camp. This intensive four-day on campus program covers the nuts and bolts of how to execute venture capital deals.

“UC Berkeley has emerged as a hotbed of entrepreneurship where founders, students, and faculty put forward-thinking ideas into action,” said Deborah Kang, director of Startup@BerkeleyLaw. “This pursuit to bring about meaningful improvements to the global economy is one of our greatest strengths.”

Kang emphasized that the impact of UC Berkeley entrepreneurs extends far beyond the companies covered in the report, which is limited to startups specifically incubated at UC Berkeley. According to PitchBook data, more than 1,000 graduates have launched more than 880 new companies over the years.

These companies include several so-called “unicorns” venture-backed firms valued at $1 billion or more, like Cloudera, Nextdoor and Warby Parker, as well as towering legacy tech giants like Apple, Intel and Qualcomm.

“Even within the narrow definition for a UC Berkeley-incubated startup used in our report, it’s obvious that Berkeley’s culture of entrepreneurship is on fire,” Kang added.

Some key findings of the report:

  •     Healthcare companies head the list by industry over the past five-years, followed by businesses in the consumer, education, biotechnology and energy sectors.
  •     Among professional investors funding UC Berkeley startups, seed accelerator Y Combinator tops the list with 16 investments. This was followed by 500 Startups, First Found Capital and Founders Fund, which had four investments each.
  •     Many of UC Berkeley’s startups spin out of campus research projects and labs. Instead of turning to venture capital, they pursue government grants in the early stages of business formations. For example, 53 Small Business Innovation Research Grants, or SBIRS, have been awarded to campus-based entrepreneurs. The large number of federal awards underscores UC Berkeley’s historic role in R&D leading to next-generation products and services, said Sterling.
  •     Women were involved in nearly a fifth, or 19% of the campus-connected startups that received some amount of investment funding. However, companies with at least one female founder made up just 5% of the total venture funding. Kang said Startup@BerkeleyLaw as well as other accelerator and incubator programs on campus are dedicated to improving that percentage.

About Startup@BerkeleyLaw
Startup@BerkeleyLaw is an initiative of the Berkeley Center for Law and Business (BCLB) in collaboration with the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology. BCLB is UC Berkeley Law’s hub for rigorous, relevant, and empirically-based research, education, and programming on the interrelationships of the law and business. Areas of focus include venture capital and entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility, capital markets, and mergers and acquisitions.

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