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| Press Release

Berkeley SkyDeck Opens Applications for Spring Cohort as Accelerator Builds Global Exposure and Adds Partners

New UC Berkeley Chief Innovation Officer to help further SkyDeck's growth; Relationship with Amazon Alexa Fund and Alexa Fellowship promotes voice technology

BERKELEY, CA / ACCESSWIRE / December 5, 2019 / UC Berkeley SkyDeck, the startup accelerator of the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley), has now opened the application period for its upcoming Spring 2020 cohort program for startups. Applications are available now and will be accepted through January 8. The highly competitive SkyDeck accelerator has been thriving, named in 2019 by Forbes as one of the top five university accelerators. UC Berkeley is also a hotbed of entrepreneurship - identified this year by Pitchbook as the No. 1 public undergraduate program for producing startup founders (No. 2 overall).

A top global startup accelerator, SkyDeck is open to startups across all industries and currently has 23 accelerator track startups, 105 incubator track startups, plus 17 Global Innovation startups - its largest number of participants since it was founded in 2012. The startups represent a wide range of industries including AI, biotech/medtech, blockchain, enterprise, consumer, hardware, robotics, and more. See video here.


"We are so excited about the trajectory of our startups and the growth of our SkyDeck program," said Caroline Winnett, Executive Director. "As a top accelerator encouraging and developing entrepreneurship, Berkeley SkyDeck attracts the most advanced, sophisticated, cutting-edge technology startups. This year we are also excited to bring in our new relationship with Amazon through its Alexa Fund and Alexa Fellowship and encourage applications from companies developing innovative solutions in voice technology."

Another benefit for the coming cohort is the participation in SkyDeck of UC Berkeley's new Chief Innovation & Entrepreneurship Officer, Rich Lyons. The former Dean of the Haas School of Business, Lyons takes over this role in January 2020, and will work with SkyDeck to foster even more collaboration and participation across all parts of the university, developing even stronger connections between the accelerator and both the university's world-class talent and external stakeholders. Lyons was instrumental in launching SkyDeck in 2012 and previously served on its Board of Directors.

This new cohort of SkyDeck startups will participate in the recently launched Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiative with the Berkeley Startup Cluster which also includes the city of Berkeley, the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, and the Berkeley Lab. The initiative is known as Berkeley Ventures, Berkeley Values, and the groups will work with local entrepreneurs and companies to encourage them to create a more diverse workforce in the local tech and biotech industries.

"We are so proud of our heritage here with Berkeley as our backbone and Silicon Valley in our backyard," said Chon Tang, Founding Partner, Berkeley SkyDeck Fund. "With the support of advisors drawn from 500,000 UC Berkeley alums throughout every industry in Silicon Valley, we look forward to accelerating top high-tech startups from around the world into Silicon Valley, with targeted introductions to corporate customers, and top venture capital investors."

The Cohort (accelerator track) startups receive a $100,000 investment from the Berkeley SkyDeck Fund, free and discounted services, access to top advisors, and intensive mentorship as they prepare to pitch more than 650 investors on Demo Day. If you haven't been to a Skydeck Demo Day yet, it's a must-see. The HotDesk (incubator track) startups have access to workspace, events, and mentors to help them grow their innovative ideas and businesses.

Founded in 2012, Berkeley SkyDeck has had more than 340 companies participate in its accelerator program. One particularly noteworthy startup is Lime, a scooter and bike rental company recently valued at $1 billion. Since its founding, SkyDeck alumni companies have raised $1.1 billion in venture capital.

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Berkeley SkyDeck is a top global accelerator. Named by Forbes in 2019 as one of the top five university accelerators, SkyDeck is UC Berkeley's premier startup accelerator and a joint program of the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, the College of Engineering, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. SkyDeck combines the hands-on mentorship of startup accelerators with the vast resources of its world-class research university. Participating startups have access to SkyDeck's 240 advisors, 50 industry partners, and a network of more than 500,000 UC Berkeley alumni. SkyDeck also stands alone as the only accelerator which provides funding for its startups via a public-private partnership, bringing funds back to UC Berkeley with the Berkeley SkyDeck Fund, a dedicated investment fund. For more information, see

Media Contact:

Erica Zeidenberg
925-631-0553 office
925-518-8159 mobile

SOURCE: UC Berkeley SkyDeck

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