At Berkeley, we feed California’s entrepreneurial spirit, generate pioneering discoveries and drive innovation. We are redefining how business gets done, educating tomorrow’s leaders and enabling innovators to reimagine the world.

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We empower engaged thinkers to focus on the good and create innovative and equitable solutions to society's greatest challenges.

#1 for venture-backed startups

Table showing Berkeley on top of Stanford, Harvard, Penn, and MIT in number of venture-backed startup companies.

UC Berkeley is the top university in number of venture-funded startups founded by undergraduate alumni. The 2023 Pitchbook rankings also found that Berkeley was the No. 1 public university for startup founders.

Pitchbook rankings

$47.5B Capital raised from companies founded by Berkeley students, faculty and alumni
1519 Total active inventions from Berkeley students, faculty and alumni

Successful startups

UC Berkeley is a global leader in fostering successful entrepreneurs. We are home to a number of successful startups in a variety of fields including biotechnology, cleantech and energy, electronics and hardware, information and technology and more.

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Cybersecurity

Professor Dawn Song created leading-edge cybersecurity technology that is now being commercialized by Menlo Security, a company founded by Dr. Song. Menlo Security raised $100 million of Series E venture funding in 2020, putting their value at $700 million.

 

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Medical

NovaXS is a smart medical device company founded by Alina Su. It provides in-home drug delivery, aimed at providing a painless, needle-free, easy-to-use, transformative drug delivery platform.

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Finance

MBA student Kristy Kim co-founded her own credit card company, TomoCredit, short for Tomorrow’s Credit, to provide credit cards to people who don’t have a credit score and cannot get approved for credit by bigger banks.

pile of rocks with two small robots on top, with a building in the background

Started at UC Berkeley, Squishy Robotics provides lifesaving and cost-saving information in real time through rapidly deployable mobile sensor robots. As a majority female-owned startup, they prioritize diversity and inclusion while creating technology for a range of applications on planet Earth.

people working at a lab bench, wearing masks, hair nets, surgical robes

4D Molecular Therapeutics

Co-Founded by David Kirn, M.D. (B.A., Physiology '89; Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering and Molecular & Cellular Biology) and David Schaffer (Hubbard Howe Jr. Distinguished Professor of Biochemical Engineering) in 2013, 4DMT discovery technology was originally developed at UC Berkeley. It is now a global leader in gene therapy product research & development using scientific innovation to unlock the full potential of gene therapy for patients with genetic diseases.

4D Molecular Therapeutics

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Apple

Steve Wozniak (B.S., EECS ’86) might be famous for designing Apple’s first computers, but when he started at Berkeley in 1971, he was best known for his larger-than-life escapades around campus. To launch the [microcomputer], he and his friend Steve Jobs co-founded Apple Computer in 1976. The two went on to introduce the Apple II in 1977, starting the personal computing revolution and creating one of the most influential companies in history.

Steve Wozniak: Inventor and Apple co-founder

Clothing on a rack

Gap

Real estate developer Don Fisher, (B.S., Business '50), and his wife, Doris, opened the first Gap store in 1969, ultimately becoming one of the largest specialty apparel retailers in the world. At first selling Levi’s jeans and records to young people ages 12 to 25, Gap morphed into selling its own label exclusively and becoming one of the most iconic clothing brands in the United States.

Gap

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Google Earth

In 1994, John Hanke (MBA, '96) joined the Berkeley community and began working towards his goal of creating programs in proximity to Silicon Valley. As one of the co-founders of the data firm Keyhole, Hanke worked to develop mapping technology and caught the attention of Google, who bought Keyhole in 2004. After the acquisition, Hanke helped integrate Keyhole technology into Google Earth and Google Maps.

John Hanke: Google Maps

up close picture of an Intel processing chip

Intel

A founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel, Gordon E. Moore (B.S., Chemistry ’50) was a central figure in the technological revolution that transformed computers from room-sized-punch-card-reading machines to the lightweight devices we have come to rely on. Much of what we refer to as “smart” has its origins in Moore’s curiosity about the natural world — a driving spirit of inquiry that ultimately led him to champion silicon as the base material for the now-ubiquitous microchip.

Gordon E. Moore ’50: Scientist, philanthropist, fly fisherman

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Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente has many strong connections to Berkeley. Paul Swenson (MBA, ‘81) has been Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer since 2012 while A. Eugene Washington (M.P.H. ‘75) is part of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan & Hospitals Boards of Directors. As a corporate partner of Berkeley Haas, Kaiser partnered with Prof. Candace Yano & colleagues in creating an optimization model to help admins develop more efficient operating room block schedules in HMO settings.

Kaiser Permanente

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PowerBar

In 1986, Brian Maxwell (B.A., Architecture ‘86) and Jennifer Maxwell (B.S., Nutrition & Food Science ‘88) founded PowerBar Inc. and began selling energy bars out of their kitchen. Many athletes fondly recall the pair handing out samples at local events from the trunk of their 1964 Ford Falcon. Over the next 13 years, with Brian as CEO, PowerBar grew to $150 million in sales and 300 employees.

Brian Maxwell Fellows

Women stand in haute couture dresses with lots of floral accents

Rodarte

Founders of the fashion label Rodarte, Kate and Laura Mulleavy quickly became two of the hottest names in popular culture after attracting the attention of Vogue editor Anna Wintour who featured their work in countless issues of the magazine. The Mulleavy sisters produced lines for Gap and Target; and made the foray into Hollywood, co-designing the costumes for Darren Aronofsky’s award-winning Black Swan.

Made at Berkeley: Kate and Laura Mulleavy

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Sun Microsystems

In 1982, Bill Joy (B.S., EECS '79) was brought into Sun Microsystems to take UNIX beyond academia and make it available to industry. Six months later, Joy was made a co-founder of the company. During his time at Sun, Joy was a key contributor to the SPARC microprocessor, which was the backbone of the company’s billion-dollar server business for decades. He also inspired the development of the Java programming language and Solaris operating system.

Bill Joy: Co-founder of Sun Microsystems

interior view of a tesla model 3, looking out the front dash window

Tesla

Before Tesla Motors shook the auto industry by producing some of the most efficient and best reviewed motor vehicles ever made, the company’s co-founder, Marc Tarpenning ’85, operated according to a simple set of rules: find a problem you care about and produce a product to solve it. Tarpenning has kept a relatively low profile compared to his co-founder Martin Eberhard and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Co-Founder Marc Tarpenning ’85 Shows Off Tesla’s “Baby Pictures”

Amrita Bhasin, founder of Sotira

As an undergraduate, Amita founded Sotira to assist digital business owners that traditional financial systems have failed to support. Sotira provides small business owners a more customized software tool to help them define their business goals, streamline their profits and organize their finances.

More on Amrita Bhasin

Kevin Chou, founder of multiple tech companies

Kevin Chou stands at a podium with a woman at his side

Kevin Chou is the founder of multiple companies in the crypto, gaming and esports industries. He is currently the founder of SuperLayer, a new crypto venture studio aimed at building easy-to-use consumer crypto products with the goal of bringing the next 100 million people into crypto. Kevin has been honored by Fortune receiving their 40 under 40 designation, by CNN as one of the Smartest People in Tech, and in Business Insider’s Silicon Valley Top 100. In 2019, Kevin was honored as UC Berkeley’s Alumnus of the year.

More on Kevin Chou

An ecosystem of support

Our students, faculty, researchers and other innovators have access to a deep, interconnected Innovation & Entrepreneurship ecosystem of resources for educating entrepreneurs, commercializing research and advancing startups.

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Bakar BioEnginuity Hub

The Bakar BioEnginuity Hub helps entrepreneurs transform ideas into world-changing impact. BBH provides world-class labs, incubator space, distinguished mentors and direct connections to expert communities and patient capital as well as graduate fellowships and collaborative undergraduate learning experiences to our entrepreneurial community.

Igniting innovation

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SkyDeck

SkyDeck is an accelerator that supports startups founded by students, alumni, and faculty who are seeking to bring their scientific and technical discoveries to market, and commercialize groundbreaking UC Berkeley research. The robust and vibrant ecosystem includes a deep network of advisors, industry partners, and accredited investors.

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LAUNCH Accelerator

LAUNCH is the University of California’s leading accelerator, designed to transform early-stage startups into fundable companies. With over $1.1B raised, 0% equity taken and 220+ companies accelerated, LAUNCH helps UC startups quickly discover and develop scalable business models.

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Big Ideas

Big Ideas is an annual contest aimed at providing funding, support and encouragement to interdisciplinary teams of students who have “big ideas.” Since its founding in 2006, Big Ideas has inspired innovative and high-impact student-led projects aimed at solving problems that matter to this generation.

Be the change

Berkeley Changemaker is a campus-wide program with over 25 courses that activate undergraduates’ passions and develop a sharper sense of who they want to be and how to make that happen.

Learn more about Berkeley Changemaker

Additional Berkeley entrepreneurship resources

Cupcake FPO

1991

Opening of the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship

Bear claw pie icing sweet sweet roll jelly sesame snaps jelly dessert. Donut soufflé macaroon jelly beans sweet roll biscuit powder. Tiramisu pie shortbread pudding gummies dragée candy powder.

Cupcake FPO

2005

Opening of Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology

Bear claw pie icing sweet sweet roll jelly sesame snaps jelly dessert. Donut soufflé macaroon jelly beans sweet roll biscuit powder. Tiramisu pie shortbread pudding gummies dragée candy powder.

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