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The Foundry@CITRIS is a technology incubator at UC Berkeley created in 2013 to help entrepreneurs build companies that make a significant impact on the world. A new economy is developing at the intersection of hardware, software and services. The Foundry provides access to design, manufacturing & business development tools, along with a community of entrepreneurs and experts to transform entrepreneurial teams into founders.

FACILITIES & RESOURCES

We provide access to collaborative office & studio spaces as well as a state-of-the-art rapid prototyping lab (CITRIS Invention Lab) right in the heart of the UC Berkeley campus.

SEED FUNDING

We provide $5,000-$10,000 in cash to each team selected to join The Foundry, along with an >$25,000 worth of infrastructure and services. Additional funding and resources are available for teams selected for our challenges.

CUSTOMIZED MENTORSHIP

Structured & on-demand access to coaching, advice and guidance from our extensive network of entrepreneurs and executives, as well as regular topical seminars and investor pitch sessions

Click Here to Learn More About Our Program

The Foundry@CITRIS helps top entrepreneurs from the University of California build companies that make a significant impact on the world. Our founders tackle big problems in every industry ranging from cleantech to medical devices and consumer products. We typically help early stage companies before they’ve raised money or have a finalized a go-to-market strategy (we help with both areas). By leveraging the incredible resources and expertise at UC Berkeley, we help launch companies who are ready to disrupt industries.

 

In a little more than a year, we have helped build 10 companies that have collectively raised >$6.8 million from a variety of sources including angel & venture capital investors, crowdfunding and federal grants. Additionally, these companies have added more than $18 million to California’s economy. Our companies have received press from Forbes, TechCrunch, CNN and many more.

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HARDWARE + SOFTWARE

We like companies at the intersection of hardware and software. Our teams receive access to a state-of-the-art rapid prototyping lab (CITRIS Invention Lab) packed full of advanced fabrication tools such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and PCB mills. But beyond just hardware, we have a common theme around sensors and data.

STRUCTURE

Our program is 6 months in length, with an option to extend an additional 6 months if milestones are met. While admission is rolling, we have application deadlines twice a year, once during each academic semester. We currently take 5-7 teams per cohort, totaling 10-14 teams per year.

University Incubator

We focus on companies formed out of the UC Berkeley ecosystem (our HQ) but also extend to the other CITRIS campuses: UC Davis, Santa Cruz & Merced.

FUNDING

A $5,000 prize is provided to each team selected to join The Foundry for the purpose of developing a market-ready prototype, along with an additional ~$25,000 worth of infrastructure and services. Additional funding and resources are available for teams selected for our challenges.

COMMUNITY

We believe in experiential education through community-based learning. We hold weekly “Dealer-days” and Hardware labs with The Foundry teams & leadership to learn from each other.

INVESTORS + MENTORS

We host topical mentor sessions as well as regular pitch meetings with angel investors & venture capitalists. Additionally, we hold monthly “board meetings” with mentors and investors to refine each company’s strategy and milestones.

In exchange for all these benefits, the University will take a small equity stake in the newly founded company. More than just a return on investment, we hope this will create an alignment of interests between the University and your business over the long term. This also allows your company to retain all IP created while utilizing the provided resources as part of the program. We want our success to be tied to your success!

PARTNER CHALLENGES

To foster the next generation of innovative startups emerging from the Berkeley ecosystem, The Foundry@CITRIS has partnered with various organizations to define thematic challenges for companies. Challenge winners are chosen after companies have been selected to join The Foundry. Winners will receive additional benefits and resources outlined below.

Click Here For Challenge Details
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Innovation Challenge

The Samsung Challenge provides additional resources and mentorship for companies working on connected mobile sensors & platforms, ultra-low power computing platforms for wearable connected devices or thermal management materials & architectures. Winners of the Samsung Innovation Challenge will have access to the full range of benefits offered by The Foundry as well as additional support and funding from Samsung.

 

Additional Benefits

  • Challenge winners are assigned a mentor from Samsung, who can provide access to Samsung R&D engineers to help accelerate product design and development
  • Winners receives an additional $5,000 for a total of $10,000 in seed funding from Samsung

Selection Process:

  • Startups must apply to The Foundry through the standard application process and select the “Samsung Innovation Challenge” option. Applicants are first evaluated for acceptance into The Foundry, and then separately chosen for the challenge.

Connected Mobile Sensors & Platforms

Companies that provide advanced services and enhanced experiences by augmenting mobile & wearable smart devices with novel sensors and platforms. Examples include non-invasive mobile-health devices, biometric technologies, environmental sensing or integrated sensory systems.

Ultra-low Power Computing Platforms for Wearable Connected Devices

Companies developing ultra-low power computing designs, platforms and technologies for wearable IoT (Internet of Things) with an emphasis on localized computing. Examples include ultra-low power designs of processor architecture, sub-memory systems, software stacks or optimized power management methods.

Thermal Management Materials & Architectures

In case of the novel materials, we expect the heat absorbing materials and/or thermoelectric materials to go beyond the existing commercialized products. In case of the novel device architecture, we expect the massive heat removal in microelectronics using the existing commercialized materials.

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Energy & Climate Challenge

The Berkeley Energy & Climate Institute (BECI) Challenge provides additional resources and mentorship for companies working to solve today’s pressing energy & climate problems. Winners of the BECI Innovation Challenge will have access to the full range of benefits offered by The Foundry as well as additional support and funding from BECI.

 

Additional Benefits

  • Challenge winners receive access to BECI’s extensive energy & climate expert network from both UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Labs
  • Winners receives an additional $5,000 for a total of $10,000 in seed funding from BECI

Selection Process:

  • Startups must apply to The Foundry through the standard application process and select the “BECI Energy & Climate Challenge” option. Applicants are first evaluated for acceptance into The Foundry, and then separately chosen for the challenge.
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Biotech Challenge

As health care becomes increasingly complex, there is an urgent need for innovation at the intersection of biosciences and integrated digital technologies. To address this need, The Foundry@CITRIS and QB3@953 have teamed up to offer the Biotech Challenge for companies working on health-related technologies that combine traditional life science with integrated digital technologies (software, hardware and/or services). Teams accepted to this challenge will be able to leverage the wide breadth of resources, mentors and communities from both incubator programs.

 

Additional Benefits

  • Winners are accepted into the QB3 Startup-in-the-box program and  have access to the QB3@953 shared space, mentors and entrepreneur community. Wetlab benches are available for rent based on the team’s needs.

Selection Process:

  • Startups must apply to The Foundry through the standard application process and select the “QB3 Biotech Challenge” option. Applicants are first evaluated for acceptance into The Foundry, and then separately chosen for the challenge.

FUN FACTS

2013

YEAR FOUNDED

10

COMPANIES FOUNDED

6

RAISED BY OUR COMPANIES

18

ADDED TO CALIFORNIA'S ECONOMY

OUR PARTNERS

Challenge Partners

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Resource Partners

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Network Partners

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The Foundry

OUR TEAM

Patrick Scaglia

Founding Director

Paul Wright

Director Emeritus, CITRIS

Steve DeMello

Co-Founder, Emeritus

Peter Minor

Co-Founder

Alic Chen

Co-Founder

Julie Sammons

Director of Communications & Outreach, CITRIS

Federico Merino

Foundry Fellow

Dan Chapman

Artist

Cheryl Martinez

Designer

APPLY NOW

The Foundry@CITRIS is looking for highly-motivated teams who are looking to make a significant impact on the world. We like ideas that are original, scalable and of course, have the potential to be profitable (unless you’re a non-profit, which is totally cool). Our facilities are set up to best assist teams with a hardware component to their project, but we won’t discriminate against a great software solution to a problem

Teams must:

Be composed of students, faculty members, staff or alumnus less than 3 years graduated

Have at least 1 member who is affiliated with one of the four CITRIS campuses: UC Berkeley, Davis, Merced & Santa Cruz

Teams who apply must have access to the Berkeley campus. Our facilities and resources won’t be much help if your team is unable to utilize them.

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Fill Application

Click on the “Apply Now!” button above to answer a few questions about your team and your idea. This is what we’re going to ask:
Company Section

  • What is your company going to make?
  • Describe more details about the company and your market approach?
  • Is this a research project? If yes, please cite research grants or project literature.
  • Does your team have all the necessary expertise?
  • Who is your first customer?
  • Can you describe what it would take to build a first prototype?

Founder Section

  • Describe yourself in a few sentences
  • Have you ever built something outside of work or school? What’s your favorite example?
  • Describe all your other major obligations during the session?
  • Please upload your resume

Submit Prototype

Submit a concept prototype of your project in the form of a weblink

We get it. A short written description isn’t nearly enough to capture the impact of your idea. Show us a concept prototype instead. We’re pretty open minded about what can be considered a prototype, so use whatever form best depicts your team’s vision. A few ideas include videos of any hardware you’ve created, technical drawings/animations, a website, or maybe a few sample data plots. Feel free to get creative.

Interview

Finalists will be asked to join us for an in-person interview

NEWS + EVENTS