CITRIS Foundry | Prototype + Plan + Pitch
The CITRIS Foundry is a University of California applied technology incubator based at UC Berkeley that supports early stage startups developing disruptive solutions for society’s pressing needs.
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CITRIS Foundry is the University of California accelerator for founders building transformative technology companies.


CITRIS Foundry is currently accepting applications for the Spring 2016 cohort.

Applications are due March 6th, 2016 at 11:59PM!


Set up shop in the CITRIS Foundry's collaborative office and studio spaces on the UC Berkeley campus while refining your designs in the CITRIS Invention Lab—a state-of-the-art rapid prototyping facility located right in the heart of the UC Berkeley campus.


Each startup selected to join the CITRIS Foundry receives $5,000 in cash, plus more than $25,000 worth of in-kind infrastructure and services. An additional $5,000 in funding plus in-kind resources are available to teams selected for our Challenges.


Gain access to on-demand coaching and connections from the CITRIS Foundry’s extensive network of entrepreneurs and industry experts. We provide structured workshops, technical office hours, and investor pitch sessions to challenge and guide your team.

Click Here to Learn More About Our Program

The CITRIS Foundry helps top entrepreneurs from the University of California build applied tech companies that make a significant impact on the world.

Our companies tackle big problems in industries ranging from cleantech to medical devices to consumer products and software. The Foundry typically accepts early-stage startups before they’ve raised money or chosen a go-to-market strategy—we help with both steps. By leveraging the incredible resources and expertise at UC Berkeley, we help launch companies that are ready to disrupt industries.   We’ve helped build 17 companies that have collectively raised over $22 million from sources including angel and venture capital investors, crowdfunding, and federal grants. Additionally, Foundry companies have added more than $40 million to California’s economy. Our companies have received press coverage from Forbes, TechCrunch, Businessweek, CNN, and many others.



We work best with companies developing technology solutions built on fundamental science and engineering that are ready to move into the world . We look for disruptive solutions that are solving society’s pressing needs in existing and emerging industries . Our facilities and resources are designed to help both software and hardware startups through access to the CITRIS Invention Lab's advanced fabrication tools which include 3D printers, laser cutters, and PCB mills.


The CITRIS Foundry program is 6 months long, with an option to extend an additional 6 months if milestones are met. While admission is on a rolling basis, application deadlines are offered twice per year. We currently accept 5-7 teams per cohort for a total of 10-14 teams each year.

University Incubator

We focus on companies formed out of the UC Berkeley ecosystem (CITRIS headquarters) and the other CITRIS campuses at UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz and UC Merced. At least one founding team member must be a student, faculty member, staff, or recent alumnus from one of these campuses. Applicants for the QB3 Biotech challenge can be from UCSF as well.


A minimum $5,000 cash prize is provided to each Foundry team to develop a market-ready prototype, combined with an additional $25,000 worth of in-kind infrastructure and startup services. Additional funding and specialized resources are available for teams selected for one of our Challenges.


We believe in experiential education and community-based learning. Teams work side-by-side, helping each other solve common hardware and design challenges. From shared studios to Hardware Labs to “Dealer Days” feedback sessions, The Foundry is designed with community in mind.


The CITRIS Foundry offers focused mentor sessions with experts who’ve “been there and done that” including interface design, customer identification, and manufacturing strategy. We host monthly 'board meetings’ and frequent pitch sessions with investors to refine each company’s strategy and milestones.

In exchange for all of these benefits, the University holds a 2% equity stake in each CITRIS Foundry company. More than just a return on investment, we hope this creates an alignment of interests between the University and your business over the long term. This structure also allows your company to retain all intellectual property created while utilizing the resources provided as part of the CITRIS Foundry program. Our success is tied to your success!


To foster the next generation of innovative startups emerging from the University of California, The CITRIS Foundry has partnered with leading organizations to host specific Challenges for participating companies. Challenge winners are chosen after companies have been accepted into The Foundry. Winners receive additional benefits and resources below.

Click Here For Challenge Details

Innovation Challenge

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

Additional Benefits

  • Challenge winners receive a dedicated mentor from Samsung and access to Samsung R&D engineers to help accelerate product design and development.
  • Winners receive an additional $5,000 in funding for a total of $10,000 in seed funds for participation in CITRIS Foundry.

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 accepted into the Challenge based on input from Samsung.

Connected Mobile Sensors and Platforms

Your company will provide advanced services and enhanced experiences by augmenting mobile and 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

Your company is 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.

Machine/Deep Learning for AI (Artificial Intelligence)

Your company is developing context awareness and/or predictive analytic AI solution based on object recognition, speech/voice recognition and situation/behavior analysis which can be applied to mobile device, robotics, autonomous car, drone, etc.

Fast Charging

Your company is developing fast charging solution for mobile device (smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.) that could improve charging speed by orders of magnitude. Areas of innovation can include SW algorithm, power supply architecture, charging IC or even battery materials/structure.


Energy & Climate Challenge

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

Additional Benefits

  • Challenge winners receive access to BECI‘s extensive network of energy and climate experts from both UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Labs.
  • Winners receive an additional $5,000 in funding for a total of $10,000 in seed funds for participation in The Foundry.

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 accepted into the challenge based on input from BECI.

Biotech Challenge

As healthcare increases in complexity, 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 and mentors from both incubator programs.

Additional Benefits

  • Winners are accepted into the QB3 Startup-in-a-Box program and have access to the QB3@953 shared space, mentors, and entrepreneurial community. Wetlab benches are available for rent based on your 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 accepted into the Challenge based on input from QB3.

Interested in working with our startups? Check out our Foundry Fellows Program!











Challenge Partners


Resource Partners


Network Partners


The Foundry


Patrick Scaglia


Peter Minor


Alic Chen


Julie Sammons

Director of Communications & Outreach, CITRIS

Danielle Lauber

Program Coordinator

Kyle Clark

Head of Development & Outreach

Shantanu Mittal

MBA Fellows Manager

Aakash Ranavat

MBA Fellows Manager

George Kopas

Industry Fellow

Cheryl Martinez

Design Specialist

Dan Chapman


Adriel Olmos

Multimedia Specialist
Emeritus & Alumni

Paul Wright

Director Emeritus, CITRIS

Jason Ogden

Foundry Fellow

Steve DeMello

Co-Founder, Emeritus

Amrit Acharya

Foundry Fellow

Christian Kaas

Head of Startup Growth & Development Programs

Quinn Shen

Engineer in Residence

Prashan Dharmasena

Engineer in Residence

Katherine Yip

Events Specialist

Andrew Lee

Marketing & Social Media

Gali Ross

Foundry Fellow

Federico Merino

Foundry Fellow


The CITRIS Foundry is looking for highly-motivated teams who are ready to make a significant impact on the world. We like ideas that are original, scalable, and financially viable. Our facilities are set up to assist both hardware and software companies.

Qualifying teams must:

Include at least one member who is a student, faculty, staff, or alumnus (less than 5 years since graduation)

Include at least one member who is affiliated with one of the four CITRIS campuses: UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Merced, or UC Santa Cruz. Applicants for the QB3 Biotech challenge can be affiliated with UCSF as well.

We are physically located at UC Berkeley, but our program also supports entrepreneurs at UC Davis, Santa Cruz, Merced and San Francisco.


The CITRIS Foundry is currently accepting applications for our Spring 2016 cohort.

Applications are due March 6th, 2016 at 11:59PM!

Begin Application

Step 1: Complete the Application

Click on the “Begin Application” button above to answer a few questions about your team and your idea. Here’s what we ask:

Company Section

  • What is your company going to make?
  • What is the problem you are trying to solve, and how did you come across this problem?
  • Did this start as a research project?
  • What skill sets do you need to add to the team to complete a market-ready prototype?
  • How far along are you? (as a company)
  • What is the stage of your prototype?

Founder(s) Section

  • How did you all meet? How long have you worked together?
  • Where will the company be based?  Will all team members reside in that location?
  • Have you ever built something outside of work or school? What’s your favorite example?
  • Describe your other major obligations over the next 12 months.
  • Please upload your resume or provide a link to your LinkedIn profile.

Step 2: Submit a 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 conveys your team’s vision. Ideas include: videos of any prototypes you’ve created, technical drawings or animations, a website, or maybe a few sample data plots. Feel free to get creative.

Step 3: Interview With Us

Finalists will be asked to join us for an in-person interview at Sutardja Dai Hall on the UC Berkeley campus.


Join The CITRIS Foundry Mailing LIst