The Foundry@CITRIS | Prototype + Plan + Pitch
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The Foundry@CITRIS is a technology incubator based at UC Berkeley that helps entrepreneurs build companies at the intersection of hardware, software, and services. The Foundry provides access to design, manufacturing, and business tools within a community of mentors that transforms startup teams into founders.


Set up shop in The Foundry's collaborative office and studio spaces 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 team selected to join The 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 Foundry’s extensive network of entrepreneurs and industry experts. We provide structured workshops, hardware labs, and investor pitch sessions to challenge and guide your team.

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 teams tackle big problems in industries ranging from cleantech to medical devices to consumer products. The Foundry typically accepts early-stage companies 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 10 companies that have collectively raised over $7.2 million from sources including angel and venture capital investors, crowdfunding, and federal grants. Additionally, Foundry companies have added more than $18 million to California’s economy. Our companies have received press coverage from Forbes, TechCrunch, Businessweek, CNN, and many others.



We work best with companies at the intersection of hardware and software. This often involves sensors, data, and connected devices—our sweet spot. Foundry teams receive access to the CITRIS Invention Lab's advanced fabrication tools including 3D printers, laser cutters, and PCB mills.


The 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 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 small equity stake in each 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 Foundry program. Our success is tied to your success!


To foster the next generation of innovative startups emerging from the University of California, The Foundry@CITRIS 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 The 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 The 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.

Robotics for Consumer Electronics

Your company is developing robotics that provide in-home life care solutions. Examples include robotics for companionship, managing family health and life, household assistance or networking hubs or gateways for Internet of Things.

Thermal Management Materials and Architectures

Your company is developing either: a) novel materials with heat absorbing materials and/or thermoelectric materials that go beyond the existing commercialized products or b) novel device architecture for massive heat removal in microelectronics using the existing commercialized materials.


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 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.











Challenge Partners


Resource Partners


Network Partners


The Foundry


Patrick Scaglia


Paul Wright

Director Emeritus, CITRIS

Steve DeMello

Co-Founder, Emeritus

Peter Minor


Alic Chen


Julie Sammons

Director of Communications & Outreach, CITRIS

Federico Merino

Foundry Fellow

Dan Chapman


Cheryl Martinez

Design Specialist


The Foundry@CITRIS 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 best assist teams that have a hardware component to their project, but we also support software-focused solutions.

Qualifying teams must:

Include at least one member who is a student, faculty, staff, or alumnus (less than 3 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.

Teams that apply must have regular access to the Berkeley campus during the 6-month program. Our facilities, events, and resources won’t be much help if your team is unable to utilize them.


The Foundry is currently accepting applications for our Fall 2014 cohort.

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?
  • Describe more details about the company and your market approach.
  • Did this start as a research project? If yes, please cite research grants or project literature.
  • Does your team have all the necessary expertise to complete a market-ready prototype?
  • Who is your first customer?
  • Describe what it would take to build a prototype that’s ready for delivery to a first user or customer.

Founder(s) Section

  • Describe yourself in a few sentences.
  • 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.

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 hardware 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 Foundry Mailing LIst