Future Cal Parent Pejman Nozad Throws Down $250K Challenge to UC Berkeley Startups

Seed-stage investment firm Pejman Mar Ventures has announced a new competition exclusively for UC Berkeley startups. 

By the end of October, the firm will invest $250,000 in a startup founded by UC Berkeley students, faculty or alumni. Pejman Mar will take a 10% stake in the company, and will donate 10% of its ownership (or 1% of the winning company) back to UC Berkeley.

Founded in 2013 by serial entrepreneur Mar Hershenson and legendary angel investor Pejman Nozad, the seed-stage venture firm has investments in seven companies founded by students, including one with a Cal grad at the helm – Tony Xu ‘07 of food delivery startup DoorDash. No strangers to the Berkeley campus, Hershenson is a mentor in Lean Launchpad course CS 294, and Nozad will officially join the Cal family this spring when his son begins his freshman year at UC Berkeley.

With Cal connections already in place, Nozad and Hershenson hope to be more intentional about tapping into Berkeley talent – and the competition is just the beginning. “Berkeley has such an exceptional talent pool only 45 minutes away from Silicon Valley” Nozad explained. This inaugural challenge offers a means for the firm to jumpstart and formalize its relationship with that exceptional pool of students, faculty, and recent alumni. “We want to do one, do it right, and build momentum around it.” After this trial run, possibilities abound.

Applicants have until Oct. 1 to apply. The firm will choose a winner by Oct. 30. For more information, or to enter the competition, visit the Pejman Mar Ventures website.